Campus awaits GSC dining debut

Xavier is in the process of obtaining the final permits needed before opening the Blue Blob’s Diner and All for Subs in the basement of Gallagher.

Newswire photo by Jeff Richards | First-year Charles Bernas studies at a table in the basement of Gallagher Student Center. According to Xavier’s Director of Marketing Jennifer Paiotti, diners in the basement will open once the final permits are received.

You walk into Gallagher Student Center (GSC) stunned by the lack of jackhammers and shouting over the construction. Is the highly anticipated basement of the GSC finally open for business? The answer is, almost.

“The process of the Gallagher renovation has been innovative, yet challenging,” Xavier’s Director of Marketing Jennifer Paiotti shared. “Overall, it will be a wonderful new addition that extends the longevity of the Gallagher Student Center for generations to come.”

The length of the construction process and the subsequent delays have been causing buzz since the project began. Sophomore Barry Price remarked that “it’s really disheartening to see how long this reconstruction process has been. If we’re honest, I think that a lot of people have been pretty upset by the lack of food options all of last semester, and with the lack of quality in the ‘new’ Victory Perk locations…it’s just really unfortunate.” He added that he wanted answers.

Paiotti, who has been instrumental in the project from the beginning, is here to supply them, explaining that “the delay started with the fire evacuation system,” which had to be reworked to remove the Ryan’s Pub Wall.

She felt that without the removal of the wall, the space wouldn’t have the desired communal feel or longevity.

But when will students see the results of this work behind the scenes? Construction is over, and only a few details like graphics and permanent seating remain to be added.

According to Paiotti, “in terms of us opening, we are now in the process of the final permits,” which include the fire marshal approving the GSC fire evacuation system, KLH Engineering signing off on it, obtaining an Occupancy Permit and receiving approval from the Board of Health. Then, finally, campus will see the official launching of Blue Blob’s Diner and All For Subs.

“We are really hoping that all of these permits can be buttoned up next week. We are in the hands of Hamilton County and the engineers on when they can come out,” Paiotti said. “…The opening will be right after that.”

As for the food options, Paiotti advocated for vegetarian and vegan options. Other unique options include avocado toast, milk shakes and ingredients and options unavailable at the Hoff Dining Commons like in-house roasted, Thanksgiving-style turkey and scratch-made bread.

Junior Aaron King sampled the Chicken Sub and the Breakfast Nachos, remarking, “it’s good food at a good price. It’s not great, but it’s certainly not disappointing.”

As for the wait time, Paiotti said the goal is five to eight minutes. However, she acknowledged that between only having three deep fryers, 30 new associates and the two- to three-minute period each order of fries or chicken will take to flash fry, the initial wait time might be a little longer.

“At the beginning with 30 new associates, brand-new equipment and new elevated menu items, we expect delays in learning curves,” Paiotti said. “However, our goal is to serve delicious food and give excellent customer service.”

She added that “all of these new things have been completely based on the feedback from students, faculty and staff” and that she is interested in receiving more feedback in the coming months. Every dining option will now have text2chat, an anonymous immediate feedback number to report and get results on everything from a great sandwich in Gallagher to an empty ketchup container in the Hoff Dining Commons.

Other unveiling programs include a mobile ordering website, a Secret Shopper Program for critiquing all ConneX locations, Dine with Leadership where students can share their experience with ConneX and Dining Services leadership over a meal, a sustainability series called Let’s Talk Coffee and a partnership with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Center for International Education to do a cultural dining series in the caf.

By: Brittany Wells | Staff Writer