As the new semester begins, two new food concessions open Tuesday in the Student Union on the Brownsville campus.
“It’s actually two different concepts,” said Roberto Cantu, the executive director of Campus Auxiliary Services. “The first one will be The Grille @ UTRGV and the other one will be Subconnection.”
The restaurants’ opening, scheduled last semester, was delayed for several reasons, Cantu said.
“Constructionwise, it took a little bit longer, the projects were complex,” he said. “We [also] had some delays in the restaurant equipment. The manufacturers didn’t have some of the pieces of equipment that we needed, so those were not sent out in time.”
During UTRGV’s initial semester, the Student Government Association asked students about campus concerns and received negative comments regarding food services on the Brownsville campus.
“We had our Campus Life Committee chair and other students gather information during our tablings and town halls,” said Denisse Molina, SGA vice president for the Brownsville campus. “Students expressed their experience with the current restaurant, The Grid, and talked about prices, food availability and options.”
The lack of warm food and food options were the main concerns in the negative comments received by the SGA, Molina
Some students said prices are too high at The Grid, the Brownsville campus’ current food concession, located across
from the library.
“I don’t agree with the prices,” education sophomore Edna Villarreal said. “I don’t like them. They are affordable [to some people], but not for me. I don’t work, that’s the problem.”
The prices, however, are not expected to change any time soon, said Marlen Benitez, Sodexo’s retail manager on the Brownsville campus.
“[The prices] are all sent to us from corporate,” Benitez said. “They add what it takes to build a certain food and then they add all the little things like paper goods, where I’m going to serve you [and] the labor cost.”
Villarreal said that if their food is priced reasonably, these restaurants will benefit the campus.
“I don’t want to go all the way to Subway or Wingstop because it’s far away,” she said.
The Grille will serve breakfast tacos, burgers and nutritious options. Subconnection will allow students to select the type of bread and toppings they want on their submarine sandwich.
These two new food concessions are part of Sodexo, UTRGV’s food services provider.
“We really want them to have convenience,” Cantu said. “We don’t want them to leave campus to have to go grab a bite.”