Valentina Palm/Staff Writer
Despite non-stop construction during the summer, the Biscayne Bay Campus food court will not open on time for the start of the semester.
Roary’s Bay Cafe inauguration was delayed due to unfinished construction and pending city permits. Although the university’s Business Services dining department expects the cafe to open September 9th, there isn’t a set opening day.
The renovation is overseen by Chartwells, the world’s largest foodservice company, contracted by FIU to provide campus dining for the next decade.
“We wanted it to be on time from the very start,” said Paige Crane, the Chartwells BBC marketing director. “Construction is construction and there’s a lot of permits that have to be involved, there’s a lot of things that have to get passed in order for us to continue and so the process got delayed.”
FIU will provide a hallway buffet and food trucks for BBC students during the first two weeks of the semester or until the food court opens.
The buffet will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner in front of the One Stop Office. Local food trucks such as Tropical Oasis Exp, Cuban Guys and BBQ Chef Holmes will also serve students for the time being.
BBC’s food court renovation that began at the end of the spring semester will include a tray style cafeteria, a mini market and extended hours of operation.
“All the old concepts we had are being eliminated. There will be no more Moe’s, Subway or 305 Burger ” said Lorvin Ramirez, Chartwells BBC Senior Director. “We will have a grill station, home cooking area, a pizza station, smoothies, salad bar and deli, and we also have a small convenience store.”
At the cafe, students will be able to buy an entree, three sides and a drink for a meal swipe or $9. Items can also be purchased individually.
Student complaints on lack of food options and menu changes on campus fueled the cafeteria style renovation, said Ramirez.
“When you have a brand retail location, you can’t change the menu – it is dictated by the brand. We couldn’t do anything with it, but follow their program,” said Ramirez. “So now that we have eliminated some of those franchises, we have the flexibility to change the menu as often as we like.”
Mahalia Balfour, the BBC student government vice-president thinks the renovation is overdue.
Belfour says BBC never had more than four dining options since she enrolled two years ago, and believes the lack of food options negatively affects student campus experience.
“It was a very big concern for most students. They couldn’t have access to food, especially if they don’t drive and couldn’t go out of campus,” said Balfour. “I think it’s going to be more encouraging for incoming freshmen or transfer students to come to BBC, and also for students who take classes at BBC because they don’t feel right if they don’t have access to things they would at MMC”
Also, a Chick-fil-a will open in the food court by November according to Paul Johnson, the Chartwells resident district manager.
“Hopefully once the Chick-fil-a opens, everyone will be there,” said Crane.