In-person dining returns to Penn State for fall semester

July 26, 2021

Campus Dining at Penn State University Park will be open for in-person dining for students, faculty, and staff for the fall semester, with plans underway to open at full capacity.

All residential and retail dining locations will be open, and customers will notice some new looks and dining options for fall.

In residential dining, Market Pollock Kitchen has been updated and renovated to feature an Asian concept, complete with appetizers, bowls, and special cookies from the Bakery.

“We will also have a fresh smoothie and juice bar that will offer all fresh ingredients with no additives,” said Jim Meinecke, associate director of residential dining. “We think the smoothie and juice bar will be popular with students.”

Another option sure to be a student favorite is a taco-themed food truck in the East Food District. Featuring a variety of tacos, rice bowls, nachos and more, the truck will be open during the week as well as for home football Saturdays.

Other changes include convenient breakfast sandwiches at all EDGE coffee bars, and expanded offerings at PURE, such as grain bowls over lunch (Sunday-Thursday) via mobile ordering.

In residential dining, a new reusable container program, PSreUse, will be in effect. When ordering a meal to go, students can indicate that they’d like a reusable container. After enjoying their meal, students can simply return the container to any cashier station and receive a new container free of charge.

As well as new updates to dining services, some residential dining spaces have been transformed. West Food District now features a lighter appearance, with light gray colors, bright LED lights, refinished wooden booths, and new flooring in seating areas. South Food District has been repainted and Pollock Dining Commons also received new flooring in some seating areas.

“If you’re a student who hasn’t been here for a while, you’ll notice a big change with the refreshes we’ve done,” Meinecke said. “We are excited to welcome people back into those spaces.”

Students arriving in the fall will also have a wide variety of retail dining options. From four Panera locations and two Shake Smart locations to Starbucks in Paterno Library, there’s always a nearby opportunity to grab a quick snack or a meal. Café Laura, located in Mateer Building and operated by students from the School of Hospitality Management, is another lunch option.

HUB Dining offers a mix of national and one-of-a-kind restaurants. Located on the ground floor of the HUB-Robeson Center, the HUB’s 11 restaurants serve up everything from healthy salads and custom burritos to quick breakfasts to piled high sandwiches, poke bowls, and pizza. Starbucks will begin operating seven days a week starting fall semester, and Burger King, Jamba, McAlister’s Deli, and Sbarro continue to offer full menus on Penn State Eats.

The newest location at HUB Dining is Slim Chickens, a fast casual restaurant franchise offering cooked-to-order fresh food, including chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, and fries. “Slim Chickens will be a perfect complement to the national brands and Penn State proprietary favorites at the HUB,” said Vince Raco, interim director for retail dining at University Park. “The menu will offer quality, value, and fast service our guests expect.”

Both residential and retail dining on campus will remain flexible and adjust operations if necessary throughout the semester. For now, campus dining staff is looking forward to a fall semester that will look more normal. “The first day COVID restrictions were lifted for Summer Session II, we saw students push tables together,” Meinecke said. “They were having a good time and they were comfortable. It was great to see them smiling and to see parents the first couple of days, happy to be on campus and out and about. We’re excited to see that on an even bigger scale in August.”


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Last Updated July 27, 2021