"Hell yeah! Finally!"
The exclamation, from the back of a crowd of students waiting patiently for the newest addition to Dining Services, seemed to echo the sentiments of most of the line. Subway, which opened Tuesday morning, brought a horde of students, all eager to try the popular sandwiches.
The inaugural sandwich was even handed out for free.
Although ARAMARK Corp.--which runs several other campus eateries--had been promising to open Subway since the beginning of the school year, Dining Operations General Manager Steve Lewis said the company had to wait for the city and county to approve permits, including ones from the board of health and the electrical company.
"The process had taken longer than expected, and then, at the review, they decided they needed more electrical drawings because of the age of the building," said ARAMARK District Manager David Randolph. "We had lighting and the ceiling fan drawings, but not drawings of the existing electrical systems. We didn't want to put up the wallpaper or signs
Randolph said ARAMARK was expecting to open the West Union Building kiosk Monday but did not receive the approval of the Durham CEO until Tuesday morning.
Most students who went to Subway's opening said they were excited about a new food option, despite the almost 35-minute wait.
"Maybe the line today is just the whole frenzy of Subway," freshman Eric Weinberg said. "It can't hurt, though, because they have healthier things than most other places on campus."
ARAMARK chose not to advertise and have a "soft" opening instead, Director of Operations Bruce Eckmeder said. This way, the company could look for areas in which to improve, such as sandwich transaction time.
"I don't think we're going to have too many problems," Eckmeder said. "We're going to have to create stanchions to get traffic flow to The Great Hall. But, like anything, it's going to take time."
The sandwich shop was closed by 9:30 p.m., however, one and half hours ahead of schedule.
The issue of space concerned many students, including sophomore Matt Greenfield, who said the area was too small for such a popular eatery.
While most students were willing to stick it out in the line, many opted to eat, instead, at The Great Hall and The Loop. Several pushed their way through the large crowd voicing moans of disgust.
One senior who was eating in The Great Hall, Jessica Doerr, said she was deterred by the length of the wait for Subway, but that she would go back when things died down.
"I think the sandwiches in The Great Hall are fine," Doerr said.
To combat the wait, Randolph said he hopes to have premade options for students who don't have time to wait in line. He also said Subway will reevaluate the amount of specialty bread, since, unlike customers at most other Subways, Duke students did not prefer white and wheat breads.
Freshman Steve Relyea eagerly stepped in line, and summed up the wait well.
"I've been waiting for two months," he said "I can wait for 15 more minutes."
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