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U. students review Atrium, newest dining option on College Avenue campus

After more than a week with the Atrium, the College Avenue campus' latest dining option, students weighed in on their experience with it. – Photo by Astha Lakhankar

With the closure of Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus, the replacement dining option, The Atrium, has generated generally positive feedback from students.

Similar to a traditional dining hall, the Atrium offers a variety of choices from different cuisines. But unlike a conventional dining hall, the Atrium is built to resemble a food court. With a meal swipe, students can order a main dish, snack and bottled or fountain beverage.

Angela Campos, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said she appreciates the convenience factor of the Atrium and that she visits the dining center at least once a day.

"I go to the Atrium often (due to) convenience," Campos said. "It's closer to where I'm at, and I have a busy schedule."

Campos said she would rank the Atrium as a competitor to Cafe West and higher than other on-campus dining options.

Due to the slew of negative comments she heard about Brower Commons, she said she was deterred from trying its food even when it was open.

"I have never been to (Brower Commons), but I heard (the Atrium) was a luxury compared to Brower," Campos said.

The Atrium's menu is formed from five different restaurants serving varying types of food. Pi Pizza serves pizza and pasta, Mezze serves Mediterranean food, Scarlet Ginger serves Asian cuisine, Three Chillies serves Tex-Mex food and King's Hawaiian serves burgers, chicken and sandwiches. Each restaurant contains multiple items on its menu, which do not vary daily.

Funke Oshodi, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said she wishes the Atrium adjusted the food options occasionally.

"I wish they changed it up sometimes, just because it's just the same stuff every day, so that can get tiring," Oshodi said. "Which differs from a dining hall. I feel like they have a variety of options, but (the Atrium) is the same menu every day."

Oshodi said she has to go to the other retail locations on the College Avenue campus, like Cafe West, to pick up breakfast because the Atrium does not offer many breakfast options.

Although the Atrium is a convenient food location, students said the area has some downsides, such as its long lines.

Pratham Desai, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said after leaving the Involvement Fair, it took him approximately 40 minutes to get food from the Atrium.

He said that the Atrium should add more kiosks to shorten the time it takes for students to order to solve the queueing issue they may face. Desai said another downside is the lack of seating space compared to a traditional dining hall.

"I usually go with friends," he said. "I usually try to find a table, but it's literally impossible."

Desai also mentioned how the cafeteria in the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus used to be a hangout spot for him to study and talk with his friends until it became too crowded due to the Atrium.

Still, Desai said he thinks the Atrium does well in terms of how much food students can get with a meal swipe.

"With one swipe, you get a lot," he said. "The quantity is good for what you pay for ... It's a good replacement for (Brower Commons)."

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