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Panda Express, Indian food among new dining options coming to KU campus in fall

It looks like the KU campus will be a bit of a new food frontier this fall, with a number of on-campus dining changes on the way.

Don't worry — your Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap isn't going anywhere. But in addition to the remodeled Mrs. E's dining hall on Daisy Hill (read about it in the KU Today edition, coming in August), there will be a few new tastes available at the Kansas Union and the Underground area in Wescoe Hall.

First up is a name you might recognize: Panda Express. The quick-service Chinese restaurant chain, fresh off its first Lawrence location opened earlier this year, will come to the Kansas Union, as well.

You can get your Kung Pao chicken and other such delights on the third floor of the union, near the KJHK radio station headquarters. Construction on the location will start soon, and officials hope for it to open in October, said Claudia Larkin, a KU Memorial Unions spokeswoman.

The Panda Express will be separate from the main food-court area in the Union, called The Market, but that's going to be changing, too. A few of the "concepts" there — the counters that serve different types of food — will be switched out for new ones.

The Quesarito counter will become Serrano's Latin Cuisine, Fresco will change to World Kitchen International Cafe and the Corner Bakery will now be Sweet Baby Jay's Bakery. (Must be a James Taylor fan over at KU Dining Services, I suppose.)

Also new there will be a spot for the most important meal of the day, called the Early Bird Breakfast Bar.

Those new concepts, all created by KU Dining Services chefs, will feature a lot more fresh, made-to-order cooking, Larkin said.

"It will have a big freshening-up," she said.

And down Jayhawk Boulevard at Wescoe, an Indian food option is coming to the Underground dining area. It's called Cafe Spice, and it's a food-service chain that to this point has been located mainly in the Northeast. Larkin said it would feature a lot of vegetarian and vegan options.

These changes are largely based on a recent survey of students by Dining Services, she said.

"We knew that Indian food would be popular," Larkin said. "We knew that Panda Express would be popular."

Indian food would definitely rank high on a survey of Heard on the Hill bloggers' dining preferences. They are also hungry for KU news tips, which you can send to merickson@ljworld.com.

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