Subway comes to Northwestern, administrators laud national brand’s arrival


Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Students order their sandwiches at the new Subway location in Norris University Center. The store opened Thursday and is the 11th Subway location in Evanston.

Joseph Diebold, Campus Editor

Northwestern, it’s time for a $5 footlong.

Subway, installed in Norris University Center during the summer and early part of Fall Quarter, opened with a soft launch at 11 a.m. Thursday. A grand opening is planned for later in the quarter, administrators said.

Several students were lined up before the doors officially opened, and a steady stream of customers came through on the restaurant’s inaugural day. Medill sophomore Lucas Matney was the first customer to receive a sandwich.

The 11th iteration of the national sandwich shop in Evanston replaced Windy City Deli, nuSushi and Big Ten Cafe in the Norris food court. 

Norris executive director Kelly Schaefer said administrators heard feedback from students, who wanted a low-cost, “healthy” option in the student center.

“When we did all of our research and gathered our data, we compiled all that to find that students wanted a branded concept that was healthy and affordable,” Schaefer said. “We’ve got the great Frontera concept which is organic and local at a bit higher of a price point for those great ingredients, but then here we have another option for students to choose from.”

McCormick senior Jerome Jeevarajan’s spicy Italian footlong was one of the first made at the new location.

“I think the pricing’s probably more competitive since it’s an outside company,” Jeevarajan said. “I feel like it’s something that more people would be up for more often.”

McCormick graduate student Oliver Weisser, fresh BLT in hand, said having a national chain in Norris will likely improve nuCuisine’s bottom line, but he misses the friendly service offered by the workers at the former deli.

“It’s probably faster and more organized, but I kind of liked the little sandwich shop that was there before,” Weisser said. “The ladies would take their time and you could talk with them and chat with them and now it’s just like a factory. So it’s faster, more volume, they can probably make more money, but it’s less personal.”

Sodexo spokesman Jason Sophian said that though Evanston already has Subway as a dining option, the new location offers students unprecedented convenience.

“I think just having a really strong national brand here at Norris is always a positive thing,” Sophian said. “There’s definitely quite a few Subways throughout Evanston. However, this is the only one where you can actually use your WildCARD, Munch Money, so as far as the convenience factor it really helps out.”

Sophian did not have specific details on the number of employees at the new location, but he said all previous employees of the Norris food court are still on campus in some capacity.

The addition of Subway joins a slew of other changes made to student dining options over the summer. The Great Room was closed for renovations and evening hours were cut at several other Norris dining options. Additionally, Allison will now be open seven days a week, while 1835 Hinman will close on weekends. 

Sophian said nuCuisine will be soliciting name submissions for the revamped Varsity Grill throughout October. Administrators will select several top choices for a student vote, to be held in November. The author of the winning submission will receive a free burger each week during Winter Quarter.

Schaefer said that despite the additions of recognizable brands like Subway and Frontera Fresco over the last two years, Norris remains a work in progress while the University awaits a new student center.

“We’ve got tons of research and data for the new university center that we’re hoping to build, but we can use that data now and so I think that’s important that we serve the generation of students that’s here.”

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