Bon Appétit Management, Emory’s new food services contractor, has plans to renovate Zaya Mediterranean Cuisine, possibly narrowing the menu to cut costs and reduce the wait time for food as well as redesigning the interior. Zaya has been one of the most convenient spots on campus for many students, and we at the Wheel have some suggestions to retain Zaya’s best qualities while improving in areas it lacks.

First, Zaya should serve alcoholic beverages to students of legal age. Many other colleges and universities across the country sell alcoholic beverages at on-campus dining establishments. DeKalb County has rules against selling alcohol 100 feet away from a college campus, but does not prohibit alcohol being sold on campus. An Emory ID card reader would be sufficient to verify the age of students and this initiative would actually help create a safe environment for responsible drinking on Emory’s campus, away from high-risk fraternity houses.

In addition, we acknowledge the pros of cost-saving menu cuts, but we are hesitant that Zaya will limit options to the point where it completely looses its current variety. We are also concerned that these cuts will hurt students with dietary needs, especially given that Zaya is one of the only late night dining options at Emory. After 8 p.m., when Dobbs Market stops serving much of its menu, Zaya becomes the only option available to students. While Eagle Convenience and Subs has alienated the gravity of late night cravings, Zaya needs to stay a viable option, especially in its offering of healthy food choices. Even though it is important that Zaya cover its costs, we hope that the University values the needs of its students more than the amount of profit the restaurant makes.

Finally, we suggest that Zaya be redesigned to serve as a venue for social functions. We agree with the University that moving the kitchen and counter would provide more community space. If Zaya were able to host live performances and music, it would help build community and school spirit and would give more evening alternatives to Fraternity Row. While we hope that the pub-like, classic and wooden design of the establishment remains the same for the most part, adding some signs of school spirit in the design may make Zaya feel more like an Emory space.

Zaya is an important icon of the Emory college experience and a late night convenience for many students, but it is in need of a change. We hope that the establishment will retain its image and continue to be a popular destination for many students on campus.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel‘s editorial board.
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The Emory Wheel was founded in 1919 and is currently the only independent, student-run newspaper of Emory University. The Wheel publishes weekly on Wednesdays during the academic year, except during University holidays and scheduled publication intermissions.

The Wheel is financially and editorially independent from the University. All of its content is generated by the Wheel’s more than 100 student staff members and contributing writers, and its printing costs are covered by profits from self-generated advertising sales.