Graphic by Rachel Yoon / North By Northwestern

Norris University Center: the heart of Northwestern. While it serves many purposes, its main attraction is being the perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat. With a stack of new meal exchanges every week, hungry students pack into Norris daily to explore their options.

I’ll admit, Northwestern has made some pretty huge steps in improving Norris. A beautiful new modern Starbucks with fancy wooden accents replaces the old Dunkin’ Donuts, giving the dining area a much more luxurious feel. The brand new Shake Smart upstairs allows every student  to easily get the healthy meals, acai bowls and protein refreshments they’re looking for between classes. But what if we could make our beloved Norris even better? In this article, I’ll make a few adjustments to create the Norris layout of our dreams.

Replace Chicken and Boba with Panda Express

Now the food itself at Chicken and Boba is pretty amazing. Asian street food will always hit the spot. But the problem is that you can’t use a meal exchange here like the rest of the food court. This is because the food here is more expensive to make than other Norris restaurants, but it still keeps students uninterested.  Why not replace it with everyone’s favorite Asian fast food place instead? We could all use some orange chicken and noodles after a lecture.

Add a Popeyes next to 847 Burger

There is a serious fried chicken shortage at Norris. Burgers are awesome, but ordering the same meal over and over again quickly gets old. The chicken sandwich at 847 leaves much to be desired, lacking that signature volume of chicken and crispness that makes Popeyes so great. Adding a mini-Popeyes next to 847 provides us students with the chicken-shrimp combos and delicious sandwiches we all deserve.

Replace Buen Dia with Chipotle

Although the tacos here are alright, why not just swap out the imitation with the real thing? The quality and variety of meat options at Chipotle for the price point can’t be beat, from your standard chicken and steak to authentic Mexican styles like carnitas and barbacoa. Doing this would probably make it become the most popular restaurant at Norris.

Bring back the egg chairs on the second floor

This last one might be a personal preference, but I miss the fancy egg chairs on the second floor. Although the new tables are nice, the old wallside booths feel cramped and kind of dirty. Replacing these booths with a row of four to five modern egg chairs would really raise the luxury factor upstairs. Now you can enjoy that acai bowl from Shake Smart in your own private spaceship pod.

In a perfect world, we could make all of these changes to Norris before the next school year. But unfortunately for Northwestern students, Evanston law prevents some of these fast food chains from ever being used for our cafeteria. Nevertheless, I’m very grateful for the improvements Northwestern has already made for us students, and a variation of my suggested changes using lesser-known restaurants would only take the campus dining experience to further heights.