Updated: Sep 20, 2022
After a semester of hiatus, McAlister’s reopened its doors in January.
The student-favorite deli on Belmont Boulevard was the first victim of Belmont’s critical dining staff shortage in 2021, which affected the hours of eateries across campus. But the university is seeing an increase in applications after a long drought.
“I think you’ll notice that the dining hall has been better this semester. You see Starbucks, Burrito Bowl and the Corner Court are all coming back,” said Keith Chapman, managing director of auxiliary services.
“We are seeing more people in the labor market, so we were getting a little better and finally we were able to open McAlister’s.”
Though McAlister’s is back in business, the restaurant cut some of its less popular items from its menu and is now only open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“I hope they’ll bring back night hours, because I would eat there 90% of the time at night,” said junior GC Moorman. Once a popular weekend and dinnertime stop, the new hours restrict when students can chow down on soup, sandwiches and spuds.
Though its doors have been open for a few weeks, many students didn’t know they could return for their lunchtime favorites.
“I had no idea they were open and I’m excited to hear that, but the communication has been off,” said sophomore Avery Ellis.
This is not the first time students have felt out of the loop when it comes to Belmont dining. Many were baffled when McAlister’s closed originally.
“I remember walking over there multiple times a week to see if they were open,” Moorman. “I used to spend half of my declining points there.”
Chapman explained the plan for the future of McAlister’s.
“It gets back to labor. We are working to recruit enough people to work from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., like it was last year,” said Chapman.
There is discussion of expanding McAlister’s hours to Fridays, but is likely the restaurant will remain closed on Saturdays, which Chapman said is the slowest day.
“We do close operations on weekends, just because of traffic and things like that. The businesses weren’t worth the expense of opening the facility. If there is another particular operation that students would like to have open, I would be interested in hearing about it,” said Chapman.
Students can follow Belmont Dining on Instagram for updates on all campus dining locations.
PHOTO: McAlister’s on Belmont Boulevard. Sarah Maninger / Belmont Vision
This article was written by Ansley Letsinger.