By ELIZABETH PATTERSON
The University of Mary Washington is now offering students a new dining option. “Hot Spot,” the new pop-up restaurant, opened for the first time on Tuesday, Jan. 31 in the Eagle’s Nest. Located directly across from Vocelli’s Pizza, where the WOW Wingery used to be, this new eatery remains mysterious.
According to the assortment of signs and advertisements around campus, the new restaurant intends on keeping its days of operation a secret until the day before opening, building suspense and excitement for students.
Rose Benedict, marketing specialist for UMW Dining, disclosed that Hot Spot will be open at least two days a week from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. While this restaurant will not be open on the weekends, it will cycle through about six different types of fried comfort foods, though what that means for the menu options has yet to be revealed.
One of the most important details of this new and changing pop-up dining option are the prices. Each meal will include an entrée, side and drink for $6.59. A detail that has been unattended to is how this new restaurant plans to accommodate students with tight budgets.
“The wonderful thing about Hot Spot is that it offers students a true retail dining option at a very affordable price,” Benedict said. “We drummed down the costs to make the menu options really great values… Guests pay only $6.59 for a complete meal, which is a far better deal than you'll see at most commercial retail establishments.”
Benedict says the menus and days of service are always changing, which provides a lot of variety and infuses some fun and spontaneity in the dining experience.
“We often hear that students have lots of flex dollars left at the end of the spring semester and that they wish they had more retail options where they could use their flex,” Benedict said.
The Hot Spot will accept cash, credit, Eagle One and flex in exchange for a hot meal. Kiesha Childs, retail director for UMW, reported that on the restaurant’s first day of sales, there was an astounding 113 customers in just a few short hours.
“It was really good,” said sophomore Christine Mears said. “The burgers are definitely made to order… They’re so good.”
Her only critique was that meal swipes were not a choice for payment. While getting rid of flex is a problem students have, using flex consistently adds up. Christine said she thought $6.59 was a bit pricy for some college students, but she was relieved to see that they do take flex.
As far as being a returning customer, Christine said, “Probably not on the daily, because I can only pay in flex or Eagle One… You can pay with your debit [or] credit card and cash I believe, but being a college student, I don’t have any money to spend but I would definitely go there occasionally.”
As far as knowing what days Hot Spot will be open, Benedict and UMW Dining General Manager Roy Platt explained that in order to maintain the mystery and suspense of this new restaurant, yard signs will be placed around campus the day before [and of] opening. Benedict says that a tip in finding out more information about when the restaurant will be open is to follow UMWDining on Facebook and Twitter where they will notify students about the restaurants hours on the web.