Elon delays plans for changes in campus dining venues

The university will take more time to evaluate and plan for enhancements in dining facilities in the historic neighborhood and Downtown Elon.

The Acorn Coffee Shop and The Oak House in downtown Elon, N.C.
Previously announced plans to make changes in Elon restaurants and dining halls in the Historic Neighborhood are being put on hold for a year or more while the university and Aramark, the campus dining services vendor, develop a more comprehensive plan for the future.

“As we took a closer look at the plans for McEwen Dining Hall and on Williamson Avenue, it became apparent that we need more information and more time to chart the course for the future,” said Gerald Whittington, senior vice president for business, finance and technology.

Whittington said potential new restaurants at Park Place at Elon, an independent retail and residential building now under construction, will also influence plans for dining options in the area. Another factor will be the change in traffic patterns that will take place when the new School of Communications facilities open in late 2016.

“We need to do a thorough study of dining locations and traffic patterns in the Historic Neighborhood,” Whittington said. “Our long-term goal is to improve dining options in the Historic Neighborhood to match the quality and variety of the newer venues at Lakeside Dining Hall, Colonnades and Danieley Center.”

Whittington said the university has been strongly committed to the success of local businesses, as evidenced by its support of The Oak House, Irazu Coffee Shop in Moseley Center, and the university’s partnership with the privately operated retail/commercial/residential spaces in the Elon Town Center and Park Place at Elon.

“Student dining surveys show a preference for recognized national brands, so our hope is a mix of local and national businesses will be developed – the thriving retail environment that is often found in towns surrounding other colleges and universities,” Whittington said.  

While plans are being developed the Acorn Coffee Shop and the Varsity (in downstairs McEwen Dining Hall) will continue to operate in their current locations with the same menus. Meantime, Elon will open a new Einstein Bros. Bagels restaurant this fall in the Daniel Commons building at Danieley Center, which is currently being remodeled and expanded.