New food vendors open in the renovated union

By: Stephanie Samsel, Contributing Writer
Photo taken by Jake Shindel

Chick-fil-A and Dunkin’ are just two of the newest dining options the Towson University (TU) community can expect to choose from this semester. 

Located on the second floor of the University Union, the renovated Union Food Market not only houses high volumes of recognizable coffee and chicken but will offer an array of meals this semester, including pasta specials, made-to-order pizzas, customizable salads and deli sandwiches provided by five unique vendors. 

“Providing a variety of dining options helps to enhance the campus and the University Union, specifically, as an enjoyable destination for our students,” said Vernon Hurte, Vice President for Student Affairs. “It’s especially exciting to have both Dunkin’ and Chick-fil-A as these were greatly desired food options by our student body.” 

The two franchises were “repeatedly mentioned by students” in a survey assessing their restaurant preferences, according to Towson Dining’s Marketing Director Madeleine Sandridge.

The Union’s new Dunkin’ location opened on Jan. 18, with its full-service Chick-fil-A following suit just short of a week later on Jan. 24.

“The new [Chick-fil-A] is equipped to handle high volumes and the growing population of our TU community,” said Sandridge. The old Chick-fil-A “was previously serving over 5000 chicken nuggets and 700 chicken sandwiches a day.” 

For students like freshman Danielle McNerney, grabbing a bite to eat at the Union building this past semester meant being limited to Paws, the Union’s only restaurant located on the first floor. Today’s on-site Chick-fil-A was expected to open last fall but got postponed. 

“I don’t think I held on too much to the disappointment of [Chick-fil-A’s opening] being postponed, more so when it finally opened I was really excited,” said McNerney. 

McNerney also discussed possible student reactions to Chick-fil-A that could result from its recent opening for this spring semester. 

“I hope that students have patience and are just understanding that anything new is gonna have its issues,” said McNerney, likening her expectations of Chick-fil-A’s customer service to the on-campus Au Bon Pain’s varying quality of “interactions with staff.” 

Despite anticipating long lines at the Union Food Market, even students who have never dined at the Union are undeterred from being frequent customers of both Chick-fil-A and Dunkin’.

As a commuter who cannot eat gluten, junior Lauren Kemmer is used to bringing her own food and has never eaten at Paws, which is closed for renovation. She is not only looking forward to a full-service Chick-fil-A that accommodates her dietary needs but is also open to the possibility of changing her coffee preferences. 

“I’m usually more of a Starbucks person,” said Kemmer. “The Starbucks on-campus is not my favorite Starbucks though, so I’m excited to try out Dunkin’. And I’ve heard it’s cheaper. So if I can save money on coffee, that would be great.”

With all of these food options creating what Kemmer calls a “student hub” at the Union, both of the Honors College students hope that mobile ordering will be available to help mitigate the crowds that the two fast-food chains are expected to draw. 

According to Sandridge, none of the vendors at the Union are currently “set up for mobile ordering through Grubhub,” and neither Dunkin’ nor Chick-fil-a accepts rewards or mobile orders from its app. 

To view all of Towson Dining’s menus and hours of operation, including those of Chick-fil-A and Dunkin’, visit its official website.

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