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PUB opening affects Aladdin’s business

A+line+of+students+at+Panda+Express%2C+one+of+the+several+new+dining+options+in+the+PUB.+It+is+located+on+the+first+floor+of+the+PUB.
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PUB opening affects Aladdin’s business

A line of students at Panda Express, one of the several new dining options in the PUB. It is located on the first floor of the PUB.

A line of students at Panda Express, one of the several new dining options in the PUB. It is located on the first floor of the PUB.

Mckenzie Ford

A line of students at Panda Express, one of the several new dining options in the PUB. It is located on the first floor of the PUB.

Mckenzie Ford

Mckenzie Ford

A line of students at Panda Express, one of the several new dining options in the PUB. It is located on the first floor of the PUB.

By Kaisa Siipola, Reporter

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Aladdin’s Egyptian Food has been in Tawanka since fall 2016, and the reopening of the PUB has led to a decrease in business according to Alaa-Eldin (Aladdin) Aamer, the restaurant’s owner.

It’s not fair, it’s really not fair. We (have) been serving the college since then 1984 and we (are) supposed to be one of them.”

— Alaa-Eldin Aamer

Aamer has received letters of recommendation from students and faculty commending his service and quality of food. A petition created in 2016 by students with assistance from the Black Student Union acquired over 1,100 signatures, asking the university to allow Aladdin’s to remain on campus.

Aamer said he feels that they’re being pushed away from the PUB and acknowledges that students often choose dining options that are located in the same place.

“It’s not fair, it’s really not fair. We (have) been serving the college since then 1984 and we (are) supposed to be one of them,” Aamer said. “Of course this area is nice and good, but the students always run for the area where they can get everything in one, one time, because they don’t have time to go from places to other places.”

The dining options included in the PUB are Panda Express, Freshens, Union Market, Eagle Store Cafe and Global Cuisine.

“All the business food go to the PUB area, and of course the students go there because everything is there and nobody expects that we are still here, especially the new students,” said Aamer.

Currently, Aladdin’s contract will be renewed in Tawanka for one more year and they don’t know what will happen after that, according to Aamer.

Aladdin’s Egyptian Food has been on  campus since 1984 and was in the PUB for 35 years, until three years ago. Aladdin’s has not been offered a space in the newly remodeled PUB.

“Everybody knows that (we were) in the PUB,” Aamer said. “Students made a petition and didn’t want (Aladdin’s) to move as a small private business–they didn’t want (us) to go and wanted to keep (us) in the PUB.”

A couple of students stopped by Aladdin’s and commended the business for its service and quality of food. EWU junior Mary Bass likes that the food is prepared in front of her.

“It’s made by a person you can see and that she is sharing something that she knows,” Bass said. “I like that it’s meat and vegetables and less preservatives.”

EWU senior Vera Parks recommends to students that Aladdin’s is worth the wait because the food is good.

Business is becoming scarce for Aladdin’s Egyptian Food, according to Aamer.

“We would like to go where we (are) supposed to be, a lot of people think that we are closed,” Aamer said. “We are strong and trying so hard and this month is going to be hard.”

Aamer said he would like to continue to serve the students.

“Everybody loves the food and everybody says this is good food, this is the best food, why are you losing this,” Aamer said.

Aladdin said he hopes to be offered a spot in the PUB.

“I would just like the college (to) listen, I would like the college to have a big heart to put us back where we (are) supposed to be, in the PUB,” Aamer said.

Dining Services is still utilizing the Tawanka facility during the week and Tawanka Main Street Dining will be open for Sunday brunch.  

We wanted to keep some things here because there’s so many classes for students in Hargreaves and Monroe and Kingston, that during their breaks they really don’t have time to get to the PUB and get back.”

— Dave McKay, University Dining and Catering Services director

“It was the plan to reduce the services in Tawanka,” University Dining and Catering Services Director Dave McKay said.

Dining Services is also using its kitchen and dining room as a venue, and for preparation and catering purposes.

“It’s our on-campus bakery, we do all of our grab-and-go production, bakery production and catering out of the kitchen,” McKay said. “The dining room is utilized as a special event venue  and some days during the week as catering facility.”

Dining Services intends to evaluate the dining room over the next year in terms of what the campus needs for space and how it will be utilized, according to McKay.

The dining options that are offered in Tawanka are Einstein Bros. Bagels, Tawanka Espresso and Aladdin’s Egyptian Food. The Roost is located in the URC and Thomas Hammer is located in the JFK Library.

“We have more than enough options,” McKay said. “We wanted to keep some things here because there’s so many classes for students in Hargreaves and Monroe and Kingston, that during their breaks they really don’t have time to get to the PUB and get back.”

McKay added that he wants to keep in mind the students in different corners of campus, even though he said the PUB is luxurious and has great food options.

Dining Services will be implementing winter meal credit events this quarter, such as Soupalooza and Treats for you Sweets Workshop.  

“All of our meal plans have what we call special events counts,” McKay said. “We are committed to doing 10 to 15 special events Sunday brunch being one of those events.”

If anyone has any questions or concerns feel free to contact the Tawanka Business Office at 509-359-6224 or visit ewu.edu/dining.

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PUB opening affects Aladdin’s business