Grille Works may be changing

Lindsey Reed

Students may not have to leave campus next year to enjoy March Madness with their meals.

Dining Services is working on a proposal to change the Grille Works in Downing University Center into a service-style restaurant with a sports theme.

The furnishings would be upgraded and 40 televisions would be added, Senior Dining Services Director Barry Wells said.

“We feel like this type of service has been asked about by students, faculty and staff,” he said.

Clemson University and the University of South Florida have similar restaurants to what Dining Services is considering for DUC.

Wells said the taste for burgers isn’t as popular as it was the past.

“People have more sophisticated tastes, and we’re trying to please the majority,” he said. “Many people have strayed away from burgers on a regular basis.”

More people are eating specialty-style sandwiches, he said.

Dining Services hopes the proposed plan, if passed, could go into effect next fall.

The possible costs and menu are still in the developing stages, Wells said.

John Osborne, associate vice president of campus services and facilities, said Western has always worked with Aramark for ways to improve students’ options.

No decisions on the idea have been made, but the idea has been an ongoing discussion, he said.

“It’s one element that has surfaced from time to time,” Osborne said.

Kari Collins, a junior from Dayton, Ohio, said she looks forward to a possible different dining option.

“There’s not many options on campus for anything but fast food,” she said. “I think it’s cool that there will be more items because I’m sick of pizza and Taco Bell.”

Collins said she likes the idea as long as prices don’t increase and if tuition isn’t raised to fund it.

The restaurant would have a sports theme with Western murals painted on the walls.

Wells said the possible designer for the sports theme artwork also designed artwork for the University of Tennessee’s restaurant called “Smokey’s.”

Pricing at the proposed restaurant would be competitive to what students are used to paying in the Bowling Green market, Wells said.

Minor kitchen renovations would be needed if the idea is adopted, he said.

The proposed restaurant could employ 15-25 students, Wells said. Grille Works currently employs three students.

Louisville senior Shaveka Gibson, who is majoring in hotel, restaurant and tourism management, has her own view of how the restaurant could be successful.

“The concept of it is good, but along with a good concept you need better food,” she said.

Gibson said she likes Grille Works now, but thinks changes could be beneficial.

“It will be different because it’s nothing we’re used to,” she said.

Grille Works currently seats 300, Wells said. A proposed new deck added to the exterior of the building would add about 150 seats.

Only conceptual designs have been completed so far, he said.

Reach Lindsey Reed at [email protected]