Students were enthusiastic about UNC Pembroke’s WOW Café that officially opened on April 7 in UNC Pembroke’s James B. Chavis University Center.
The café is located in the heart of the student universe, just off the University Center Mall in Bert’s place. Dedicated originally in 1987, Bert’s is named for the late Berteen Oxendine Prine, executive assistant to five UNCP chancellors. She was known for her school spirit, and students were feeling it.
“There is more school spirit here now; it looks like we own it,” said Elyssia Lewis, who was ordering wraps for lunch with fellow student Emani Duncan.
Lindsay Hankins was sharing a wrap with his girlfriend Bryanna Booker. “The food is good; atmosphere makes everything taste better,” he said.
The school seals etched into the Plexiglas privacy screens between booths was just the beginning of the changes at the WOW (World of Wings) Café, said Chip Mecca, Sodexo Food Service’s general manager.
There is new furniture, lighting, hardwood floors, granite bar, nine big screen TVs and booth, bistro and table seating. The new rendition of WOW opens to the bowling lanes to allow students to order and eat there.
“It has the sports bar look and feel,” Mecca said. “We’ll be watching the NCAA basketball championship game tonight. We’ve turned it into something more pleasing for the customer experience.”
Lindsay Hankins, right, and Bryanna Booker, left, enjoying the fare at the new WOW Café with an unidentified friend.
Along with chicken wings and tenders, the new menu includes a variety of wraps, a line of burgers and ribs. Although no alcohol is served, the bar offers smoothies, milkshakes and other popular options.
University administrators, including Dr. Richard Cosentino, vice chancellor for Finance and Administration, were pleased with the result.
“A lot of planning went into this project,” Dr. Cosentino said. “We want to provide a better dining experience, healthy eating choices and more things to do on campus.”
Dr. John R. Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, said the WOW Café is the beginning of more good things to come for the student experience at UNCP.
“This is another exceptional day for the Braves Nation,” Dr. Jones said. “We are committed to providing a robust student experience.”
With the dedication of the expanded Office of Campus Recreation in late February, changes are coming fast in student life. But Dr. Cosentino took a moment to remember the past and Berteen Prine.
“This space was named after a woman who dedicated a very long career of almost 50 years to this university,” he said. “I think Ms. Berteen would be proud of what we’ve done here.”
In Prine’s honor, a new plaque has been ordered and will be installed just outside the restaurant. Bert’s is one of three locations to eat in the University Center along with the Cafeteria and Simply to Go, a salad and sandwich convenience spot in the Mall.