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Dining options fill campus living room

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

msc dining

James Thompson — THE BATTALION

Chairs and tables add seating to the ground level dining area on the first floor. The MSC will increase on-campus dining options, including barbecue and Asian cuisine.

When the MSC opens its doors on Saturday after three years of renovation, students will be able to satiate their stomachs and social cravings with a host of new choices.

“I routinely ate lunch in the MSC my freshman year with friends,” said psychology major Bruce McLemore. “Finding seating took either luck or strategy when everyone was packed in there.”

Building designers sought to alleviate lunchtime traffic by opening the seating area, allowing for multiple entrances and exits. To accompany the larger and more spacious dining area, the MSC boasts five new concepts aimed to please the palette of any discerning diner.

“Smokin’” provides barbeque entrées ranging from chopped beef and rotisserie chicken to pulled pork and sausage. Students can also purchase fried chicken, strips or nuggets on select days. Traditional barbeque and cobbler and pie for dessert complete the southern-style meal.

Pile On replaces student-favorite Rumors as the go-to sandwich and deli option for lunch and dinner. A wide variety of meats and toppings are offered on bread served toasted or cold. There are also salad options for the health conscious.

Rumors was a student-pleaser because it remained open after hours, benefiting from a location with doors to the outside of the building. This feature was lost in the renovations.

“Since Pile On is located inside the MSC proper with the rest of the concepts, it will not be able to keep the same working hours that Rumors did,” said David Riddle,  executive director for University Dining.

Replacing the late-night option will be Rev’s American Grill, just inside the building entrance nearest Joe Routt. Rev’s offers a “fun, casual dining atmosphere” and will serve customized burgers and sandwiches as well as salads.

“Rev’s is completely self sufficient with its own doors in and out and dedicated bathrooms,” Riddle said.

Inserting a touch of controversy to design plans, rumors of alcoholic options at Rev’s circled campus during the past year, but officials announced the menu will remain dry.

“The decision to not serve alcohol is due to the fact that the MSC is still a war memorial and some would consider it disrespectful,” Riddle said.

In lieu of traditional inebriations, Rev’s will feature Saint Arnold’s root beer, brewed in Houston and touting a strong Texas tradition. Rev’s also preserves the late hours of operation.

Students accustomed to dining on South Side are doubtlessly aware of the pizza and pasta facilities located in the Commons dining area. The MSC has a fused iteration of the two with Ciao, serving both pizza by the slice, pasta and baked casserole dishes.

In order to further direct the peak-hour flow of hungry students, three other dining options are offered on the lower level, below the main dining area. These include Cabo, a Mexican-style eatery with tacos and burritos, and Cool, a desert-dedicated concept offering frozen yogurt, gelato, fresh fruit and infused waters.

Another, less traditional dining option will debut in the lower levels of the MSC. Panda Express will open a quick-serve station in the same vein as Chic-fil-A elsewhere on campus — but not until August.

“I’ve waited a long time for this place to reopen, and I’m sure my fellow seniors agree with me,” said senior English major T.D. Durham. “The first thing I’m going to do is grab a root beer, some barbeque, and bask in old memories.”

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