29. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Dining Head: Kristina Hopton-Jones, director of university dining services
Total Enrollment: 34,852
Students Living on Campus: 8,527
No. of Meal Plans Sold: 8,602
Annual Dining Program Revenues: $30.8 million
Cost Range of Residential Meal Plans: $482-$1,633/semester
No. of Residential Dining Halls/Commons: 3
No. of Retail Outlets: 28
Phone: (205) 348-6816
The biggest recent dining change at Alabama was the relocation this summer of the Fresh Food Co. residential dining facility to its own stand-alone services center, allowing the Ferguson Center food court to expand with three new national brands. Ferguson is now offering an all-new Wendy’s serving the chain’s full menu, a new double-line Panda Express, the first Auntie Anne’s on campus, a full-service Chick-Fil-A with 10 registers that is over five times the size of the previous unit, a 5,100 sq.ft. Starbucks with open-air seating and retractable garage doors and a Subway that will now feature two sides with added registers.
The new Fresh Food Co. venue has contemporary open spaces surrounded by ceiling-to-floor windows with extensive visible cooking areas, five full kitchens and indoor/outdoor seating for 550, more than doubling that of the previous location. It serves a rotating menu at all six action stations and features soft seating, indoor and outdoor fireplaces and retractable garage doors.
Presidential Terrace, UA’s first residential/recreation marketplace, boasts a “We Proudly Serve” Starbucks, a FUEL smoothie bar, a proprietary gourmet deli serving chef-made pastas, paninis and salads and a proprietary market that opens up to an open-air seated terrace.
Also new is a Raising Cane’s chicken concept unit at the Paty all-male engineering residence hall that is expected to become a highlight of late night dining on campus, while the Mary B’s Market/Pizza Hut Express in Burke Residence Hall boosts variety and convenience on a side of campus with limited retail options by including Pizza Hut’s line of Wing Street wings on the menu for dinner and late night dining.