The past year has brought Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus an array of new dining establishments.
The opening of the Damen Student Center in April 2013 created a new dining hall and food court. De Nobili Dining Hall opened its doors for fall 2013, and right across the street on the first floor of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Engrained Cafe did the same. These new locations joined Simpson Dining, Southside Market, Connections Cafe and Center Stage Cafe to give students a total of eight different dining options on the Lake Shore Campus.
Meanwhile, the dining options at Loyola’s Water Tower Campus seem to be shrinking. Terry Food Court, previously on the second floor of Baumhart Hall, was closed and replaced by a Wellness Center and bookstore, while Lu’s Old Fashioned Deli & Pub opened on the first floor. Lu’s and Nina’s Cafe, located in the basement of Corboy Law Center, became the only dining options for students downtown. While Terry Food Court offered a variety of stations for students to choose from, the menu at Lu’s consists solely of sandwiches and soups, with a small number of side options. Nina’s Cafe is limited to breakfast options, pizza, salad and baked goods.
Terry also offered an area where students could use their Flex Dollars to buy groceries and household items, an option students found extremely beneficial and one that has since vanished. Prices are another hindering factor for the new establishment, with the average cost of a sandwich being a little more than $8, whereas similar off-campus vendors charge almost half that for a sandwich. Potbelly Sandwich Shop, just a few blocks south of the Water Tower Campus, charges $4.70 for a six-inch sandwich.
According to Andrew Naylor, the associate director for Housing Operations, the number of students living in Baumhart has increased since last year, with the majority of rooms being occupied by undergraduate students. Yet with the addition of wine and beer to the menu and the swanky sports lounge atmosphere of the dining room, Lu’s seems to be trying to appeal more to Loyola’s graduate students rather than the undergraduate majority. Students living in Baumhart are not required to have a meal plan, but those who do have very limited options due to Lu’s and Nina’s small menus.
The limitation at Lu’s extends further, as only six of the 14 sandwiches on the menu qualify for the meal plan option, according to a sign in the cafe. Baumhart residents are not the only ones affected by the minimal options, as Loyola’s Water Tower Campus offers more than 350 undergraduate classes that bring in plenty of Lake Shore Campus residents daily.
With all this being said, The PHOENIX Editorial Board believes that Loyola needs to reevaluate the dining options on the Water Tower Campus. Two dining facilities on a campus that houses only a fraction of the student population may seem logical up front, but the hundreds of students who regularly commute downtown for classes, in addition to the students living in Baumhart, need to be considered. It is understandable that Lu’s Deli & Pub’s street-side location is more visible and accessible than Terry Food Court’s second floor location was, but the switch from a wide variety of food choices to a strictly sandwich-serving shop was not in the best interest of the student body.
The PHOENIX Editorial Board thinks that just as the new Wellness Center was added on the Water Tower Campus to give students access to physical and mental health services on both campuses, Loyola needs to ensure that all students have access to a similar variety of meal options on each campus. In addition to simply having more meal options, we would like Loyola to provide the opportunity to purchase grocery items with Flex Dollars on both campuses. Students who want to use their campus card to buy groceries or household necessities should not have to commute to the Lake Shore Campus just so they can go to Southside Market, the sole location that acts as a convenience store for students.
Loyola has made many improvements to the Lake Shore Campus that were not reciprocated on the Water Tower Campus. Lu’s Deli & Pub may be a better choice for graduate students, but the hundreds of undergraduates living in Baumhart and the hundreds of Lake Shore commuters should be able to enjoy the same variety of dining options no matter what campus they visit.