Students flocked to the Bryan Center Monday to experience the official reopening of its renovated spaces.
This event marked the official end of the Bryan Center renovations. The construction began in June and finished within three months. Students can now visit the reopened Joe Van Gogh, a new Au Bon Pain plaza cart, a revamped The Loop and the new addition, Red Mango—a self-serve frozen yogurt store. Monday's festivities were filled with events publicizing the eateries—Joe Van Gogh handed out free coffee, Red Mango distributed free t-shirts and McDonalds featured a spin wheel with prizes.
Students were particularly excited about the arrival of Red Mango on campus. The Bryan Center shop is one of only three stores of its kind in North Carolina.
The frozen yogurt chain did not receive its space until Friday but worked to move in all of its equipment for its Monday opening. The store has eight yogurt flavors, self-serve toppings, smoothies and allows students to pay for their food by the ounce. The restaurant also offers unlimited samples.
General store manager Dennis Blocker said that he expects the year to be a successful one.
"It has been a great process to get into Duke," Blocker said. "The new store was absolutely worth the time and money four-fold."
The Loop has returned to the University and is now located on the second floor of the Bryan Center, a switch from its original position on the BC Plaza. Their menu has been changed to incorporate pasta and Southwestern dishes, such as Cajun chicken alfredo and shrimp with tomato cream sauce.
Trey Kirwin, a member of The Loop training team and a current employee of the restaurant's Jacksonville, Florida branch, said that he expects the Loop to attract more customers because of its increased seating and its new convenient take-out program, Grab-n-Go. The Grab-n-Go station will serve pre-prepared sandwiches and salads, in addition to pizza by the slice. Kirwin added that the restaurant has also put in a bar in its downstairs area.
Kirwin noted the importance of the restaurant's new aesthetic. The Bryan Center location has artwork inspired by renovations Kirwin made to The Loop's Jacksonville venue, which prompted an increase in business at the Florida restaurant. He added that the new industrial structure, mural and menu artwork are examples of the Loop's improved look.
"The artwork is attractive and will help educate people on menu items," Kirwin said.
Although some students have expressed complaints at the loss of Armadillo Grill, Subway, and Chik-fil-a, most students have said that they are happy with the University's added dining options.
Sophomore Susanna Booth noted her excitement at the reopened BC.
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"I wish there was more variety and I miss the chains, but I'm happy that the Bryan Center is now open because it is a central place," Booth said.
Booth mentioned Red Mango as a particular favorite and said the frozen yogurt business fits in well with campus life.
Sophomore Harmony Zhang was one of the first to try Red Mango's frozen yogurt and noted her excitement for the University's new dining options.
"I love Red Mango and the Events Pavilion seems modern," Zhang said. "I am pretty excited because I'm a big eater and not picky."
Overall, students are prepared for a new dining experience and happy to see the construction gone.
"The construction was hectic during the summer but now it's comfortable and ready for us to enjoy," Zhang said.