Harris closes, Maple Street changes, Armstrong and Bell Tower expands, and more

 

Miami made major changes to its dining offerings over the summer, renovating several facilities and, notably, closing Harris Hall.

The decision to close the aging Harris Hall was made after reviewing student traffic patterns, according to an online announcement from Dining Services.

Meanwhile, the university hopes a revamped  Maplestreet Station will meet the needs of students living on south campus. The new additions to Maplestreet Station include an expanded meal-swipes option (dubbed Maplestreet Commons) and an a la carte location called Maple Grill.

The Q, Delish and Starbucks will remain at Maplestreet Station, and the menus at Maplestreet Commons and Maple Grill will replace those formerly offered by Encounter, Americas, First Stop and Pacific Rim.

Maplestreet Commons, according to the Dining Services announcement, offers “pizza, a deli, paninis, custom stir fry, pasta, burgers and allergen-friendly options.” It will replace First Stop, Pacific Rim and Americas. Maple Grill’s menu includes burgers and chicken, plus the quesadillas and quinoa bowls from Americas.

“I think it was pretty unnecessary,” sophomore Spencer Ruebel said. “There’s a dining hall right down the street, so I felt like they were actually taking some of our different options away rather than improving the situation. Also I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the food or the fact that most of the food was gone by the time I got there for breakfast around 9 a.m. I’m not very happy about it.”

But Maplestreet is not the only dining hall getting renovated, and Miami is no stranger to dining changes. Bell Tower Place and Pacific Rim (formerly at Maple Street), fully a la carte locations, were converted to a buffet at the start of last year. When students complained that meal swipes were less valuable than declining balance, Dining Services introduced a declining balance-heavy meal plan. Yet, students and parents are still frustrated with the meal plan: The Miami parents Facebook group is filled with upset comments about dining options and availability.

Maplestreet isn’t the only on-campus location that saw change this summer. In the second phase of Armstrong Student Center’s renovations, Miami introduced three new dining options. The Toasted Bagel, occupying what was formerly Traditions, will serve breakfast and lunch bagels. In Armstrong’s new East Wing is Café Lux, a coffee shop inspired by Miami’s Luxembourg campus, and Red Zone, a sports bar-style restaurant serving arena food and featuring repurposed floors from Withrow Courts.

Bell Tower Commons, too, is expanding. A la carte options – formerly breakfast sandwiches, pizza, deli sandwiches, coffee, and smoothies – will now include to-go stir fry and a salad bar.

The menu at Bell Tower changed slightly, too.

“Bell Tower used to be the spot for custom stir fry, and now I’m pigeonholed into three blends,” sophomore Carson Myers said. “Why is student dining continuously restricted?”

Miami’s dining changes don’t stop at the physical locations. Starting this semester, Miami will no longer serve dishes containing nuts in buffet locations to accommodate students with nut allergies. Prepackaged items containing nuts will be available at a la carte dining halls.

And, for consistency’s sake, all buffets now have a single naming convention: the suffix “Commons” will be attached to the end (“Western Dining Buffet,” for instance, will become “Western Commons”).

Miami dining officials did not return requests for comment.

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