Qdoba to return to campus in Illini Union Food Court

By Christine Olivo

The Illini Union Food Court is preparing to welcome Qdoba Mexican Grill as its newest restaurant opening.

According to Lori Holmes, manager of vendor contracts for the Illini Union, construction for Qdoba has started in the space that Sushi San formerly occupied.

“I am happy to announce that we have begun construction on a new Qdoba restaurant in the Illini Union Food Court,” she said. “We are very excited by this new partnership.”

Holmes said Qdoba should be fully operational by the end of October.

This will be the restaurant’s second time on campus. Formerly located at 617 E. Green St., the restaurant closed its Green Street location in 2013.

Qdoba is a mexican-style grill similar to Chipotle that serves burritos, tacos and breakfast food and is owned by Jack in the Box.

The menu revolves around their various quesos and salsas, which both have various degrees of spiciness.

Each year, the Illini Union distributes its annual campus-wide survey, asking students to give feedback on the vendors presented in the food court, which serves as guidance for choosing restaurants that customers would most like to see partnered with the Illini Union, Holmes said.

In addition to Sushi San, the decision to discontinue Rice Garden’s contract on May 31 was influenced by students who took the annual survey.

Holmes said that when the Illini Union surveyed students this year to determine what restaurants they would be most interested in having on campus, Rice Garden was not chosen.

Holmes added that the restaurant closed because Rice Garden was only ranked in the middle of the list of student-desired vendors for this year.

Although Rice Garden was not best suited to the student body’s needs and preferences, Holmes said, Qdoba will be a better fit in the Illini Union Food Court.

“Qdoba was a restaurant concept that ranked high on several student surveys,” Holmes said.

“It contains elements frequently requested in surveys and feedback opportunities including fresh ingredients, healthy options, vegetarian options, made-to-order items and entree salads.”

Robert Put, junior in Engineering, said he is happy to see Qdoba come to the Illini Union Food Court.

“I think it will be good to have another option than Chipotle,” he said. “Plus, having Qdoba just inside the Union is really convenient for students, and it’s different compared to the other restaurants that used to be there.”

Ben Rakes, 2014 alumnus, said he thinks the addition of the new restaurant will benefit the Illini Union Food Court.

“I wish Qdoba would’ve been there when I was at the Union everyday between classes,” he said. “The restaurants down there were okay, but nothing too great. Qdoba will attract a lot of people though and definitely bring in some more business.”

Although additional restaurant concepts are planned for the Illini Union Food Court later this year, Holmes said she is unable to announce these concepts due to ongoing contract negotiations.

Christine can be reached at [email protected]