Viking Food Co cooks up new dining options

Chili’s replacement unveiled, Viking Grounds to become a full Starbucks, and much more!

A view inside the newly revamped Viking Marketplace. Photo by Molly Bregar

Correction 10/3/2021: An earlier version of this article stated that Burgers 2 Beer was “bought out.” Only the Euclid Avenue location of Burgers 2 Beer will be affected by the dining changes. The Burgers 2 Beer franchise will remain open and unchanged at its other locations.

Not only do Cleveland State University students have new food options near campus, on-campus dining has also seen some major changes leading up to the fall semester.

As of August, Aramark- a Fortune 500 company that provides food service to hospitals, universities, school districts, stadiums and other businesses around the world- is now overseeing dining services at on campus, which has also been rebranded as Viking Food Co.

The transition has been felt across campus. Chili’s is slotted to be replaced, and there has been no word on Elements Bistro, which is currently closed. The rest of the dining locations have seen rebrands and remodels for the year.

The Cauldron recently spoke with representatives from dining about what’s next at CSU, who shared their goals for the future.

“The Viking Food Co brand encompasses a partnership and vision with Cleveland State University. Our brand of Viking Food Co includes our residential dining, retail dining, and catering. We have big plans for the future to make dining on campus more exciting and accessible for the entire CSU community.”

“What’s next?” seems to be the number one question students are asking. Several major additions will be made over the next year.

Dining representatives shared with The Cauldron that “[they] will be opening a new concept in December/January called the Viking Public House in the former Burgers 2 Beer location on Euclid Avenue. This new restaurant concept will feature a rustic décor with a delicious menu which will include home made shells and cheese, hearty sandwiches & burgers, and classic milkshakes.”

Burgers 2 Beer will be the future home of Viking Public House. Photo by Molly Bregar, logo courtesy of Aramark

While students may be saddened by the closing of what some consider CSU’s campus bar this October, whether Viking Public House will serve alcohol is still “TBD.”

Dining also mentioned, “in Spring 2022, we will be opening a Chick-Fil-A in the first floor of the student center in the former Chili’s location. We know our students and CSU community will be very excited to have Chick-Fil-A right on campus!”

Vikings sticking around for next year also have much to look forward to. Fall 2022 will see the opening of a Panda Express on the second floor of the Student Center, as well as a fully licensed Starbucks in place of Viking Grounds, with a full drink menu and food offerings. Astute students may have seen this plan alluded to in the CSU 2.0 mockups shared last year.

The Viking Marketplace has also seen some major overhauling. Beyond the physical renovations, “The Viking Marketplace has upgraded its menu offerings this semester under the new Executive Chef, Ed Knake. We are featuring scratch made recipes at every station with a focus on seasonality.”

New Executive Chef Ed Knake is responsible for upgraded menu offerings this semester. Photo courtesy of Aramark

The culinary team also has a focus on showcasing the local food scene, with events like “Taste of Cleveland,” featuring feature food items from Cleveland neighborhoods like Asia Town, Slavic Village, and Little Italy, and “Taste of Rock” to accompany the annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

Holiday events for Oktoberfest, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and a Cookies & Cocoa event before our students break for the winter can all be expected as well.

Dining also shared news on the recently rebranded locations on the second floor of the Student Center. While they have new names, all three serve the same style food as previous years.

Greens To Go (formerly Chop’d and Wrap’d) is a “delicious and healthy offering with robust and seasonal salads.” Grilleworks (formerly Grill Nation) has a “classic grill menu with lots of student favorites including burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, and fries.”

Hissho Sushi, the only location retaining its name, “makes fresh sushi and poke bowls that are also available for purchase in the Viking Express and the Viking Express at Fenn Tower,” formerly known as Outtakes and Fenn Shoppe, respectively.

Dining also remarked on the importance of campus dining to finding community. “A meal plan is more than just convenient,” they shared.

“Meeting new people in the dining hall can help you foster a community while working on your degree. Instead of leaving campus for meals, we encourage students to take part in a meal plan to fuel their studies in a convenient place while making new connections.”

More information on dining options, meal plans, and more can be found on their website.

Have thoughts on the changes? Tweet us @csucauldron, or contact us here.