Students looking forward to enjoying bread bowls on campus may have to wait a little longer.
On Friday, Feb. 23, a B-Line news addition was sent to all students, announcing a change in the previously reported plan for the University to open a Panera Bread in place of Einstein Bros. Bagels and the Chenango Room. According to the announcement, the Chenango Room and Einstein Bros. Bagels will both stay in their current locations.
“Since evaluation of campus dining options identified interest in adding Panera, the University, in collaboration with Binghamton University Dining Services by Sodexo, will discuss other possible locations with Panera Bread with the hope that we can soon bring the Panera brand on campus in a location that will be well-received by all,” the announcement read.
The decision was reached after the Faculty Senate and the Professional Staff Senate raised concerns about the closure of the Chenango Room. Jim Ruoff, resident district manager for Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS), said in a statement via email that though BUDS presented further options, such as opening a similar restaurant in place of the Chenango Room, but the two senates were not satisfied with those proposals.
“There are always different perspectives around changing dining concepts and we try to identify and balance those perspectives in making decisions,” Ruoff wrote. “In this instance, we believe we can both respond to concerns raised by the faculty and staff senates and still bring a desired retail brand to campus and that is how we will move forward.”
Alex Van Roijen, president of the Student Culinary Council (SCC) and a senior double-majoring in mathematics and computer science, said that the SCC was not notified of the decision prior to the announcement.
“Well, as the SCC, we were also not expecting this situation ourselves,” Van Roijen said. “However, despite this situation, we are still looking to see if we can not bring Panera to campus in some other form, we just are not sure how that is going to play out yet.”
Van Roijen’s hope for bringing Panera Bread may come true. Ruoff explained that BUDS is still working to find a solution to this problem.
“We remain interested in bringing Panera to campus and Panera has expressed a willingness to discuss other possible locations with us,” he wrote.
Yasha Parawar, a freshman majoring in philosophy, politics and law, said she does not frequent the Chenango Room and had been excited for Panera Bread to replace it.
“I went [to the Chenango Room] once and I feel like the food wasn’t that good, and the hours are kind of inconvenient,” Parawar said.
The Chenango Room is open Monday through Thursday during the semester from 11:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Fridays from 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Despite its limited hours, Jess Senzer, a junior majoring in English, said that the restaurant is not something the University should take away.
“[The Chenango Room] is unique to [BU] in that it provides a restaurant experience without students having to go off campus,” Senzer said. “I love going to [the Chenango Room] with my friends because it’s essentially the only time I ever have to actually sit down with my friends during the crazy school weeks, between the studying and extracurriculars.”
At the time of publication, no contract has been drawn with Panera Bread.