Taco Bell Returns To DAC Eatery In Late-Afternoon Launch

After closing for nearly three years, the popular dining location is back.

Torch Photo / Olivia Seaman

St. John’s University Dining Services reopened Taco Bell on the first floor of the D’Angelo Center on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at around 4 p.m. The re-opening comes after the restaurant was temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and permanently closed as of Spring 2021. 

After the restaurant was added to the Dine on Campus website as an on-campus dining location, an Instagram post shared by St. John’s Now revealed it would open the week of Jan. 23. Minutes before 4 p.m. on Jan. 25, St. John’s Dining posted a photo of the Taco Bell logo with the text, “Now Open 1st Floor DAC” with the caption “open now.” 

The account also tagged Chartwells Higher Ed in the caption, the company that provides dining services for the University. 

Taco Bell opened to a soft-launch during off-peak dining hours, as only certain students have Wednesday classes. Additionally, demand is typically lower for dining locations in the academic buildings later in the day 

The restaurant rests without permanent signage, and the fountain soda areas have been refurbished to carry trash bins and other utensils. Large, rollable screens are placed in the front of the restaurant reading the menu for students to order. 

Students with dining plans can use a meal exchange and get two crunchy taco supremes, two soft taco supremes, a chicken quesadilla or a crunchwrap supreme as a main entree. It is paired with a bean burrito, crunchy taco, soft taco or chips and nacho cheese sauce as a side; complete with a bottle of water or a 16-ounce fountain beverage. 

Meal exchanges can only be used from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., which represents the lunch dining period. Though Taco Bell is open for two hours during the dinner period, meal exchanges are unavailable during that time. Students with dining plans can still use a premium swipe for the same purchasing power as a meal exchange during the dinner period.

In Taco Bell’s first hour of business, dozens of students lined up to order food. Juniors Kiranjyot Kaur and Emily Hernandez were among the first students to order Taco Bell. 

“I remember when Taco Bell closed during my freshman year, and we were really looking forward to it, Kaur said. “We were bummed that it closed and we never got the chance to order from here.

“There used to be so many food options in DAC, but I’m excited to finally get food from here,” Hernandez said. 

As commuters with no meal plans, Kaur and Hernandez wish there were more places to get food other than Marillac Cafeteria. “For the past three years on campus, I’ve been getting the same things,” Hernandez said. “I hope this is the start of more dining options on campus.” 

The restaurant will be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the D’Angelo Center.