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Campus Dining debuts Noodle Nook in LaFortune

| Friday, September 3, 2021

Earlier this summer Campus Dining announced the opening of the Noodle Nook, an Asian concept located in the LaFortune Student Center’s Huddle Mart as part of their Retail Dining Master Plan.

The new restaurant — occupying the space formerly home to the LaFortune ice cream shop — opened in August, just in time for students’ return to campus.

“The Noodle Nook offers a variety of customizable bowls with a choice of noodles, broths, proteins, vegetables and sauces,” said director of retail dining Sandra Garcia. “It is an affordable dining option, easy to customize, where animal protein is not the focus of the dish but instead complements it.”

Claire Reid | The Observer
The Noodle Nook, located in the LaFortune Student Center’s Huddle Mart, offers a variety of customizable noodle bowls.

At the restaurant’s counter or via Grubhub, patrons can customize and order either a noodle bowl — which includes your choice of four varieties of noodles complemented by up to five available vegetable varieties — or a ramen bowl — identical to a noodle bowl but with broth included. Broth options include tonkatsu pork, chicken and spicy vegan.

“I think they’re pretty good,” senior Mary Lusebrink said of the noodle bowl she was eating at lunch Monday afternoon. “I like the ramen bowls better than just the noodle bowls, but I’m still trying to find the combination I like the best.”

A Cavanaugh Hall resident, Lusebrink appreciates the Noodle Nook’s convenient location and said it presents a more exciting alternative to other LaFun restaurants like Smashburger and Subway.

“It’s a nice combination of different toppings to try,” added Erin Swope, another senior, as she enjoyed a noodle bowl across the booth from Lusebrink. “You can mix it up a lot with all the different kinds of sauces. There’s a nice variety.”

Swope said she was encouraged to try the Noodle Nook as a fan of Star Ginger, the Asian restaurant formerly located in Duncan Student Center known for its poke bowls, pho and orange chicken. 

“I miss [Star Ginger’s] green beans, but this seems like an okay substitute,” she said. “It’s a lot of noodles for eight bucks, so that’s nice. It’s pretty fast and easy.”

Garcia noted that following the closure of Star Ginger, Campus Dining recognized “a void” in Asian cuisine on campus. This, in part, inspired the opening of the Noodle Nook.

“Based on the feedback from our previous Star Ginger clientele, we looked to increase the offerings of similar dishes,” Garcia recalled. “Because the Noodle Nook does not offer the poke bowls, which were popular at Star Ginger, we added them to the menu at Café de Grasta for the semester.”

But despite its lack of poke bowls, Garcia said the Noodle Nook has been a hit among students so far.

“The Noodle Nook is increasingly popular,” she said. “We are witnessing increased volume as the semester progresses. We look forward to continuing that trend.”

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