A brand new restaurant-style dining center opens its doors at Western Michigan University on Thursday, September 1st. The Valley Dining Center features nine different "micro-restaurant" eating venues and will be open to the public.

Photo: Mike Lanka, Office of University Relations; courtesy Western Michigan University

A formal ribbon cutting ceremony happens at 3pm on Sept. 1st, and then tours are scheduled until 6pm. The Valley Dining Center will be up and running the next day, Sept. 2nd., with a great view of Goldsworth Valley Pond.

In a release, WMU says about the micro-restaurants:

Food is prepared in front of the guests in a series of micro-restaurants on the second floor of the facility. Each micro-restaurant has its own menu, associated seating area, décor and theme. Each micro-restaurant has a unique name associated with the cuisine offered: Traditions, Cilantro's, Pastaria, Pacific Plate, Blazin' Bronco, Fresh Creations, My Pantry and Sweet Sensations. 

At these venues, diners will be able to select from Asian cuisine, home-style classics, pizza or pasta choices, Latin dishes, deli sandwiches and wraps, breakfast fare, a classic grill menu, a salad bar that includes cut fresh fruit selections, and a full dessert station that will specialize in crepes and s’mores. A venue called My Pantry will serve the growing number of students with food allergies and special nutritional needs. The controlled, allergen-free zone will serve individually prepared selections that are gluten-free, and nut- and peanut-free.

The description above sounds similar to restaurants like Benihana.

Photo: Mike Lanka, Office of University Relations; courtesy Western Michigan University

The new facility can handle up to 1,000 customers. Whether or not WMU is officially competing with local food businesses for student dollars is hard to say, but they sure did design the new building to attract and keep students coming back.

"We've paid close attention to student needs and the qualities they've told us they want to see where they live and dine," says Dr. Diane Anderson, vice president for student affairs. "And then we went even further and tried to anticipate their future wishes, meet campus dining trends and provide the kind of gathering space that makes students proud to be a Bronco and a WMU campus resident. That 'wow' factor we've built into the Valley Dining Center is an important part of attracting and retaining students and helping them build memories that will stay with them for years to come."

This was the video announcing the news of the new dining center last year.

(WMU Dining Services via YouTube)