Union food court KoFusion to open in January

By Lillian Barkley

Tweet: KoFusion to open Union restaurant after winter break

A new year will bring a new restaurant to the Union food court.

Before students return from winter break, KoFusion is opening its third area restaurant next to Sbarro’s Pizza by January 2016.

“The Illini Union is very excited to be able to partner with KoFusion,” said Lori Holmes, Union Vending coordinator, in an email. “This partnership fills a void identified by our students for local, fresh and healthy Asian.”

The shop will fill the space of Rice Garden, which closed May 18, 2014, after results of the Illini Union’s campus-wide survey showed the restaurant only ranked in the middle and the restaurant’s contract was set to expire.

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Each year, the survey ranks concepts and vendors. The Illini Union speaks to vendors in order of student preference, and the past surveys are what led to KoFusion being added to the Union, Holmes said.

“The surveys from the past two years have ranked Asian as the most desired, non-represented concept for the Illini Union food court, with KoFusion ranking as one of the highest desired brands,” Holmes said.

KoFusion’s use of fresh, healthy food and a wide variety of options was a draw for students and the Union.

“KoFusion utilizes only the highest quality of ingredients in an appetizing, creative and visually appealing fashion” she said.

This restaurant will be much like its location at 701 S. Gregory St., Urbana, which has won multiple awards for its sushi from Buzz.

The Urbana location has a limited, casual menu in comparison to the original Champaign restaurant, but both offer $1 sushi roll pieces.

With a few months left before the opening, the menu is still being finalized, but sushi and made-to-order entrees will be available. Holmes said Asian-style salads are also being considered.

Because KoFusion will be part of the Union, a percentage of every purchase goes to support Union programs.

Holmes added that the Union is dedicated to providing students with restaurant-quality dining.

“KoFusion’s practice of providing traditional Asian food with a flavorful twist is popular with our students,” she said.

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