Hawk’s Nest has reopened for the spring semester, offering four retail dining options, self-serve ordering kiosks and long wait times.
Hawk’s Nest closed for renovations at the end of the fall 2022 semester and opened on Jan. 22 as the alternative retail option to the now-closed Upper Cort, located in the University Center, as it undergoes renovations.
The retail dining options are Tres Habaneros, Mein Bowl, Chick-N-Bap and Good Batter — Chick-N-Bap’s sister brand that serves fried chicken and sandwiches.
Evan Rehrig, marketing director for Lehigh Dining, said the reopening has been met with a few challenges, including long wait times, condensed space in the shared restaurant area, navigating the new ordering system and theft.
“When we set our hours of operations here, we looked at historical data as to what we had open at the food court and what we had open here, and that’s helped us to create our plan,” Rehrig said. “The new traffic has surpassed our expectations.”
Rehrig said they are adding kitchen equipment such as preparation tables and food warmers to the kitchens to help reduce wait times, and the kiosk ordering system will continue to be updated and optimized.
Every semester, as students adjust to their new schedules, Rehrig said Lehigh Dining workers have to get used to their schedule changes, too.
“Things just start to settle in and space out a bit, so that’s what we’re anticipating,” Rehrig said.
According to Lehigh Dining, students are utilizing Grubhub at record numbers at the start of the semester to place orders at locations like Hawk’s Nest and The Grind.
In just one week, from Jan. 22 to Jan. 29, 854 orders were placed via Grubhub. In September 2022, 874 orders were placed throughout the entire month.
“We essentially set and reset Grubhub records for ourselves every day this week up until now,” Rehrig said.
Rehrig said some students are finding Grubhub more convenient to use than ordering in person because it allows them to place orders from home and get their food at the time it is ready. There are also no user fees for orders placed on campus and free Grubhub+ is offered until students graduate.
Maia Pohlhaus, ‘26, said she has had to choose between grabbing a meal or getting to class on time due to long wait times.
“I have a small amount of time between my classes and then can’t eat for a while after them,” Pohlhaus said. “I either have to pick between going to my class hungry or be late to my class and waiting longer.”
Olivia Ledder, ‘26, said during the first week of the semester, she waited 30 minutes for Chick-N-Bap and has friends who have waited for over two hours.
Ledder said the closure of Lower Cort has made her adjust when she eats dinner at Rathbone Hall and how much grocery shopping she does.
“It’s just made us go to dinner a lot earlier because the rush is like 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. usually, but if you go in at 5 p.m. it’s like how it used to be capacity-wise,” Ledder said. “That’s really the only thing that’s saved us from being able to get food. Besides that, all of us have stocked our room with snacks and stuff in case the dining halls are packed.”
Gwynna Trunfio, ‘25, lives in Sayre Park, and she said she bought more groceries during the first week of classes than she usually does because she thought the dining situation would be difficult for her.
“I’ll probably buy more groceries this weekend because I haven’t felt like I have had enough to eat just from Hawk’s Nest,” Trunfio said.
Similarly, Miriam Meraz, ‘25, lowered her meal plan credits during the first week of the semester and plans to grocery shop more after her experience with Lehigh Dining because she said it will save her money.
“I had the 200 meals (plan), and then I changed it to 75 because I realized that, with that money, I could just buy groceries,” Meraz said. “Because I’m not going to be eating at Hawk’s Nest or anywhere, I was like, ‘There’s no point in me having all these swipes if there’s nowhere I can eat.’”
Lamberton Hall is also home to many clubs, organizations and events that have occurred regularly in the space until now.
The Great Hall has traditionally been used by the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) at all hours of the day, but now, availability is limited due to the space being used as a dining area.
Ryan Matthiessen, ‘23G, the graduate assistant for the OSE, said the usage of Lamberton as a dining space and the UC renovation has caused the office to be more space-conscious. He said it has been the office’s job to help students find alternatives for event spaces, such as the Health, Science and Technology building.
For OSE events that are still held in Lamberton, such as Lehigh After Dark trivia, Matthiessen said they have seen an increase in participation since Hawk’s Nest’s renovation.
“Our biggest success would be increasing student participation as a result of them just hanging out in the space and engaging with the activities we might bring on at night,” Matthiessen said.
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