The new and improved Curry Student Center is back in business.
After a summer of renovations, Curry reopened on Tuesday morning with a slate of new restaurants alongside popular standbys. The bright, modern space includes 150 additional seats on a new second-floor mezzanine and a relocated information desk closer to the Northeastern Bookstore.
“The whole space has a distinctive Northeastern feel,” said Maureen Timmons, the director of Northeastern’s Dining Services, in describing the Curry space’s first major makeover in nearly two decades.
The new eateries include UBurger and Sweet Tomatoes Pizza, both of which are local chains; Popeye’s Fried Chicken; and Kigo Kitchen, for which the student center is the new concept restaurant’s first location. The new dining options are joined by Taco Bell, the West End and the On-The-Go convenience store.
The restaurants represent a broad range of meal items from cultures across the globe with a focus on quality, fresh food.
“We started pulling flavors from different regions and doing our homework in terms of ingredients,” said Heather Nucifora, the executive chef for Kigo Kitchen. “I think we’ve done a good job of even mixing ingredients from different countries together in one bowl.”
The Starbucks coffeehouse located in afterHOURS has also reopened.
From the outset, student input was key to selecting the eateries, Timmons said. The final slate of new restaurants was approved earlier this year by the undergraduate Student Government Association.
“SGA was involved in helping the university figure out which vendors were going to come to campus,” said Terry MacCormack, the SGA vice president for student services and a middler political science major.
Sweet Tomatoes Neapolitan Pizza offers customers pizza slices, which have not been available on campus for several years.
Hedy Jarras has run the pizza restaurant for more than a decade, growing her business from one to three locations in the Boston suburbs. Northeastern is her first restaurant in Boston.
“I’ve been in business for 14 years,” said Jarras, who opened her first restaurant in Newton Center when she was 23. “I love what I do, I love pizza, I love the people I work with,” she added. “To come here and even be recognized was really spectacular.”
The revamped space, designed by Cambridge-based architecture firm Prellwitz Chillinski Associates, aims to provide a venue for students to meet and eat, while doubling as a location for a broad range of campus events.
“We wanted to capture the flexibility of the space to make sure it met the needs of all the different users, as well as give the students a place to take ownership of,” said Laura Portney, a designer with PCA.