The Hub seeks to reinvigorate UH Dining
As a city known for its food and one of most diverse cities in U.S., it’s no surprise that there is a wide range of culinary options for adventurous eaters in Houston. In addition to other food options on campus, the University broke ground on the highly anticipated dining commons dubbed The Hub.
The two-story 41,000 square foot facility will replace the old Student Center Satellite building, which was closed in 2020. According to an announcement story posted on the UH website, The Hub’s goal is to provide a dining experience to students that emphasizes both sustainability and diversity.
Slated to open in 2024, The Hub aims to provide students with much more than a simple dining hall experience. Most notably, The Hub will eliminate machine-made food entirely, and afford students more transparency in their dining experience by allowing them to watch as their food is prepared. In addition, The Hub will serve as a social space where student’s come together and get to know each other.
“This will not be just another food court, but rather a student-centered space on campus that is comfortable and welcoming to everyone,” said chair of the food services advisory committee Christopher Caldwell.
To that end, special emphasis is being placed on The Hub’s layout to make the space as welcoming as possible. Key features include both indoor and outdoor seating, “Action Seating” that allows customers to watch as their food is prepared and a number of design choices made with the intent of creating a space that is both inviting and efficient.
Ultimately, The Hub will provide a novel and authentic culinary experience according to Emily Mesa, UH senior associate vice president for administration.
“The food hall is a special experience as it puts cooks back in the stations, eliminates machine made food and pulls together all the elements of locality, socialization, technology and worldly culinary experiences that are so important to our students,” Mesa said.
The University has yet to determine what food and restaurants The Hub will offer, but the administration conducted surveys in 2019 and 2021 in which they found the most popular choices among students were tacos, Asian fusion, Mediterranean and burgers.
While The Hub is still a couple years off, Caldwell has big hopes for the project and see’s it becoming a sort of “third home” for UH students.
“Your home is your first place, school is your second place, and we want The Hub to be a student’s third space. They will come there to gather for fellowship and grab a quick bite,” Caldwell said.