New Norris dining areas open behind schedule


Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

The ground floor of Norris. After renovations over the summer, the dining area of Norris opened on the first day of classes.

Wilson Chapman, Web Editor

Delays in inspections shifted the schedule for openings of the new food options in Norris, some of which opened behind schedule last week.

Norris executive director Jeremy Schenk said the plan for the launch of new dining areas, which came after Northwestern switched its dining provider to Compass Group, was to have new venues open in phases.

During the process of openings, some got shifted or moved. Schenk said most of the issues with openings can be attributed to scheduling difficulties with getting Evanston officials to conduct fire inspections and approve designs.

“When you open up a food concept, the city approves your designs, then they come in and they inspect…so part of these processes also results in when the city can come in and do the inspections,” Schenk said.

Fried chicken restaurant The Budlong Hot Chicken, which was supposed to open on the first day of classes, instead opened several days late on Monday.

The redesigned C-store, now known as a fresh market, was supposed to open Oct. 8 but instead opened during the first day of classes. Another restaurant, Asiana Foodville, and sandwich shop Wildcat Deli also opened on the first day of classes.

The two dining areas which have not yet opened are burger shop Patty Squared, which will open Oct. 8th, and MOD Pizza, which will be open Oct. 18th, Schenk said. Schenk attributed the late opening of these areas to the massive amount of renovation that was made to the downstairs area, including putting down an entire new floor for half of the area and putting in new furniture.

He also said plans for MOD Pizza, which is a national brand, took longer to negotiate, and designs for Patty Squared took longer to be approved.

Other new features will be implemented in the ground floor of Norris. One of them will be Rock Bot, which is a crowd sourced music system where students can choose what music will play where they are eating.

There will be changes to the ordering process as well. Other features will be developed as a way to speed up ordering for students who are in a hurry, such as mobile ordering that allows diners to schedule orders in advance, and kiosk ordering that will allow students to skip lines.

Georgene Sardis, a marketing director for Compass, said the launch date for these features is still up in the air, but will likely be at the end of October.

Sardis said the transition to working with Northwestern was efficient and easy, and that Compass and Norris developed a strong working relationship quickly.

Sardis also said she feels confident that the new features and areas are an improvement to Norris.

“We really can’t thank everyone enough for their support and partnership to make this transition as smooth as it has been, and as well received as it has been,” Sardis said.

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