MIT's hungry masses have a lot more choices this year.
Renovations to Lobdell Food Court, the Building 4 CafÃ© and the soon-to-reopen Pritchett Grill have made the dining alternatives more varied and plentiful than ever before.
Patrons at Lobdell Food Court may now choose Japanese sushi and stir-fry from Shinkansen Japan; Middle Eastern cuisine, including falafel, from Sepal of Watertown; and pasta casseroles, salads and soups from an Italian specialty shop, Mangia Mangia.
"We wanted to vary our offerings, give people more choices in dining," said Richard Berlin III, director of campus dining.
By January, a burger and Philadelphia cheese steak grill and an Indian offering will open at Lobdell. Also in January, a Thai and noodle bowl restaurant will take the vacant Alpine Bagels spot downstairs in the student center.
Off the Infinite Corridor, the Building 4 CafÃ© has been redesigned by architecture graduate students Nicholas Senske and Scott Francisco, who also collaborated on the Steam CafÃ© in Building 7.
"We are trying to improve student life and culture," said Senske. The Steam CafÃ© has been a very popular choice among students, faculty and staff, and the Building 4 CafÃ© is designed to build on that success. Though the food will be slightly different, the cafe will offer a stew entrÃ©e similar to the ones served in Steam.
For Senske, working on Building 4 offered an opportunity to tackle real-life problems he will encounter throughout his career. "We had to work within the existing space while preserving the integrity," he said.
Senske and Francisco's design opened up the ceiling and unblocked the window. The pair introduced hot pink countertops, black chalkboard walls, better lighting and a better general flow. Although they were not able to make all the changes they would have liked, Senske said he thought the changes significantly improve the space. "We really want to make a lasting change."
On East Campus, the Pritchett Grill will reopen in mid-October as Pritchett Dining. The new dining hall will feature a grill, hot entrees, made-to-order stir-fry and a salad bar.
Pritchett Dining will have two dining areas, one with couches and more of a lounge feel, and a more active space with televisions and a pool table.
"These are very much students' ideas," said Berlin.
Finally, there will be a cafe opening in the new brain and cognitive sciences complex, said Berlin.
"It is nice for people to be able to take a break and get together over a meal," said Berlin. "We want to provide that for them."