University of Kentucky students and faculty will have more dining choices this fall.
The campus is getting a Steak ’n Shake in the new dorm at Limestone and Euclid Avenue; Freshii, a healthy tossed salad, soup and burrito place in the new Academic Science building on Rose Street; and Brioche Dorée, a Parisian bakery café coming to the renovated and expanded Gatton College of Business and Economics on Limestone.
The Steak ’n Shake is scheduled to open Aug. 10 in the ground floor of the residence hall Limestone Park 1, which is to be renamed Sarah Bennett Holmes Hall. Hours of operation haven’t been set, but the restaurant is likely to be open at least until 1 a.m. on some nights to accommodate students seeking late-night dining, according to Charity Bradley, spokeswoman for Aramark, who has the contract for UK dining operations.
The other two restaurants also are scheduled to open in August. Three more Wildcat Pantry convenience stores are coming to campus this fall also.
A December 2014 student survey found that 59 percent would visit a “diner” at Limestone Park one or more times a week; Steak ’n Shake was chosen because of its popularity with students and because the only one now in Lexington is at Hamburg across town, Bradley said.
The restaurant will be staffed with students as much as possible, she said. It expects to hire 30 to 50 people.
There are no current plans to use any local ingredients. “The Steak ’n Shake brand ingredients and product offerings are established at the national level to provide a consistent customer experience in every restaurant across the nation regardless of location. We are currently working with Steak ’n Shake to evaluate their ingredient lists,” Bradley said.
Aramark committed in 2014 to buying 20 percent of the food it serves students from Kentucky farmers and local food producers, but the food services provider was criticized by local food activists last year when records showed that the company met the $2.3 million goal by including $1 million in Coca-Cola and $45,000 in ice.
Aramark was awarded a 15-year contract, including about $245 million in buildings, renovations and commissions to UK, in 2014 by the UK Board of Trustees. The contract guaranteed that the meal plan would be cheaper for students, and Aramark agreed to provide new dining spaces throughout the campus. UK will own all the new and renovated spaces.
Last year, UK and Aramark opened The 90, a new dining building across from the W.T. Young Library, which also has space for several restaurants, now occupied by la Madeleine, Taco Bell, Aqua Sushi and Ovid’s, plus a Wildcat Pantry.
The university will get about $126 million over the life of the contract, including $94 million from food sales and $16.5 million from sales at athletic venues, which also are outsourced to Aramark.