Park center goes private

By Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The signs say Le Bistro and the Garden Court Restaurant, but UA students will find some new tastes inside the Park Student Center this semester.

It was announced in early December that the Student Union satellite, located on North Park Avenue, would take in private restaurants through the Philadelphia-based Aramark Corporation.

The Sausage Deli, 2334 N. First Ave., opened a second location Monday in the center's former Le Bistro cafe.

According to Karen Steinhardt, Aramark food service director, the former Garden Court Restaurant will open Tuesday with Aramark's own conceptual restaurant. It will have several different fares within it, for example, Chinese food and a salad bar.

Steinhardt said the regional restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A should be arriving soon.

The Park Center also houses the Park Mart food store and Wildcat Gifts, Etc. The gift store will still operate under the ASUA Bookstore and the mini-mart will be operated under Aramark.

Steinhardt said she is "indubitably" certain the change will be a success. "Our corporation is very receptive and eager to work for students," she said.

Charlie Williams, the manager of the Sausage Deli, said the changes have gone smoothly. The menu is not as large as it is at the other location but he hopes to expand it soon.

Several students have already taken advantage of the new restaurant. Whitney Hable, a genetics graduate student, was munching on a "veggie delight" sandwich from the deli and said she is glad the restaurant opened in the center.

Jennifer Swiergiel, molecular and cellular biology graduate student, who chose the turkey sandwich, agreed that the move was a good idea. "I kind of miss the bagel place but other than that I never eat there," she said.

When the announcement was made last December to privatize Park Center there was some worry that employees would lose their jobs. Williams and Steinhardt both said they interviewed former Park Center employees as promised, and have hired a number of them.

According to Mike Low, interim director of the Student Union, all former employees were interviewed and only three or four were not hired, in addition to a couple of others who chose not to apply.

The employees who were not hired under the new management will be considered for other food service jobs in the Student Union Dining Services, and are currently on priority lay off status, Low said. They will be considered first for any employment opportunities they are qualified for.

Low said he is also pleased with the changes.

"We're real impressed with (Aramark's) level of management." He cited the challenge in transforming the Garden Court and said "the honeymoon is still on."

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