The response to the new coffee house and sandwich shop in the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s Taylor Library has far exceeded initial expectations.
Long lines and full tables have been the norm since students returned for the beginning of the fall semester last week. “I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” said Rebecca Pennington, director of Aramark Food Services on the UAM campus. “We’ve been very busy every day.”
The new dining facility includes Java City, an upscale coffee shop offering a variety of coffee and tea products, including a new offering called the Javalanche, an iced mocha delight that comes in several flavors. The sandwich shop, called Montague’s, offers a wide selection of soup and sandwich combinations, including turkey, roast beef, tuna salad, ham and a variety of trimmings.
“This is all part of an ongoing effort to improve the on-campus experience,” said Jay Hughes, vice chancellor for student affairs. “We have been exploring different ways to give our students more dining options on campus, to give them an alternative to traditional cafeteria meals. The sandwiches and soups offered at Montague’s reflect our commitment to offering healthy alternatives to traditional fast food. We will continue with Aramark to offer a wide selection of food options in our cafeteria that we hope will meet the expectations of our students.”
Java City is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. while Montague’s serves from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Pennington, who came to UAM from Baylor University in July, and her Aramark staff are watching the new venture carefully and will make adjustments to the menu as needed. “We have the ability to offer specials with discounts on sandwiches,” said Pennington. “Right now we’re looking at the early numbers to see where we might need to adapt to what the students want.”
Tierra Harris, a senior computer information systems major from Monticello, is among the legion of students who have found the new coffee and sandwich shop to their liking. “The sandwiches are really good and it’s convenient to have it in the library,” Harris said. “I think it’s a really good addition to the campus.”
UAM Chancellor Jack Lassiter praised Hughes, Pennington and Aramark for what he called “a team effort to improve the quality of the student experience at UAM by providing more dining options for our students as well as faculty and staff. Jay and his staff have worked very hard, and continue to work, toward a goal of improving the overall atmosphere of the campus.”