As students return to campus from a well-deserved summer break, they will notice that the campus ice cream parlor Western Scoops is no longer in the Bronco Mall. Instead, Western is proud to introduce a new alternative to ice cream by opening Santorini Island Grill, a Mediterranean-style restaurant that took over the old Western Scoops location in the Bernhard Center.
“Western Scoops did not offer a good food source for students,” said Judy Gipper, the director of Dining Services at Western Michigan University. “We decided to look for another food option for students.”
Over the summer, Santorini Island Grill has been building its counter-service type restaurant in the old location where Western Scoops and Taco Bell used to be. Santorini is an independently owned business with eight other locations that serves items like Greek gyros and other Mediterranean-style foods. Customers will also have the option to buy hamburger and French fry combos as well. Unlike Western Scoops, Santorini will not take Bronco Bucks or Dining Dollars. Santorini is very similar to Theo and Stacy’s restaurant found throughout Kalamazoo.
The decision to add Santorini to the Bernhard Center was made by the Bernhard Center Advisory Board (BCAB), a newly formed organization consisting mostly of WMU students that advises and oversees operations conducted in the Bernhard Center. The BCAB chose Santorini because of its large menu selection, great pricing on food and the proposed rent that it offered to set up in the Bronco Mall.
“We want to balance the Bronco Mall with restaurants,” said Paul Terzino, director of the Bernhard Center and organizer of the BCAB. “We want to see something different and unique there.”
Many students wonder why Taco Bell and Pizza Hut no longer exist in the Bronco Mall. First, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut actually requested to end their contract and rental agreement with the University. Second, there was a lot of negative feedback with the food quality and service from the students. Because these restaurants left during the summer of 2011, Dining Services quickly put together Western Scoops to take over the vacant space.
“We didn’t have time to search for a vendor at the time,” said Gipper. “We made Scoops to fill the space before the students arrived.
During the last spring semester, the BCAB searched for a new vendor that would lease the Scoops location. A request for proposal was sent out to interested businesses in Kalamazoo and the surrounding area. This proposal then narrowed down the choices to five interested businesses, and in the end the BCAB chose Santorini.
Right now, Santorini Island Grill is under construction in the Bronco Mall. Later in the fall semester, students will be able to do business and enjoy the new food. For those interested in the menu, you can check out the website at http://www.santoriniislandgrill.net/.