Students react to dining alternatives in the wake of Marketplace and Cafe 77 renovations

Long lines and limited options were common student complaints with dining at Evans Hall


Jenny Hellwig

Students dine in Evans Hall, which offers options similar to D-hall as Elrod Commons undergoes renovations. Photo by Jenny Hellwig, ’24

Jenny Hellwig, News Editor

Students are offering mixed reviews on the new dining plan after after the Marketplace and Cafe 77 closed on Feb. 18.

The two popular campus dining venues will be closed for construction until the start of fall term 2023. Dining Services converted Evans Hall to serve as a replacement venue for The Marketplace, known as “D-hall.”

But for many students, the switch to Evans has been a difficult one.

Kierstyn Wise, ’24, said that she has started to eat more at other campus locations ever since The Marketplace closed, which has caused her eating habits to change as well.

“The quality has gone down a lot with Evans and I don’t really go there—I don’t think it’s a very good campus location,” Wise said. “I’ll go to Hillel and I’ll get two sandwiches instead. I feel like it’s not as healthy, what I’m eating.”

Students took to Fizz and Yik Yak to lambast Evans soon after the closures happened.

“I would rather sit and eat amongst the rubble and ashes of D-hall,” one commenter said on Fizz.

Initially, students complained about the lack of substitutes for the Marketplace’s Deli or the pizza, pasta and omelet bars. But Dining Services ended up implementing most of these features in the last few weeks.

K.C. Schaefer, head of dining services, said that he feels the rollout of the new dining plan has gone well overall, although the feedback they have received has been all across the spectrum.

“We heard students that were satisfied, and we heard from students that were missing certain options. And my goal within the department has been to be as responsive to those questions and concerns as we can be,” Schaefer said.

Although Evans Late Night was intended to serve as a replacement for Cafe 77, also known as “Coop,” the venue is only open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Students will be unable to order Cafe 77 breakfast and lunch items during the day.

Sarah Burd, ’24, said that although she appreciates the additions to Evans such as the deli bar, she misses some of her Coop favorites.

“I definitely miss my breakfast burritos and being able to get grilled chicken tenders,” Burd said. “But it’s pretty much the same, it’s just a farther walk.”

In order to accommodate the increased demand, Dining Services expanded the hours for other venues, including Tea House and E-Cafe. They also gave first years the ability to swipe at any venue on campus.

Kyle O’Shea, ’26, said that he is glad that first-years now have the ability to swipe at any location on campus, and he has been eating at Fieldside and Hillel more often.

“I feel like freshmen should be able to [swipe anywhere],” O’Shea said. “Especially as a person who took a gap year, it’s annoying when you come in and you’re older, and then it’s like ‘You’re a freshman, you can’t do this.’”

But more dining options for first-years means students have seen long lines and increased wait times at locations like Hillel.

Schaefer said that Dining Services was particularly surprised at the volume of the Hillel traffic, but they have taken steps to reduce the lines, such as allocating a greater number of staff across all dining locations.

“And one thing that we did do, when the lines were just really crazy long, we temporarily reduced the assortment of smoothies down to just two a day so that we could really try to pump them out at a greater volume,” he said.

Overall, Schaefer said he is grateful for students who have recognized that the changes have been hard on the dining staff as well.

“This is not an easy way for us to operate. But we’re all doing the best we can to make it as painless as possible,” he said.