The University of Maryland’s Stamp Student Union hopes to finalize a list of potential restaurants to replace Adele’s by the end of this month, with negotiations beginning shortly thereafter.
Requests for interest forms were sent out last month to about 50 businesses interested in filling the vacant space left by the waited-table restaurant, which closed last spring due to a lack of foot traffic.
The deadline to submit a request for interest form for “best consideration” is March 22, Stamp director Marsha Guenzler-Stevens said.
While Guenzler-Stevens declined to provide a list of prospective restaurants, she said Stamp was looking for a recognized vendor with a fast-casual approach.
“Think of all the restaurateurs in D.C., Baltimore — national brands, you know, everything from Panera [Bread] to McAlister’s,” Guenzler-Stevens said. “Those are all of the kinds of brands we’re sending out to.”
Restaurants can submit the form after that deadline, but they may not be taken into serious consideration. Guenzler-Stevens said construction should begin shortly after a decision is made.
“Our aim is to move fairly quickly after that, and so our aim will be to hit the 22nd so that we can proceed to negotiations with individuals that we think are most interesting,” Guenzler-Stevens said.
Before Adele’s — which opened in 1993, and was operated by Dining Services — closed permanently last year, it had already scaled back its dining operations. The sit-down eatery closed its dinner service in 2016 after the introduction of Anytime Dining, as it could not sustain enough business after students could no longer use dining points there.
Guenzler-Stevens said in December that Stamp was working on developing the request for interest form and originally hoped to distribute that form in January. Part of the reason for the delay, she said, was that Stamp wanted to do more research to find out what type of restaurant would fit in well with the university community.
Stamp worked with a food consultant and completed a survey of more than 1,500 students, faculty and staff to solicit feedback, Guenzler-Stevens said. The consultant also looked at industry trends to analyze what kind of restaurant would perform best financially.
“I think more than anything else, it’s just the whole concept of getting a document together that details information about the space and information about expectations for what we’re looking for,” Guenzler-Stevens said.
Among the businesses planning to express their interest for the space is this university’s Dining Services. Dining Services currently operates several restaurants within Stamp, including Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell and Auntie Anne’s, and a new restaurant contracted by Dining Services may accept Dining Dollars.
“We would love to operate that space if it could be done in a way that makes sense,” said Bart Hipple, a spokesperson for Dining Services.
Among the students who would like to see the new restaurant take Dining Dollars is Rotem Cudkevich, a freshman psychology major. She said she’d be more likely to go to the new restaurant if it accepted Dining Dollars.
While Cudkevich doesn’t eat at Stamp often, she said she usually eats at places that accept Dining Dollars because she’d rather not pay out-of-pocket for other restaurants.
“Whenever I eat at Stamp, it’s mainly only Chick-fil-A because they take Dining Dollars,” Cudkevich said. “So that would definitely give me more of a reason to eat there.”
Another aspect of the new restaurant the community may like is “a quiet space at one end of the dining room to afford folks the ability to reserve a space,” Guenzler-Stevens said.
As someone who finds it difficult to study in dining halls, freshman family science and psychology major MaryEmily Ballas said she’d like to see the quiet space come to fruition.
“A lot of times it’s hard to find a good place to study and do work on campus, especially if you’re trying to multitask and eat at the same time as you do work,” Ballas said. “It’s really hard to do that in the dining halls, so that would be a good place.”