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UCF adds dining location, renovates two

By Emon Reiser
On January 8, 2012

Some UCF dining locations and menus received a facelift just in time for the spring semester.

The Burger King in the Student Union began its conversion to a BK Whopper Bar during the Thanksgiving holiday, and the Chick-fil-A in the John T. Washington Center added new items to its menu.

The Burger King location is scheduled to open when its renovations are complete Jan. 9. The new design, which was set back by architectural complications last semester, features the Whopper, Double Whopper and Steakhouse XT sandwiches from the original menu.

Burger King's new open-kitchen design allows students to view their orders as they are prepared. Its new menu includes 22 toppings that were not previously available for order such as guacamole, breaded spicy onions and blackened Cajun sauce.

"I hope the new menu will be good for students," said freshman biomedical sciences major Stephanie Saez, a crew member at the Student Union Burger King. "A lot of people like to order chicken tenders and stuff that's already on the menu."

Yves Benjamin, a Student Union Burger King crew member since 2007, believes students will be attracted to the design of the Whopper Bar.

"The idea is to give the place a sleek, new look, and I think students will be intrigued by the design," Benjamin said.

Student Union Burger King employees will receive new uniforms to match the Whopper Bar theme. As renovations are underway, the location's employees have the option to relocate and work at other UCF Dining Services locations on campus.

With the addition of the recently built dining deck just outside of the John T. Washington Center, Chick-fil-A changed its look and its menu with food items that were not previously available for order. UCF Dining Services approved and added cinnamon clusters, chicken salad sandwiches, fruit cups, yogurt parfaits and chicken noodle soup to Chick-fil-A's menu.

These food items are available at Chick-fil-A locations off campus but were not available at the on-campus restaurant.

"I think it's great they're considering healthier options like fruit cups and parfaits," said Ashley Hathcock, a fitness coordinator at the Recreation and Wellness Center who regularly dines on campus.

Chick-fil-A also extended its hours to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and it will be open on Saturdays.

"We understand students have hectic schedules throughout the semester and want to be sure we are accommodating their dining needs," Aramark Marketing Programs Manager Shannon Frost said.

In addition to the renovations to locations like Burger King and Chick-fil-A, UCF Dining Services added a new location for students on campus.

Seattle's Best Coffee is scheduled to open for students in the third week of January. Frost said that the menu will offer coffee, espresso drinks, iced and blended beverages and "Grab n' Go" sandwiches. The coffee store is located in Computer Lab II, where the Technology Product Center, formerly the UCF Computer Store, has relocated.

In regards to students' health, Frost said that UCF Dining Services has been dedicated to creating a healthy dining experience for students since they began business at UCF in 2001. She said that all menu items must undergo an approval process before becoming available to students.

"With UCF now having the largest student population in the state of Florida, UCF Dining is continually striving to meet and exceed the needs of the UCF community by adding healthier, environmentally-friendly options for students to choose from," Frost said.

Hathcock believes some locations on campus are better than others when it comes to making healthy food options transparent for students.

"Overall, I find that our campus does a good job of offering nutrient-dense foods," Hathcock said. "If we want students to make good decisions regarding healthy eating, it is our duty as a campus to make those choices available."

All UCF Dining Services locations have nutrition guides available by request for students who are curious about their caloric intake.

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