Students, faculty, and staff returning to Virginia Tech this August will be amazed at the exciting transformation of Owens Food Court. The restaurant proudly features a contemporary new look, including updates for several specialty shops and an electrifying new decor.

The dining room is undergoing a drastic makeover, with new carpet, furniture and walls decorated with brilliant blue, electric green and bright-colored tropical artwork. The paint on the walls is dry, and Owens is ready for business, but customers will see continued change throughout the fall semester.

While the colors are the most noticeable change, Student Programs spent the most time perfecting an all-new menu for La Cantina at the request of its student customers. The restaurant, which serves an assortment of Mexican- and Southwest-inspired recipes, now features a premium menu and festive facade.

Managers and chefs worked together to develop the taste of La Cantina, spending eight weeks researching modern industry trends and testing recipes. The result is a diverse menu featuring premium ingredients and a flexible à la carte-style presentation.

Customers can choose from smoked meats, sautéed vegetables, cilantro-lime rice, and four types of gourmet salsa. The shop features vegetarian options like quesadillas, salads, and choice of beans, along with four types of meat, including seasoned pork and barbacoa.

In addition to the changes at La Cantina, the Sweet Temptations dessert counter will undergo a total renovation, including menu updates like rotating seasonal items. A new beverage station will feature hot tea, juice, espresso and grab-and-go drinks, and gourmet coffee. Renovations will continue during the fall semester and will be completed by spring. All of the changes are part of an unending effort to give students, faculty, and staff at Virginia Tech the best dining experience available on a college campus.

“We hope it will be a more enjoyable, welcoming place for students,” said Darlene Conrad, unit manager for Owens Food Court. “We want them to feel like they’re in an upscale restaurant rather than a traditional campus dining center.”

Patrons of on-campus dining centers at Virginia Tech have long enjoyed the variety offered at Owens Food Court. Staff members serve approximately 30,000 meals each week at the restaurant’s 12 specialty shops, featuring items like Philly cheese steak, pasta marinara, Asian stir-fry, and deli sandwiches. Visit the Student Programs website to find operation hours for Owens Food Court and other Student Programs dining centers.

Named after Mess Steward J.J. “Pops” Owens, Owens Dining Hall opened its doors in 1940. It originally opened with four individual all-you-care-to-eat rooms. In October 1991, Owens transformed into a more modern facility with the opening of Owens Food Court. Today Owens Hall also houses Hokie Grill & Co. and Personal Touch Catering.