'Tar Heal Cafe' to be replaced

Alpine Bagel will occupy the space in the Thurston Bowles Building.

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Tar Heal Cafe food court will be replaced by Alpine Bagel Cafe.

Students who frequent the medical schools will gain a familiar dining option after the Tar Heal Cafe closes this November.

Brandon Thomas, a spokesman for Carolina Dining Services, said the Student Dining Board decided to close the cafe and replace it with Alpine Bagel Cafe.

“Alpine Bagel, with its healthy options and breakfast and lunch items, was determined to be the perfect fit,” he said.

The Tar Heal Cafe, located in the Thurston Bowles Building on the corner of Manning Drive and South Columbia Street, is a food court serving Chick-fil-A, Montague’s Deli, Starbucks coffee and Simply Fresh salads and sandwiches.

Thomas said the driving factor for closing the cafeteria was the plummeting sales.

“Since the Beach Cafe opened (near the Health Sciences Library) about four years ago, sales started to go down,” he said.

“One of the obvious reasons is that both Beach Cafe and the Tar Heal Cafe serve Chick-fil-A, and the two are really close together.”

Thomas said the University determined that it would be best to replace it with an Alpine Bagel by surveying customers as they left the cafe.

He said the menu is likely to resemble the one in the Student Union, with similar prices and food options.

Biomedical engineering professor Ted Bateman said the location was key to making Tar Heal Cafe his go-to spot for fulfilling his morning caffeine fix.

“It’s by far the most convenient spot for me, especially to get my coffee,” Bateman said.

“I eat here too, and they have good variety. A lot of my co-workers come here to grab something and go.”

Thomas said the University would begin informing customers of the cafe’s official closing changes when the details are confirmed.

Employees were told recently that the change is scheduled to take place, and they will likely be dispersed to other CDS positions, Thomas said.

Dominique Medina, a doctoral student in the School of Dentistry, said he was surprised the location would be closing. He said there are already limited food options in the South Campus area.

“It’s either here or the hospital,” Medina said. “There’s the Beach Cafe, but that’s a little far away.

“I’d be upset if they replaced this with a bagel shop. I don’t care for bagels — I come here to get away from bagels.”

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