New Mediterranean option opens on campus

Monica Kast

A new food station has opened in Garrett Food Court featuring Mediterranean recipes created by an Iron Chef, according to Aramark representatives.

Olilo, the new station, features Mediterranean cuisine with recipes created by Iron Chef Cat Cora. According to the WKU restaurant group website, Olilo serves “high-quality meals that are customized” and “assembled to order.”

Olilo replaced Home Zone in Garrett Food Court and opened on January 30.

“It just wasn’t selling as well as it should have,” Steve Hoyng, resident district manager for Aramark at WKU, said of Home Zone’s food.

Nena Shomler, director of marketing for the WKU Restaurant Group, echoed the opinion.

“It was not resonating with students,” she said of Home Zone.

Hoyng said Olilo is currently serving “more customers per day” than Home Zone was last semester.

Hoyng said a reason why Olilo was brought to campus was for the added “variety” to campus dining.

“We don’t have a place that is Mediterranean here,” Hoyng said. “It’s also a healthy option.”

Olilo offers entrees like baked falafel, grilled lemon rosemary chicken and grilled salmon. Certain options are available on the meal plan, including the falafel, chicken and a “power greens” salad with quinoa tabbouleh. Hoyng said that some options would be available every day, like the green salad, falafel, chicken and original hummus, while other options will rotate in and out.

Hoyng and Shomler said WKU was the first university in Kentucky, and one of the first universities in the country, to offer an Olilo station. Hoyng said Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania opened an Olilo station before WKU, but WKU was one of the first.

Freshman Emily Guernsey said that she eats in Garrett Food Court a couple times a week and has eaten at Olilo multiple times.

“I really liked it,” Guernsey said. “It’s nice to have another healthy option on campus.”

Guernsey said she typically gets the chicken or falafel and enjoys both options.

Freshman Benjamin Kash said that he had been to Olilo once before and came back because he liked it.

“It’s a nice change from the mostly fried food you get everywhere else on campus,” Kash said.

Hoyng said there have been a lot of “repeat customers” at Olilo, and it was likely students who were more “adventurous” with food would enjoy Olilo’s options. Hoyng also cited WKU’s large international student population, and said Olilo was part of an effort to try to “appeal to everyone.”

Shomler said the WKU Restaurant Group is working to get samples out in Garrett Food Court, in order to attract more students to Olilo. Overall, Hoyng and Shomler said they were pleased with how well it was doing.

“We are excited to provide another venue that has a different menu,” Hoyng said.

Reporter Monica Kast can be reached at (270)745-0655 and [email protected]