Dion’s Pizza announced on Tuesday that a location of the venerated local pizza chain will open in the University of New Mexico’s Student Union Building, with the grand opening expected to happen at the start of the fall semester.
Dion’s will take over the space formerly occupied by Pi, another pizza, pasta and salad outlet that was operated by the University’s food service contractor Chartwells. Pi took the space over after WisePies, another local pizza chain, left the SUB.
Dion’s joins a fast food lineup in the heart of main campus that already has local franchises like Blake’s Lotaburger, Satellite Coffee and Twister’s and the national chains Subway, Chick-Fil-A and Mandalay Express.
CEO Mark Herman, a UNM alum, said the company was “excited” to serve the UNM community.
“We’re thrilled to fuel students, faculty and staff who grew up with Dion’s as well as introduce newcomers to our pizza and famous ranch dressing,” Herman said in a press release. “Much like our stand for Isotopes games and (New Mexico) United matches, this location is a unique way to bring Dion’s into a special environment.”
The menu will include pizzas, slices, chef and Greek salads, desserts and drinks. Meetings, events and conferences on campus will also have access to Dion’s full menu for catered events.
Naturally, Dion’s much-touted ranch and green chile ranch will also be available at the new location.
UNM Food operations manager Amanda Gerard said the arrival had been a long time coming, with students, staff and faculty advocating for an on-campus Dion’s for years.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring a community favorite to campus,” Gerard said. “It’s an exciting opportunity for UNM Food and Dion’s to partner in delivering more great food options to the UNM community.”
While many students and alumni reacted positively about the addition to campus dining options, some bemoaned the decision to bring on Dion’s as too little, too late after years of advocating for the chain’s presence.
“I’ve been asking for this since 2015 and all we got was WisePies and shitty SUB pizza,” Twitter user @pargyres mused.
A number of students have also expressed reservations that the community will be able to access the currently-shuttered SUB — or whether campus will be open at all — in the fall after UNM announced in June that most fall classes will be either in a hybrid or completely online setting.
“Bro, the students aren’t even coming to campus,” Twitter user @Munoz_j76 posited.
Others agreed, though the current status of whether or not campus will be able to safely reopen in the fall remains very much in flux.
“Too bad everyone will be online and paying full tuition,” Twitter user @iowntheskyy lamented, with a morose emoji postscript that encapsulated the frustration many feel with the pandemic upending lives, plans and the grim realities post-secondary students will imminently face.
Andrew Gunn contributed to this article.
Spencer Butler is a senior reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SpencerButler48