Last school year, Western Dining Services experienced a huge transition with the switch from Sodexo to Aramark. While this year’s changes to dining locations are minor in comparison, there are still new options for students looking to snag some grub on campus.
India Grill on Vendor’s Row
Vendor’s Row, the strip of booths located outside the Viking Union, is home to tabling clubs, groups and food that students will not find anywhere else on campus. A new food stop of interest on Vendor’s Row is India Grill.
Santok Tumber, owner of India Grill, has owned and operated the restaurant located at 1215 Cornwall Avenue for 16 years. Although he has sold on campus for various events throughout the years, Tumber never set up a consistent shop on campus until last spring quarter.
India Grill offers students a diverse spread of traditional Indian dishes including curry chicken and vegetables, samosas (a fried pastry filled with potatoes or lamb), basmati rice and naan, a type of Indian flatbread. Tumber also offers students two types of Indian drinks: a spiced chai tea and a mango lassi, a yogurt-based sweet drink.
Tumber said that a common misconception about Indian food is its spiciness. “The food is not hot, but we have a homemade hot sauce available there. If some people like hot, it’s always there,” Tumber said.
India Grill will be open everyday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tumber said.
“We don’t fill up with big portions. We try to bring it little by little in from the kitchen so it stays hot and fresh,” Tumber said.
On campus, he sells his food at a discount to students. He said he offers the same discount to students when they go visit India Grill downtown.
Panda Express in the VU
Since Aramark replaced Sodexo as Western’s Dining Services, they have been conducting extensive market research to determine students’ dining needs.
Aramark Marketing Manager, Lucas Minor, said that one conclusion gained from the research was students’ preference for Asian food. Based off this finding, Dining Services decided to open up a Panda Express in the Viking Union to replace the previous burger restaurant.
“Panda Express was specifically chosen because it is a well-known brand that delivers a consistent, high-quality experience,” Minor said.
Aramark Residential District Manager, Stephen Wadsworth, said that they have heard a lot of excitement for the new location.
“Incoming students coming through Transitions and Summerstart were extremely excited to hear that Panda Express would be conveniently located on campus and will accept Dining Dollars and Viking Dollars,” Wadsworth said.
Subway in the Atrium
While Subway may not be a new dining location at Western, any student who experienced the frequent long lines during passing time at the Viking Union Subway last year will be happy to hear that Aramark is opening up another Subway location in the Atrium.
As with the new Panda Express, Aramark’s decision to open another Subway was the product of extensive research, surveying and focus groups.
“We found that there was astrong demand for Subway as many people aren’t able to make the trek across campus to the Viking Union when they are trying to get to their classes,” Minor said.
Wadsworth and Minor said that there is enough demand for two locations and that it fits with the goal of Aramark and Western Dining Services.
“Our goal is to create destinations out of our dining locations and to enhance the convenience and variety across campus,” Minor said. “We want to be proactive and responsive to the demands of the Western Community.”