The University of Montevallo has been working to replace the Moe’s in Farmer for almost two years now, but the road to change has been a long and bumpy one. In the previous academic year, it appeared that Moe’s would be replaced by an in-house option run through Chartwells, the company that runs on-campus dining.
This idea received some negative feedback from students on campus and was ultimately rejected by the University.
“They wanted to look at some different options, so that’s why it didn’t happen last year,” explained Jason Quarles, Director of Dining Services at UM in an interview in January.
In January of this year, it became clear that UM was considering bringing in Pita Pit, a Mediterranean-style restaurant known for its pita wraps, as a replacement for Moe’s.
“It’s got the pita wrap section, but they also do rice bowls and they do hamburgers and they also do smoothies. It’s a broad concept,” said Quarles adding that, “it kinda fits with all the different things that student groups were asking for.”
Originally, it looked as though Pita Pit would be coming to campus in August of 2020, but COVID-19 has caused this plan to be reevaluated.
“Because of COVID-19 our timeline for the changeover from Moe’s to Pita Pit is not totally set in stone. Prior to COVID-19 the plan was to do the remodel over the summer so it would be ready to open when students returned to campus in August, and while that could possibly still happen if this pandemic subsides, I am thinking it will probably happen over winter break,” said Quarles.
Despite the delay, there does not appear to be any change regarding how Pita Pit will function on campus once it is installed. Quarles confirmed that as discussed previously students would be able to use caf swipes at Pita Pit.
“Yes, we will have a meal swipe replacement available at Pita Pit when it opens,” said Quarles. “It will be a specific number per week and will include a few menu combinations which can be changed out on a certain interval so that your options aren’t the same thing all semester.”
In regards to the cost for the retrofit to convert Moe’s into Pita Pit, both Quarles and UM President, Dr. John Stewart, stated that Chartwells would be covering the cost.
Quarles also indicated that he believed that Moe’s would stay open for at least part of the fall semester. According to Quarles how long Moe’s could stay open would probably depend on how long the construction believed it would take to install Pita Pit and whether it could all be done over winter break.
“My guess on this is if Moe’s conversion to Pita Pit happens over winter break, Moe’s will be open at least until Thanksgiving break if not the entire semester. If the construction company needs more time than we’ve got during the winter break period to make the conversion than we may have to close Moe’s at Thanksgiving break,” Quarles said.
The coming of Pita Pit wouldn’t mean a loss of jobs for workers currently employed at Moe’s.
“The current Moe’s staff will be re-trained under the Pita Pit concept and will become the workforce for Pita Pit, probably with a few new additions to our staff,” explained Quarles.
“We are really excited about the change to Pita Pit and appreciate our students’ patience,” said Stewart.
Harrison Neville is the editor in chief for The Alabamian. He is a fourth-year English major whose hobbies include reading, hiking, cooking and writing. He has previously worked for The Alabamian as a managing editor, distribution manager, copy editor and SGA columnist.