Phoenicia, the University of Toledo’s on campus Mediterranean restaurant, opened the doors of its new location on the fourth floor of the Student Union Aug. 28, after two months of renovations.
Replacing what once was Rocky’s Attic, Phoenicia has an expanded the seating area, complete with a stage for entertainment and a newly refurbished kitchen.
"Things are very positive,” said Ed Barakat, co-owner of Phoenicia. “We are happy we were able to transition from downstairs to up here.”
The transition began in early July when the details of the project were being planned, said Barakat. Construction continued until the last minute, giving Barakat and his staff only three days to move everything from their previous location on the third floor of the SU.
“Up until the last week we were still on hold to move our stuff up here,” said Barakat. “We pulled it together in three days with a lot of help. The Office of Executive Vice President for Finance, Auxiliary Services, the Interim Vice President of Student Affairs and Facilities and Construction all helped.”
The university provided most of the money used for this project, with around 80 percent of the new equipment bought by UT. Only minor equipment and the decorations were paid by Phoenicia, Barakat said.
Overall, the biggest problems presented were in the small kitchen that needed new plumbing, new electrical wiring and more space, Barakat said.
“We needed more room because the original space was around 400 square feet, which is nothing for this operation,” said Barakat. “But now the kitchen is finished, storage was provided by the university, and we are up and running.”
Right next to Phoenicia is a new lounge for students to sit, do work and relax. Barakat said it is owned by the university, but students can order take-out and utilize the space.
“We don’t dictate who comes and goes in that spot,” said Barakat. “We don’t have exact guidelines and we don’t have any details about that. We’re meeting with some of the officials as soon as possible to work out the details.”
On stage, the restaurant will entertain guests with live performances including UT Jazz and will also offer open mic nights and poetry nights, Barakat said.
“We are also open to suggestions from all UT organizations. They are more than welcome to approach us,” said Reem Barakat, assistant manager at Phoenicia and a UT graduate.
Prices and menu options have not changed, but Reem and Ed hinted at the addition of late night appetizers and said they will also offer beer and wine once their license is approved.
“We will have some new items coming up as the dust settles,” said Reem. “We will probably have quick stuff that students want to have in the evening.”
Phoenicia is also accepting Dining Dollars and Rocket Dollars to accommodate the students who live on campus, Barakat said.
Helen Sheckler, a third-year healthcare administration major, didn’t expect the new location to completely replace Rocky’s Attic, but said Phoenicia did a good job remodeling.
“I love UT events, so if they have poetry nights and open mic nights, I will definitely go to those,” Sheckler said.