-Abbie Walker, Editor
After much talk of renovations over the past year, the new 1826 restaurant, previously known as Hampstead’s, is finally open for business.
The ribbon cutting took place on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at noon. President Lee Royce said a few words about the opening, and students were welcomed to the new restaurant with free cookies and beverages.
The details of the Hampstead’s remodel came from a collaborative effort by MC’s Student Government Association and the office of campus dining.
“SGA’s goal for 1826 was to revitalize an on-campus restaurant into an enjoyable place to eat and hang out,” said Hunter Sandoval, the SGA’s Campus Activities Board chairperson. “Hampstead’s had run its course, and many students were asking for changes.”
The most noticeable changes have been to the restaurant’s décor. The previous appearance which showcased MC sports jerseys and blue and gold on the walls has been replaced with a more modern design that includes fun, colorful seating and stylish lighting.
One of the biggest differences has been the closing off of the kitchen—an improvement that has helped to reduce extra noise and give the space more of a comforting atmosphere.
“SGA decided to revamp the décor to reflect a more modern/progressing restaurant in hopes of drawing more students down to the Piazza as an exciting place to hang out,” said Sandoval.
And the décor is not the only upgrade. Several changes have also been made to the food. The burgers and chicken sandwiches students remember are now available as sliders, allowing customers to have more control over the portion sizes they receive.
“The menu of 1826 resembles that of Hampstead’s, but has some new additions that students desired to have,” said Sandoval. “1826 will also feature service like Pimento’s where the staff will bring the food out to the tables.”
The thing that seems to have students the most excited is the addition of the new drink machine, which offers over 100 different, customizable beverage options through a touchscreen.
With these changes, 1826 provides more of what students are looking for from their campus dining. The service has been upgraded for a more professional experience, while the space still offers a casual hang-out feel.
“Our greatest desire as an SGA is to serve the students, and that is what we have attempted to do with the creation of 1826,” said Sandoval. “We truly believe that students will have an enjoyable dining experience that will continue to draw them back to 1826.”
To final touch to the restaurant’s renovation process was the name change. The idea of naming it after one of the university’s benefactors was suggested, but the committee decided to save those names for bigger projects in MC’s future.
“When we were considering different names we knew that we wanted to use something that supported the history and tradition of Mississippi College,” said Sandoval. “1826, the year Mississippi College was founded, was suggested and an overwhelming agreement fell across the room. Our founding year should become the name of the newly rejuvenated campus restaurant.”
Though the name plays upon MC’s past, 1826 is all about providing a fresh campus dining experience. Many students have already expressed that they enjoy the changes.
“The people here are really great,” said Olivia Mabry, a sophomore. “The place is really welcoming, and I like that they bring the food out to you now. It’s cheap and good food.”
“Everybody’s having to get used to the changes, but I think it will work out well,” said Mashauna Wells, a cashier at 1826.
Thomas Summers, a junior, said, “I really like the atmosphere. It’s more open, and it’s a better place for students to study and have time to hang out and think between classes. I also like the way they have portioned the meals.”
Students can now also expect longer hours from 1826, staying open until 11p.m. Sunday-Thursday.
While it may take people a while to get used to the improvements, the new space and food may be enough to make students forget about their previous conceptions of the restaurant they knew before. The name may be 1826, but it’s Hampstead’s that is a thing of the past.