By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, and Freshii have all proved to be student favorites as dining options in the Bill Daniel Student Center (SUB), but the SUB is bringing in some exciting new additions.
Common Grounds, Heritage Creamery and Slow Rise Slice House, all popular local spots for the Waco community, will be joining the SUB this fall, along with a location of Steak n’ Shake.
Common Grounds, a quaint coffee shop located right off of the Baylor campus on 8th street, has grown into a must-see for Waco tourists, and is a spot that unites the Baylor community. A new location was recently added in Woodway as well.
Heritage Creamery and Slow Rise have the same owners as the Common Grounds locations, and are located near the coffee shops.
Blake Batson, a 2008 Baylor grad and owner of these three local businesses, hopes that the new additions will inspire growth and support of Waco.
“All of the stuff that people are doing in Waco creates synergy,” Batson said. “It makes anyone — student or faculty — want to engage with their city and community.”
The new additions will be located on the first floor of the SUB, replacing Einstein Bros. Bagels and Mooyah. Common Grounds plans to stay open until 11 p.m., and will offer its full menu, including its well-known “Cowboy Coffee” drink.
“Common Grounds serves responsibly sourced and carefully roasted coffees from all over the world,” the company’s website says. “Common Grounds is home and our staff is family.”
In addition to serving Waco, Batson continues to do his best to serve his alma mater by including Baylor in his vision.
“Partnering with Baylor will continue to encourage students to think outside of the bubble,” Batson says. “We want to create an atmosphere that will continue to lend itself towards this experience.”
Batson dreams big when thinking of future spots for the Waco community, envisioning spots like a barber shop, climbing gym, and possibly even an arcade bar similar to ones in Dallas or Austin.
“They’re kind of entertainment meets hospitality meets social gathering ventures,” Batson said. “That’s the world I tend to find myself in in Waco.”
Matt Burchett, director of student activities at Baylor, also sees the addition of these new local spots as a way to connect Baylor to the Waco community.
“Baylor will do our part to make sure students have a comfortable space to sit down that matches the vibe of what Common Grounds is trying to create,” Burchett said.
The SUB is a place for students to gather and interact, and furthering the sense of community is an important goal for these new spots.
“If there’s any company that optimizes being invested in our local community, it’s the Common Grounds franchise,” Burchett said. “It’s important for us as a department to continue to invest in our local community and local economy.”
For other exciting additions in the SUB, students can look out for a new dance studio, student involvement center, and even the original Carroll Field football sign – a recently renovated historical piece from Carroll Field, the first stadium on campus where the Bears played football from 1906 to the 1930’s.
Both the SUB and Common Grounds ultimately seek to foster a strong sense of unity and to create special spots for Baylor and Waco alike.
“One of the reasons we originally pursued Common Grounds was because of its place in our community,” Burchett said. “Baylor students and alumni have a great affinity for what Common Grounds has meant to them.”