Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Food operators selected for ground floor of Michigan Union

When students return to campus in the fall, they will see a newly renovated MUG space on the ground floor of the Michigan Union with new and updated food vendors.

University Unions is announcing that locally owned and operated Ahmo's Mediterranean Grill is coming to the Union, and that Wendy's and Subway will return with expanded offerings.

The new lineup includes Panda Express, also currently located on the lower-level MUG. The restaurants will offer a wider variety of food options, all presented in a quick-service format to meet the needs of the campus community.

Pizza Hut, Mrs. Fields, and Auntie Anne's will leave the MUG when their leases expire at the end of April. Freshens will vacate its space, but Subway will offer Freshens smoothies under the new arrangement. A decision has not yet been made whether the Union will renew its lease with Amer's Mediterranean Deli in the first floor.

The addition of Ahmo's will bring to the building Mediterranean flavors, a food type frequently requested by students. Ahmo's is a guest vendor at Pierpont Commons one day a week and has proved to be a favorite with the North Campus community.

"As we looked back on our partnership with Ahmo's at Pierpont Commons this past year, we have been impressed with their dedication to customer service and healthy offerings. We know this long-standing Ann Arbor operator has been a popular destination and we're excited to bring a new location to this part of campus," said Susan Pile, director of the Michigan Union.

Selections will include gyros and salads that guests can customize by choosing the type of meat, falafel or roasted vegetables, toppings and sauces. Plates will come with lentil rice, tomato and cucumber salad, and house-baked pita. Additional featured items will include hummus, soup, baklava, fresh-squeezed juice and smoothies.

The return of Subway means the continuation of a successful partnership with University Unions. In addition to its popular lineup of fresh, made-to-order sandwiches, the expanded Subway will add a breakfast menu that will include several egg sandwiches. It also will set up a second line for faster service, as well as offer Freshens' smoothies for more variety.

"Subway provides quick service and allows students to customize their own healthy meals at a good price," said Adam Kleven, chair of the Michigan Union Board of Representatives who participated on the selection committee.

Rounding out the MUG restaurants will be an expanded Wendy's.

"After receiving feedback from students, it was clear American-style burgers and chicken needed to remain an option in the MUG," Kleven said.

Wendy's also has been a longstanding and successful partner with the Unions. It will expand offerings by adding the new Coke Freestyle machine to its service and update its food preparation area. The Freestyle machine allows a customer to choose from more than 100 soft drink flavor combinations. Panda Express also will introduce several new menu items when it reopens.

The restaurants will open in August, when renovations are complete in the MUG. In addition to updated operators, the adjacent seating area will have a brighter, more open and inviting atmosphere.

"The combination of strong food operators and a newly renovated eating space will make the MUG area a great place for students to eat and hang out," said Kleven.

The MUG area will be closed beginning May 5 for the renovation project. Food service will continue during the summer in a temporary arrangement, including guest operators and special "Lunch with the Chef" days on the first floor of the Union. More details on that will be announced soon.