After adding Nosh and Mad Hatter’s to Merchants on Points earlier this month, the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee considered making more changes to the MOP program at its meeting Monday night.
Eric Thomas, a representative from Vita, presented at the meeting as part of DUSDAC’s consideration to add the restaurant to the MOP program. Vita is a local Italian eatery owned by Giorgios Bakatsias, who also owns Parizade, Vin Rouge and various other restaurants in the Triangle.
DUSDAC members got a taste of caprese salad, veggie pizza and various salads, among other Italian delectables. Thomas emphasized the freshness and healthiness of the foods that Vita offers.
“Everything is cut to order,” Thomas said. “The great thing about Vita is that all of our pastas are made within the restaurant. When you come to Vita [our] pasta is light and refreshing.
He also noted Vita’s affordability.
“You can have two people come [to Vita] and spend $20, and they would have a lot of food between them,” Thomas said.
If Vita is added to the MOP program, the restaurant will not administer a minimum delivery order nor a delivery fee, Thomas added. Delivery times would be between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
DUSDAC members responded positively to the Vita food tasting.
“My mouth is happy right now. And my stomach too,” said junior Alex Klein, DUSDAC co-chair and The Chronicle’s online editor.
Still, the committee was hesitant to add another restaurant to the MOP program. In the last year, DUSDAC has added eight new restaurants and fast food locations to the program. The committee also did not want to financially weaken eateries on campus.
“We don’t want to do things that are going to compromise the on-campus vendors,” said Director of Dining Services Jim Wulforst. “The more money that goes off campus, the slower I am to approve the addition of new vendors. Many of our on-campus eateries right now are down significantly this year than last year.”
DUSDAC members ultimately decided to postpone the decision and obtain more information about Vita in the next few weeks before making a final decision whether to add the restaurant to the program.
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Members of DUSDAC also discussed the removal of some MOP vendors such as Junior’s Long Island Grille, Randy’s Pizza and Brooklyn Pizzeria. Recent surveys have shown Duke that students would be apathetic if they were removed from the list. In the last year, DUSDAC has removed Cosmic Cantina, and George’s Garage closed in July when the lease on the building expired.
The committee also ensured that each on-campus eatery is properly labeling its food items with allergen warnings so vegetarians, vegans and those with food allergies know which foods are safe to consume. Members met with managers of each campus eatery to discuss labeling each item on their menus.
Members also discussed having a Campus Council representative attend each weekly DUSDAC meeting. The idea received mixed responses from committee members. Those opposed to the idea said each regular attendee should go through the typical application and interview process. Still, the committee voted unanimously to approve of a Campus Council liaison to DUSDAC. The liaison will not have voting privileges on the committee.