By Catherine Brown —

In an Instagram post on Jan. 9, U of L Dining announced that they are considering replacing the campus’ McAlister’s restaurant. This decision has prompted backlash from students.

McAlister’s has been a beloved staple of U of L dining for many years. Students love the fast-casual atmosphere of the establishment, where they can indulge in a mixture of healthy and starchy, hot food brought right to their table. 

The backlash is reminiscent of the Spring 2021 response to U of L Dining for removing Einstein Bros. Bagels. The student response was so strong that U of L Dining brought back Einstein Bros. for the rest of the semester, albeit only through Grubhub orders.

Students rejoiced, and Einstein Bros. enjoyed a semester of long lines with students anticipating ordering their favorite coffee, bagel or pastry.

McAlister’s deserves to stay. From the chain’s famous sweet tea to the hot macaroni-and-cheese that always seems to sell out before the lunch rush, it’s clear that students love having the restaurant on campus. McAlister’s offers plenty of hot, fresh-tasting food that invites students to actually sit down and enjoy their lunch.

Jacob Forden, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, said, “I am very sad about McAlisters because I always ate there and the sweet tea was amazing.”

In response to the backlash, U of L Dining said, “Hello, McAlister’s is closed. We are evaluating options for this space. In the meantime, our students can go to our Instagram story and answer our poll question about what new dining options they would like to see on campus. There will also be a survey later this semester that will be sent to students.”

Forden said that if McAlister’s were replaced, he would like to see it replaced by Penn Station Subs, Mark’s Feed Store or a similar fast food restaurant.

Other students suggested replacing McAlister’s with Panera, Cane’s, and, again, Mark’s Feed Store.

If McAlister’s has to go, what restaurant would you like to see in its place?