Duke Dining announced the addition of a new Latin cuisine restaurant to the Brodhead Center last week in a post on the Fix My Campus Facebook page.

Robert Coffey, director of dining services, wrote in an email that the Latin cuisine restaurant—which will be the 14th dining venue in the Brodhead Center—will be open by the start of the next academic year. He explained that Duke Dining and the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee have been working with students to receive feedback on the new vendor, and added that students should “stay tuned for details on [the] location and menu” in the coming months.

“Duke Dining along with DUSDAC reached out to students including Mi Gente to provide feedback on menu items they would like to see in a Latin venue," Coffey wrote. "Duke Dining is working with a design group and culinary team to develop a world class venue that will create authentic Latin cuisine."

Mi Gente, Duke’s official Latinx student association, has advocated for the inclusion of a Latin restaurant in Brodhead Center since its opening. Sophomore Jen Ricano, a member of Mi Gente, expressed her dissatisfaction with the lack of Latin American cuisine on campus at a DUSDAC meeting last November. The only current Latin offerings are plaintains from Farmstead and Mexican burritos and bowls for lunch from the Chef's Kitchen. 

“It feels like our culture is being reduced down to anything that can be stuffed into a tortilla…Beyond the plantains, I haven’t really found anything on campus that I can eat and be like, ‘This tastes like home,’” Ricano said during the November meeting.

Senior Norma De Jesus, co-president of Mi Gente, wrote in an email that Mi Gente was happy to hear Duke Dining’s announcement and explained why it is important to have Latin cuisine readily available on campus.

“Cuisine is a strong tie to our cultures, and for many students, having a Latin restaurant on campus is helpful because that means we don’t have to drive or walk distances to purchase food that reminds us of home,” De Jesus wrote. 

She noted that there has always been a “strong desire for Latin food on campus,” citing the many Fix My Campus Facebook page posts from Mi Gente and non-Mi Gente students advocating for a Latin cuisine venue. Since Mi Gente posted the announcement on their Facebook page, it has received a “lot of traction and positive feedback,” she added.

“While I’m personally still in disbelief that a Latin venue was not initially thought of when considering the potential vendors for West Union, now the Brodhead Center, we are nevertheless glad that Duke Dining has been responsive to the student population,” De Jesus wrote. 

De Jesus added that Mi Gente hopes the new restaurant will feature a diverse menu that represents the "many nationalities and cultures of Latin America."

Read Duke Dining's full statement on Fix My Campus here: