Students at Northwest Arkansas Community College will have new dining options when they head back to class this fall. From a brand new food court, to a New Orleans-style café, the additions were created with students in mind.
Nola’s Café isn’t just a new option for customers; the restaurant also serves as a learning experience for those behind the counter.
“Most of the people who are working for me here have not worked in the restaurant industry before. It’s a new experience. So summer gives us a good opportunity and I think we’ll put up what we’re doing against anybody else in town," says NWACC Executive Chef in Residence Lou Rice.
Nola’s is managed by Chef Rice and the rest is run by students in the culinary department. Some are even in high school. However, you won’t find the typical lunch items here. There is a New Orleans flare and Chef Rice admits it has caused a few students to raise their eyebrows. For example, try their mushroom bread pudding with beef brisket.
"It made them kind of roll their eyes until they see what we did and they saw what it was like and tasted it. So a lot of what we’re doing is so brand new and different every day. You’re not going to get this anywhere else in Northwest Arkansas.
The cafe uses quality ingredients and everything is made from scratch.
"We wanted to come up with something that was different. Something that was fresh, but also fast. We’re used to the term, grab and go, ours is more like serve and go," he explains.
If you still want your fast food fix, the student center is getting a major renovation. Tuesday 5NEWS got a look at the construction of NWACC's first food court.
“In the avenue of trying to be accessible and affordable for students we wanted to be able to provide more additional food options and we’re excited that those will open in the fall semester," says NWACC Steven Hinds Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing.
Hinds says NWACC understands their students want something fast and fresh that also won’t break their budget.
"It will save them gas, it will save them time, and it’s much more convenient."
The food court should open by the first day of fall classes. Some of the new eateries include Silver Joe's Coffee Shop, Blazin' Burrito and Chick-Fil-A. Nola's is now open and serves the public, not just those at NWACC.