With the addition of new eateries and food trucks, updates to Marketplace and the anticipated opening of West Union, students will soon get a taste of changes that have been in the works for years.
Most notably, Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee has selected Dame’s Express to replace Devil’s Bistro, which closed last year. Although running the Central Campus eatery comes with the pressure of adjusting to a new building and layout, Randy Wadsworth—the owner of Dame’s Chicken and Waffles—is excited about becoming the latest addition to campus.
“It was a no-brainer for us to accept the opportunity to work with Duke Dining Services,” Wadsworth said. “Duke students have been some of our biggest supporters at the Main Street restaurant since we opened.”
A copy of the menu that Wadsworth provided—which provides a broader selection than the downtown restaurant—featured a range of options including egg omelets, frittatas, burgers, “Nawlins” po’ boys, pizzas, regional foods and, of course, the signature fried chicken and waffles.
Students can also look forward to the completion of the new West Union, which is finally on the horizon after two years of construction and eight years of planning. The opening of the Devil’s Krafthouse pub in February 2016 will be the first opportunity for students to enter the West Union—just in time for March Madness, noted Director of Dining Services Robert Coffey.
Although the West Union and its seven food vendors will not be fully open until Fall 2016, Coffey said students will be able to sample food from the venues this year.
“One thing we’re going to do throughout the school year is, once a month, feature one of the vendors that will be in the West Union on the plaza,” Coffey said. “To get people excited, we thought there was no better way than to actually meet the owners and chefs.”
Coffey maintains that West Union will be worth the wait.
“I truly believe this will be the best dining facility in the nation,” he said.
The East Union—home to Marketplace and Trinity Café—has taken a more aggressive schedule with its renovations. Marketplace will be open immediately to serve the Class of 2019 but will continue to undergo limited construction during the Fall.
“It’s going to be a wonderful space from top to bottom for students when it’s completed,” Coffey said. “As each week goes on, [first-years] will see more things happening.”
As previously reported, the East Union will also house collaborative workspaces for FOCUS clusters. Some of these rooms will be open for use at the start of the Fall with more opening later in the semester.
This year, there will also be a new food management system online that will allow students to better access nutritional information and ingredients for food served on campus. The first venues to have this system will be Marketplace and the Divinity Café.
“It should be very customer-friendly,” Coffey said. “We think that’s a huge plus for the program and for our customers to have that transparency.”
Other changes include the addition of the Bull City Street Food and Belgian Waffology food trucks to replace Captain Ponchos and Mac-Ur-Roni, as well as new Merchants-on-Points vendors Tijuana Flats and Dunkin’ Donuts to replace Skewers and Chai’s Noodle Bar and Bistro.
Despite a post on the All Duke Facebook page that Cosmic Cantina would be open 24 hours and be available on food points, Coffey and DUSDAC co-chair Brian Taylor, a senior, confirmed that these rumors are false.
“Cosmic is most definitely not joining the MOP program,” Taylor said. “We have talked to them before, but they have no interest in delivering.”
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