The George Washington University opened the latest installment of its reimagined dining plan Wednesday morning as the Indian-inspired Chaat House on the first floor of the University Student Center welcomed students for the first time.
University officials including Provost Christopher Alan Bracey, Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Colette Coleman, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Bruno Fernandes, Associate Vice President of Business Services Seth Weinshel, GW Dining Executive Director Doug Frazier and Vice President Of Operations for Chartwells Higher Education Matt Thompson cut the ribbon to officially open the restaurant as students jumped in line, while those less decisive or more curious tried samples of the cuisine that were available off to the side.
Options to try included samosa chaat, chicken tikka masala, kale and spinach blend, tandoori tofu, mango lassi, turmeric ginger lemonade, chicken tikka and vindaloo tofu.
The early reviews were more than favorable.
“The samosa is really good. Like a 9 out 10 good, especially compared to other places around D.C.,” said second-year CCAS master’s student Sudhanshu Deshpande, who is from India.
“It’s really good—like, really good,” added first-year mechanical engineering major Shavaun Farmer. “It’s seasoned really well.”
The opening of Chaat House is part of the university’s multi-year effort to enhance its dining experience for students that focuses on community, choice and quality, accessibility and affordability that supports a diverse range of identities.
“As we've continued our dining transformation, this is one more step in that plan to provide quality, affordable and culturally authentic food,” Weinshel said. “Chaat House does that, and it's our first Indian concept on campus that really fills a need that we didn't have previously. We will continue to seek student feedback as we look to open additional concepts.”
First-year GW Business student Maya Peters, who took advantage of the provided samples Wednesday, appreciated the consciousness to health and dietary needs. Seeking gluten-free options, she was able to find food that suited her, as ingredients were readily available to view. In addition, she was excited to have another food place to try on campus—and one that is a little closer to her Lafayette Hall residence.
“It is really nice to have these kinds of restaurants on campus,” she said. “And this kind of food really diversifies the palate.”
Eating at Chaat House is a meal deal equivalent to one swipe for those students on both the unlimited and block meal plans. In addition, students can use Dining Dollars for a meal, as well as debit or credit (as can the rest of the GW community).
While last spring semester’s opening of Shenkman Hall’s all-you-care-to-eat facility marked the completion of phase one, which also included the dining areas at Thurston Hall, on-campus quick service locations will continue to open throughout the fall in addition to Chaat House. Absurd Birds, a throwback chicken shack, will open later in the semester just down the hall from Chaat House on the first floor of USC. The District House Market will also open later this fall. West Hall’s Pelham Commons on the Mount Vernon Campus, will be the next space to upgraded this upcoming summer. Another item of note is that Hillel Café has been renamed GW Zingers.
The transformation of GW dining is part of a larger concentration from the Division of Student Affairs to cultivate an inclusive community that supports connection, growth and well-being for every student throughout their GW journey. That includes summer upgrades to make USC, where Chaat House is located, more open. The community-building aspect was on full display during Chaat House’s opening on Wednesday.
“Food brings people together. Having Chaat House in our revamped lounge enhances the community building that the space was designed to facilitate,” Coleman said. “I enjoyed watching our students be in community together, exploring new foods and sharing their lived life experiences.”
The reimagined dining facilities are also built with student convenience in mind as technology has made it easy to order ahead or order-on-the go and provide GW Dining with direct feedback.
Boost Mobile Ordering
With the Boost Mobile Ordering app, students can preorder meals from the District House, USC and Mount Vernon locations by paying with their credit/debit card or campus card. Once downloaded (available in the Apple and Android stores) students can pick GW, pick their current food craving, customize their meals and choose a pickup time that works best for them. They can also repeat past personalized orders and access exclusive limited time offers at retail locations.
Students slammed for time or studying on-the-go can order at kiosks located outside busier retail locations to speed up their time. Those eating at District House can use a kiosk to click on the restaurant they want, personalize the meal and check out. An order number will then appear on the screen so students can view their status while in line.
Text2Chat is a quick way to provide immediate feedback. A team monitors the Text2Chat feature during all meal periods for the following halls:
- Thurston: 202-929-1292
- Shenkman: 785-470-6950
- Pelham Commons: 785-322-8461
- District House: 785-470-6900