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Food Services Prepares New Dining Options in Lobdell

By Eric Richard
Contributing Editor

Changes to Lobdell Food Court, Pritchett Lounge, and Networks Restaurant top a list of many improvements that MIT Food Services is preparing for the upcoming semester, according to Food Services Director Robert A. McBurney.

"We have two goals this year: increasing revenue through new operations and improved customer relations," McBurney said. As a result, Lobdell is undergoing several changes including the addition of D'Angelos Sandwich Shop and three more cash registers.

"The reason [for the changes] is to serve more people faster, with what they want to eat," McBurney said. "Surveys showed that students wanted more deli selections, so we changed to provide that."

Lobdell will also offer Mediterranean Trade Winds, which will be serving Middle Eastern foods like falafels and hommous. This expansion is specifically targeted at vegetarians, McBurney said.

Late night, weekend hours

Pritchett is being completely redesigned to incorporate a 50s motif and will be open for late night service during the weekdays. Pritchett will extend its hour to include weekend afternoons and evenings, McBurney said.

"There hasn't been anything open on the weekends [on the east side of campus]," McBurney said. "The students we've talked to are excited about it."

"Knowing that we didn't meet all of our customer's needs last year, we are expanding Networks and Lobdell on the weekends," McBurney said. Networks will be open for service on weekends and half of the locations in Lobdell will be open.

The MacGregor House, Next House, and Pritchett convenience stores will all be open late nights and during the evenings.

"I'm most excited about the late night offerings" at Pritchett, Networks, and the convenience stores, McBurney said. "That's what the students have been asking us for, so we are trying to bring the services to the students."

New locations opening in fall

In order to cover more of the campus, two new food service locations will be open in the upcoming semester.

The Biology Cafe will open in Building 68 and will have a similar selection to the Building 4 Coffee Shop, McBurney said. The Biology Cafe will also feature a small salad bar, he said.

The Refresher Course, a deli-style cafe in the Sloan Building (E52), will be supplemented by Refresher II, which will serve ready-made sandwiches on the third floor of Building E51. Refresher II was designed to help out the Refresher Course which was too busy, according to McBurney.

Both the MacGregor convenience store and the Next House convenience store are set to expand their offerings, McBurney said. The MacGregor site has expanded its floor space by almost half and will begin offering fresh foods like bread, vegetables, and milk.

While many changes are taking place, McBurney emphasized that food services must be flexible and prepared to change based on students' desires. "I think we have a pretty good mix for now," McBurney said, "but eating habits change."

McBurney encouraged students to give feedback through comment cards or the meal@mit.edu e-mail address and said that many of the current changes were directly influenced by student requests.