By Joanna Tavares
It was a red carpet affair at West Side Dining Wednesday night as the Faculty Student Association (FSA) and Campus Residences came together for the grand opening of its latest addition. The renovation and addition to what used to be the Kelly Dining Center began in 2011 and are now both complete, slightly less than a semester behind schedule.
The dining hall was decked out in casino fashion and students weaved their way through the various slot machines, roulette wheels and black jack tables. A disc jockey was present keeping the mood festive and lively as the staff workers showed off their newest menu options.
From the personalized pizzas, to the ‘Grab-n-Go’ station, there are now additional options for students to choose from. Throughout the dining hall customers relaxed in the various lounges, complete with white loveseats and matching coffee tables.
“I really like this, it was so unexpected,” said Jason Mazza, a student at Stony Brook University, about the decorations at West Side. Students were given a complimentary poker chip upon arrival to play the various casino games. And while the atmosphere was beaming with laughter and chatter, they gambled away their chips in return for Wolfie Wallet prizes.
Mazza, who was enjoying his “very delicious” panini that he had ordered shortly before, said he was happy to see the new options at West Side Dining. The new stations join the existing West Side Dining menu, which includes a barbecue kitchen, Asian fusion, and a deli.
Angela Agnello, the director of marketing and communications at FSA, is happy with turnout at the grand opening. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback,” she said.
The second phase of West Side Dining was supposed to have opened at the start of the semester, but as with many construction projects at Stony Brook, delays arose.
Agnello said waiting on the contractors caused the opening to be three months late, but FSA was not to blame.
“As soon as it was turned over to us, we followed through pretty quickly to get it open,” Agnello said.
Almost without exception, student responses were favorable.
“The Grab-n-Go is really convenient, so I’m a big fan of that,” said Shannon Sunny, a student enjoying her dinner from the new dining hall. “Overall, I’m a big fan of West Side.”