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New campus eateries maintain success

Club sandwiches, biscuits 'n' gravy, gingerbread lattes and Swiss chocolates have all become necessary items in students' diets this year with the opening of Rick's Diner and the Blue Devil Beanery, and the new eateries have shown they are here to stay.

Even though the early going was rough for these two locations--Rick's unexpectedly, yet temporarily, closed three days after opening and the Beanery experienced other early troubles--they have flourished since the beginning of the year.

Rick Lynch, Rick's Diner and Catering owner, said the two businesses are more successful than he had ever imagined.

"We serve on average about 600 [people] in the restaurant and about the same at the coffee shop," Lynch said. "We're real pleased with the amount of activity we've had, and the response from the students and Duke University as a whole."

Director of Dining Services Jim Wulforst said Rick's is more successful than he thought it would be and said he is approaching their upcoming contract talks optimistically. He also called Lynch a good business partner who listens to the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee.

"Rick has been responsive... [and] is taking suggestions to heart," Wulforst said. "Who would have ever thought that four to five thousand students [would be served] between 11 [p.m.] and 5 in the morning?"

An evident example of the success of the ventures was that DUSDAC advised Lynch that the Beanery should extend its hours until 2 a.m. on a trial basis.

"We [went] on a trial basis last week and this week to see if it's a reasonable thing to do," Lynch said. "After this Wednesday... we'll evaluate it again to see if it's probable."

However, Eric de La Broise, a junior foreign exchange student who works in the Beanery, said the Beanery should not lengthen its employees' workday by two more hours.

"It's worthless from 12 [a.m.] to 2 [a.m.]," La Broise said. "People stay here but they don't buy anything.... We won't make money."

Wulforst said contract negotiations will take place around spring break, which could potentially secure the businesses' places on campus for years to come. They will also discuss keeping Rick's open during the summer months, depending on whether students will be housed near the diner.

Lynch added that-unlike his customers in Rick's Diner on University Drive-students order breakfast items, regardless of the time of day.

"I was very surprised with what the students like.... We had to find the niche of goods that students like," Lynch said. "As the student life goes, they're up at different hours of the day, so breakfast may be at three in the afternoon when they're getting out of bed."

Junior Jeremy Snook agreed that waffles appeal to him at all hours of the day and said he enjoys Rick's because it provides more homestyle meals.

"I like breakfast food served all day," said Snook, adding "We definitely needed something in this part of campus."

Leslie Grignolo, a sophomore, said she attributes the success of Rick's and the Beanery to their respective locations.

"I end up getting coffee and gum [at the Beanery] all the time," said Grignolo, adding that she lives in Edens Quadrangle. "If I had to live in Edens without them, it'd be a lot worse.... I appreciate them, and I don't think they should go anywhere."

Sophomore Vanda Chou, another Edens resident, said she did not know what she would do without the two eateries in such close proximity to her dorm room. She added students living in Edens last year had it much worse. "Did they starve?" Chou asked.

Although most students said Rick's food is generally quite greasy, others said that diner food is characterized by grease in general.

"They have enough of a variety that you don't have to get greasy burgers," said Caitlin Hogan, a sophomore. "[But] burgers are usually greasy."

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