A new eatery on University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus provides a welcome expansion of choices for students, staff and locals alike.
Before The Nest debuted at the start of the spring semester, a food court in the student center served as the default dining option. The new Aramark-operated concept is a three-meal, all-you-can-eat facility with eight themed food stations. It offers something for every palate: burgers, pizza, deli sandwiches, vegan options, comfort food, locally sourced salad and more.
Initial planning for The Nest predated the onset of the coronavirus, but the pandemic provided a chance to take a step back and ensure the project reflected current challenges confronting dining halls. “We carefully evaluated the legacy decisions, interviewed many student and user groups and pressure checked that against COVID realities to make sure the design still made sense,” says David DiSalvo, resident district manager for Aramark/USF dining services.
Occupying the ground floor of Osprey Suites, a new residence hall, The Nest is designed to accommodate about 300 guests, but because of social distancing it seats about a quarter of that these days. The building sits on the edge of campus, which helps position it as an option for off-campus guests. DiSalvo says the location is especially optimal for staff from a nearby hospital. As a result, the hospital is considering the purchase of university meal plans for some staff members.
The eight cleverly named stations satisfy a large cross-section of appetites:
- @Home—comfort foods
- The Bur’ger—grill
- DestiNations—weekly global menus
- 3rd Street Deli—sandwiches, wraps and paninis
- Central Garden—salad
- Pete’Za—customized pizzas
- True Balance—allergen-free
Here’s a tour of The Nest.