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New dining hall still not fully open


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By Amanda Marino




After almost two months of service, the Restaurant at Woodlands in the Forest Quad is still not fully operational.

Chris Frank, the marketing manager of dining services for Residential Programs and Services, said business is going well, though everything is not perfect just yet.

Of the nine restaurants available at Woodlands, only eight of the restaurants are open.
The ninth, the Stone Grill, was closed after only half of a day because the ventilation system for the grill was not sufficient, Frank said. Employees are currently at work trying to get the Stone Grill up and running, but Frank said there is currently no set time frame.

“We want that place to be open,” Frank said. “The biggest thing is that the customers, the students, are happy.”

On Facebook and Twitter, students made positive comments about the Woodlands, saying they enjoy the food and the atmosphere.

Freshman Jeff Israel said he took note of the new standard for RPS set by the
Woodlands.

“I am really excited for when it opens 100 percent,” Israel said. “The food is really high quality.”

The food isn’t the only standard that RPS dining changed with the new dining hall. The atmosphere of the seating areas, especially the one in the Round, has received praise, Frank said.

He said he was surprised at how long people were willing to wait in line, even though the restaurant is still not operating at full capacity.

“It’s slower than we like,” Frank said.

Despite this, changes have been made continually to the menu, hours and systems organized within the Woodlands to improve this situation.

Even with the Stone Grill setback, both employees like Jo Ellen Gionet and patrons are happy with the Woodlands.

“It is really fun to work at a new building,” Gionet said, “We can handle it better now.”
Gionet is a cashier at the Woodlands, but said she also loves to eat there. As a
local Bloomington resident, she also said she loves being able to work with students because they add life to the town.

After all the congestion the Woodlands experienced when it first opened,
Gionet said the stress and lines were alleviated by extending the hours of operation and adding employees. Changes such as this have helped RPS employees to continue to improve efficiency and service at Woodlands.

Though the Woodlands have been open for a while, a grand opening ceremony is still in the works, Frank said. They plan to have the event when everything is fully open.

As students wait for this grand opening, which Frank said should take place next semester, they can still be on the lookout for new additions to the menu. New flatbreads at the Round, smoothies and juices at Blooming Berry, and steak at A Cut Above have all been offered to the public recently.

Frank said they do not publicize new menu items, but people can find them simply by looking around at what is being offered. People who frequent Woodlands tend to notice the additions first, he said.

“It’s been great seeing how [the Woodlands] has been received so well,” Frank said.

Follow reporter Amanda Marino on Twitter @amandanmarino.

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