August 20, 2013

Student Center offers new, varied dining options

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A variety of new dining options are in place at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Student Center as the fall semester begins and additional choices are coming soon.

The Student Center has acquired a number of popular restaurant franchises and will also be operating some of its own eateries.  Starbucks returns to its former location near the north entrance as the Student Center has acquired the franchise.   Freshly Tossed, a soup and salad bar, is open in the Marketplace, the center’s first-floor food court.  Also open in the Marketplace is Cantina Bravo, an in-house Mexican restaurant. 

Maroon Spoon is back as well.  Presently, Maroon Spoon has a limited menu but the food selection will expand throughout the semester. The Marketplace is serving a hot breakfast daily, beginning at 7 a.m., in addition to offering a variety of lunch choices, including sandwiches and drinks as well as several “grab-and-go” options. 

In addition, the Student Center has acquired franchises for Chick-fil-A and Sbarro, a pizza and pasta restaurant.  Sbarro will open in the Marketplace later this fall but the Student Center is operating its own Pizza and Pasta restaurant in that location in the meantime.  Chick-fil-A will also re-open in coming weeks.   

The Student Center is negotiating to bring an owner-operated Subway restaurant to the area just south of the Marketplace.    After re-negotiations and renovations are completed, Subway will open, joining McDonald’s as the only restaurants in the facility not operated by the Student Center.

“The Student Center is a destination for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to relax and attend meetings and events,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said. “I am pleased with the variety of dining options, including for vegetarians, that we are offering.” 

Tena Bennett, director of the Student Center, and her staff are continuing to explore various dining concepts and anticipate that they will announce plans for the remaining spots in the near future.   

All Student Center restaurants will accept Debit Dawg, cash and Student Center gift cards.  The center’s point of sale system will be upgraded Friday, Aug. 23, and after that, credit cards will be accepted at all locations as well.  Visit the Student Center website at for hours and updates regarding Student Center dining selections.

Catering and special events at the Student Center will have a new flavor as well this year.  The facility now has Student Center Preferred Caterers, meaning people hosting any event at, or affiliated with the center, may choose any caterer from the list to utilize.  There are 22 area vendors on the approved list of caterers and more are signing on all the time.  Find the complete list at  Details are also available by calling 618/536-6633 or sending an email to

Also of note, the Student Center is now operating Delyte’s, the Morris Library coffee shop and snack bar.  The shop features Seattle’s Best drinks and a variety of snacks.  A grand re-opening is set for 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 27, and will include free samples, hourly prizes and contests.