January 27, 2011

Food options around VUMC taking shape

Food options around VUMC taking shape

As announced in August, the long-term lease for McDonald's at Vanderbilt University Medical Center ends on Monday, Jan. 31, and the restaurant will cease operations on that day. After equipment is cleared from the facility, construction will begin in early March to prepare the structure for its new occupant, Au Bon Pain.

Construction for Au Bon Pain will require several months, with the completion of renovation and opening for the new eatery currently planned for June 1. In the interim, Au Bon Pain is establishing a temporary venue with “grab-and-go” food items to be located in the North Lobby of Light Hall, opening late February.

To address additional volume associated with the McDonald's closure, accommodations are being made through the Courtyard Café and the Medical Center's other retail food venues to provide easier and faster access during the brief period before the temporary Au Bon Pain location opens.

These enhancements include:

• During February a heated hot dog and hamburger tent will be located on the Medical Center plaza.

• All retail food venues — Vanderbilt Nutrition Services, Taco Bell and Subway — are aware there will be increased customer volume during construction for Au Bon Pain and are making accommodations.

• A new broiler system has been installed in the TVC Courtyard Café to increase grill capacity and improve customer throughput.

• The Commodore Cup, located in the lobby of Medical Center North, will decrease wait times by installing a new cash register system. This location will also feature additional food offerings, and is extending counter space and enlarging coolers to increase variety and decrease customer wait times.

• The Starbucks in the Courtyard Café will have increased menu options along with more grab-and-go selections.

“We understand this interim period while we undergo construction for Au Bon Pain will cause inconvenience for faculty and staff. However, when this period of growth and change for our on-campus eateries is complete we will enjoy a much greater variety of healthy options,” said George DeLong, associate hospital director for Support Services and Supply Chain and chair of the Medical Center's Food Advisory Committee.

This Au Bon Pain (French for “Place of Good Bread”) will be the company's first restaurant in Tennessee. Au Bon Pain was recently selected as one of America's Healthiest Restaurants by Health magazine.

The restaurant will feature services such as nutritional kiosks inside the venue to assist guests with smart eating choices and will also offer on-campus catering.

When completed, Au Bon Pain will be open 24 hours a day and will feature a broad array of menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. More information about Au Bon Pain can be found at www.aubonpain.com.