News and Analysis

Friday, Aug. 17, 2012 2:20 p.m.

J Street replaces venues to attract more customers

J Street’s venues will change again this fall, bringing students an Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Vietnamese cuisine among the new options. Hatchet File Photo.

J Street will replace venues and bring back fast food this fall, after a sweeping overhaul last year failed to increase the popularity of campus dining options.

A Vietnamese station called Banh Mi will replace the former kosher deli Nosh, Director of Campus Support Services Nancy Haaga said. Auntie Anne’s Pretzels will be up-and-running two weeks into the semester and take the place of Freshens, the smoothie and ice cream seller, after a construction wall comes down.

Endless dissatisfaction with food options has plagued J Street for at least the last six years. Campus dining officials launched a marketing campaign in the spring, hoping to fix J Street’s image problem among students.

J Street will offer Auntie Anne’s samples throughout the fall, as part of the market effort.

The Metro Diner, often criticized last year for long wait times, will expand this year, adding a hot breakfast and lunch bar with 16 options at a time to accommodate students on the go. Hot bar offerings will rotate on a weekly basis, Haaga said.

The sandwich bar will include more meat, cheese, topping and bread options and the hot bar will cycle through menu changes every 16 weeks, serving “comfort foods like salmon, mashed potatoes, baked pastas and baked brisket,” she said.

“We’re trying to create a bar where you can pick and chose what you want,” Haaga said.

J Street will also see the addition of an Edy’s fat-free frozen yogurt machine with a toppings bar.

  • ruhroh


  • Stacey Abenstein

    As the parent of an incoming Freshman, I am extremely disappointed that you replaced a healthy option, Freshens, with a substantially less healthy one! With the current national focus on the obesity problem and the emphasis on making better food choices, I would have thought you’re decision-making process would have been based on more than just profit.

  • Tripp

    Glad to see J Street finding a middle ground for students on the go. Looking forward to the hot bar additions~!

  • GW Upperclassman

    @Stacey Abenstein Your kid will have plenty of healthy food options to choose from, after all Whole Foods is a block alway. Freshens didn’t even use fresh fruit for their smoothies.

  • Steph

    The Vietnamese place is actually called Bonmi and it’s awesome! I am so excited go j street!!!!

  • Katherine

    Bon Mi is so good! Glad to see they’re bringing good food finally!

  • BuffnBlue4ever

    Bring back dining halls to campus! There used to be two in the Marvin Center, one in Thurston Hall and another one in Mitchell Hall. Dining halls are great, traditional cafeteria-tyle food and it builds more of a sense of community on campus. A new dining hall could be part of the future redevelopment of Crawford Hall/Schenley Hall/West End. Give students dining halls as an alternative to fast food and carry-out.

  • AJ

    Do not forget that there is a Freshen’s at GW hospital!

  • Kean

    Or they could just give us good food… instead of spending the money on image…

  • GDubBro

    J Street is for GDIs.

  • MS

    Dining Halls!!!! Please! Its called helping irresponsible freshman have some food and not rely on taking the free crackers from FoBo.
    J Street also has the worst hours, if they really want a surge in popularity its called being open as late or later than Ivory… duh

  • KosherOU

    Sad to see the replacement of the kosher deli. I personally don’t keep kosher, but I think it’s sad that a kosher dining option no longer exists.

    I think the University should find some way to meet the demands of a fleishig establishment for Jews who eat by kosher laws, especially for the rising sophomores with J-St money still to spend…I guess it’s milchig and pareve products only for the Jews who keep kosher at GW.

  • Anna

    @Stacey Abenstein , trust me, Freshens was completely unhealthy…the smoothies were made out of sugar syrup flavored like ‘fruit’.

    And since when is salmon comfort food?

  • Re Stacey

    The free market–not caloric content–decides which restaurants stay in business.

  • Stacey Abenstein

    Freshmen are required to spend $700/semester at J-Street, so I assume that many of their meals will be eaten there. While Whole Foods is great, without a kitchen you are talking more take out and higher expenses. When we visited campus in the Spring, it was difficult to find a healthy option at J-Street for lunch. I am sorry to hear that Freshens did not use fresh fruit, but Annie’s Pretzels is laden with fat, carbs, and a ton of calories!

    While I am full aware that J-Street is interested in turning a profit, other Universities offer dining rooms with healthier (AND MUCH CHEAPER) options!

  • Alum

    The problem is and always will be large vendor contracts. GW is in a city surrounded by options. Why would a student want to spend money for overpriced food that is planned by survey. The free market should determine success. Just look at the DC food truck phenomenon that makes the downtown lunch crowd go bananas. They aren’t afraid of experimenting or making quality food for chep. Maybe Sodexo/Aramark (whoever is running the show) should start thinking outside the box. Too bad corporate profits driven by convenient economies of scale result in bland generic food consistent across institutions.

    Banh mi sounds like a good start, but don’t get your hopes up. It’s all in the execution.

  • Gdub113

    Stacey–There are PLENTY of healthy options here, including in J st. In fact, there are too many healthy options. Your kid does not have to eat from Auntie Anne’s if they don’t want to. They are in college now. It’s time to be responsible for what they put in their own body.

  • Re Stacey

    It sounds like the real thing to be complaining about is GW’s policy of requiring students to allocate a certain amount of money towards J Street vendors. Colleges do this all the time, and it’s just a rip-off.

  • L


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