The eagle has landed as new dining hall holds “soft-open” for students

Article Originally Published by Cristóbal Soto on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Cristóbal Soto on North Texas Daily

The university’s newest dining hall, Eagle Landing, opened Wednesday evening for a pilot run to a limited amount of students living in campus housing, with some construction still unfinished.

The new hall will fully open February 1 and will serve students during lunch and dinner hours with restaurants opening on a rotation. Food menus and hours of operation will continue to expand through the spring semester while the construction of the new dining hall is completed.

Two cold preparation rooms behind the kitchens remain unfinished as material shipments from manufacturers were delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions along the supply chain, Division of Student Affairs Vice President Daniel Armitage said.

“It’s one of the most state-of-the-art types of food preparation,” Armitage said. “They will actually do food prep here and serve as a commissary to get proteins out to all of the different dining locations on campus. Because of materials not being able to be delivered, those two prep areas are not available to us.”

Armitage said he expects the preparation room to be completed within a month of the university receiving the materials.

UNT Dining services will utilize the new dining hall when fully operational to add to the legacy created by Clark Bakery. The university produces all baked goods served on campus through Clark Bakery, and would like to extend that possibility to other food items through Eagle Landing to ensure quality and freshness, Executive Director of Dining Services Peter Balabuch said.

The hall features seven restaurants on the bottom floor of the two-story building, each catering to different tastes and diet preferences. The list of restaurants with descriptions are as follows, provided by Dining Communications Director Alyssa Torrance:

  1. Wood Grill – Featuring a variety of burgers and plant-based cuisines cooked over a wood grill.
  2. Avenue A – Homestyle restaurant serving up American-style favorites, like fried chicken, mac and cheese and smoked barbecue, plus all-day breakfast.
  3. La Mesa – Latin fusion restaurant that will serve street tacos and bowls made on house-made tortillas.
  4. Leaf – Vegetarian restaurant featuring greens grown at Mean Green Acres, Dining Service’s organic, non-GMO hydroponic garden, as well as fresh veggies, salads, soups and plenty of 100 percent plant-based options.
  5. Bamboo Basil – Asian-inspired wok restaurant featuring stir-fried rice and noodle dishes.
  6. Clark Bakery – Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh pastries, warm desserts, ice cream and favorite treats.
  7. Cibo Fresco – Italian restaurant serving pizza, calzones, stromboli and daily pasta toss.

Further construction is underway on the north side of the dining hall where Which Wich will relocate from the Union. Balabuch said what will occupy the space once the relocation happens is undetermined.

For graduate student Kaitlyn Poe, who serves as head of the Dining Services’ Food Advisory Board, Wednesday’s opening was the culmination of a project years in the making.

“I work directly with the heads of Dining Services — Peter, Alyssa, all of the dining chefs from all the dining halls — and we talk about food opinions [and] what can we do better to maintain a better food community for the UNT students,” Poe said. “I’ve seen the food advisory talk about building a longstanding dining hall since like I was in my undergrad, and now it’s come to life and it’s super awesome.”

Freshman marketing major Luke Jordan said he typically dines at the Union but decided to visit when he received notice his dorm hall would be included in the soft opening.

“[The food] is pretty good,” Jordan said. “I definitely say Clark Bakery always hits. It’s nice that we have an actual physical location now. I’ll definitely be coming here a lot.”

Featured Image: Students and staff walk through the new Eagle Landing dining during a soft opening on Jan. 27, 2021. Image by John Anderson

Source: North Texas Daily