Restaurant remodeling to cater to U students’ tastes

The restaurant formerly known as Mangia will reopen in two to three months.

Derrick Biney

The owners of Mangia, Julie and Sam Hasan, want to remodel their restaurant to make it into what they originally envisioned for their business.

Julie Hasan and her husband, Sam, have owned and operated a few businesses on campus. The couple owned Taste of Manhattan, which they later developed into The Manhattan Loft. Also, they own the restaurant formerly known as Mangia.

The Hasans, along with business partners, opened Mangia in spring 2001 and closed the doors in September 2005 to renovate the store to gain better business.

Julie Hasan said that when they started listening to the advice of some of their customers to change from a counter-service restaurant to a table-service style place, they went off course. She said they should have stuck with a casual feel for lunch and dinner, which the couple hopes the renovations will create.

Renovations to the building include adding more square footage to the restaurant, converting the store into a full bar and modifying the menu to give it more of a casual appeal, Julie Hasan said. Customers can expect the same quality of food with a modified menu that has fewer choices, she said.

Julie Hasan said some students perceived the restaurant as being too nice, meaning it appeared to be upscale. This made students think it was out of their league.

Fourth-year psychology student Amanda Muenzenmeyer, a former employee and loyal customer of Mangia said the decor of the restaurant definitely made students shy to come in.

“The atmosphere was really stylish when you walked in,” she said. “It could be intimidating to students.”

Muenzenmeyer was a part-time waiter at Mangia, and when she was not waiting tables, she enjoyed eating the food.

Julie Hasan said faculty and staff members were more attracted to her restaurant, which she attributes to being near University buildings, such as Folwell Hall and Klaeber Court.

John Hadden, a University alumnus, used to reside at 1601 University Ave., which is one block away from the restaurant. He said it was not intimidating to him, just more personal. He liked that he was able to grab food when he was on his way to and from classes.

He said it was a low-key place that offered a good alternative to greasy food other restaurants served. Italian salad was his favorite dish, he said.

Julie Hasan said Mangia did well selling around the lunch hours, and the good catering is what kept the restaurant afloat. However, when people left to go home from campus or work, business was slow.

Julie Hasan’s former Mangia business partners, Bill and Tony Nicklow, are doing the renovations on the store formerly know as Mangia.

The two are brothers from Greece and have been in the restaurant business for the past 20 years. With the brothers’ expertise, Julie Hasan trusts they will be able to give the restaurant a new appealing look, she said.

Julie Hasan said she is uncertain what they will call the renovated restaurant. She said it’s going to be something simpler to say than Mangia.

She said they will make the renovated restaurant more appealing to the University “which includes faculty, staff and students.

Muenzenmeyer said (Julie and Sam) are really college conscientious.

Hasan said people can expect to see the renovated restaurant open in two to three months.