Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA loses Maea Doster Cafe


Maea and Doster Café, former eateries on campus, closed during the summer.

Kristina Hopton-Jones, director of University Dining Service, said Maea closed because the restaurant was underutilized, though it opened after surveys showed students would be interested in a sit-down dining facility.

“It ended up that Maea was a great place for small private parties, but the concept did not work as we had thought,” Hopton-Jones said.

A Buffalo Phil’s Express, open from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., will replace Maea.

“Students liked [Lakeside] Diner that was in this space originally, so we are bringing it back with a new twist on the original concept,” Hopton-Jones said.

A student-created Facebook page emerged in August 2009 promoting a boycott of Maea. Within a week, the page had 1,000 members. The description on the page states that students refused to eat at Maea because it did not accept meal plans, and they missed the food at Lakeside Diner and its convenient operating hours.

Hopton-Jones said the University could possibly place an eatery similar to Maea on campus in the future.

“We will conduct another large market research program next year to find out what the students want and respond to their requests,” she said.

Margo Smith, a freshman majoring in marketing, said she plans to eat at Buffalo Phil’s Express. Smith said she doesn’t know what to expect, because she has never eaten at a Buffalo Phil’s, but she hopes it will serve good food.

“I get tired of the food in Lakeside sometimes,” she said.

Melanie Woodward, a freshman majoring in psychology, also said she’s looking forward to the new Buffalo Phil’s.

“It offers more variety of places on campus to eat,” Woodward said.

Doster Café closed after the spring semester because programs in the College of Human Environmental Sciences (the building in which Doster was located) are growing, and the college needed more classroom space, Hopton-Jones said. The University has no current plans to open any restaurants similar to Doster Café on campus, she added.

“We would like to have a venue in that area of campus sometime in the future if a suitable location is identified,” she said.

Garrett Martin, a sophomore majoring in computer science, said he has noticed a lot of fast food chains on campus, such as the ones in the Ferguson Center and the recently opened Lloyd facilities, and, in a way, he considers losing Doster the death of a small business.

“I thought it was a nice, small southern kitchen,” he said.

Hopton-Jones said all the workers from Doster Café and Maea are now at different locations on campus.

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