NCU Cafe

New culinary experience coming to campus this fall

North Central University partners with Sodexo, Welsh to create new campus culinary experience

When students return to the North Central University (NCU) campus in August after being off campus since mid-March, they will be eating in a completely renovated dining facility featuring best-in-class food options.

Under a new 10-year contract with Sodexo, an international dining services and facilities management company, North Central, together with Sodexo and building partner Welsh Construction, is reinventing residential dining, retail, and catering for the 1,200 students and faculty, staff, and guests of its downtown Minneapolis campus.

As the new food services partner, Sodexo will fully underwrite a facility upgrade for the dining center that includes a two-phase construction project over the next two years. This summer, Welsh will oversee a full renovation of the current cafeteria space located in Carlson Hall, a residence hall that was once a hospital, located at Elliot Avenue and 15th Street.

Phase 2 will include an expansion to the first and second floors of Carlson Hall to house additional dining room capacity (first floor) and a new student-union-style space (second floor) and is expected to be open for the fall 2021 semester.

The remodel will include new cook-to-order stations, additional healthy food options, and extensive changes to the physical space. Matt Slick, Project Manager for Welsh Construction, provided details about the new dining center:

“The NCU dining design-build project aims to enhance the former cafeteria and dining experience for students, staff, and faculty alike. The layout of the current dining hall will change, moving the main entrance to the Elliot Avenue side of the building, underneath the skyway. This enhanced new entrance will flow into a vestibule with meal service check-ins and open views to the food service and seating. The new food service area will incorporate a soup/salad bar with deli, a new pizza/grill area, international station, and desserts area. The former space known as the Aquarium will be recreated in the area where the old check-in station was on the other end of the new dining hall. This project will also include adding a stairway from the first to the second floor by the new main entrance, connecting those seeking to enter the dining hall through the skyway—a nice feature during the cold winter months or days of inclement weather.”

Dannie Crozier, Sodexo Regional Vice President, is excited to bring Sodexo’s experience improving quality of life to the NCU project. “We are transforming service at North Central and reinventing campus life as we create a memorable dining experience that will align with NCU’s overall strategic vision of encouraging the health and wellbeing, engagement, and satisfaction of every customer.”

NCU Executive Vice President Andrew Denton, Ph.D., initiated the relationship with Sodexo to bring a high-caliber food service experience for students. “We’re looking forward to a long-term partnership with Sodexo,” Denton said. “Creating a world-class dining experience for our students in an updated and expanded environment fits perfectly into our plans to propel North Central into the next decade.”

Ongoing updates on construction progress and news about new food options, will be available throughout the summer at

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