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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Café Spice Brings a Taste of India to Webb Center Food Court

The sound of modern hip-hop beats with an Indian flavor filled the food court of Old Dominion University's Webb Center on Tuesday, Aug. 28, as Café Spice: A Taste of India opened its first on-campus location in Virginia.

The restaurant is a partnership between national restaurant chain Café Spice and Aramark. It's one of a handful of new eateries open or opening in Webb Center for the fall semester, including a double-line Subway and Panda Express. Pizza chain Papa John's is also offering free delivery on the ODU campus for the first time.

The kickoff for Café Spice was the attention grabber on Tuesday. The bass pulsed from the DJ booth, manned by student volunteers from ODU's Indian Student Association (ISA).

The celebration also featured samples of Indian food and beverages, henna tattooing and traditional dance performed by ISA members.

Monarch Dining organized the gathering in conjunction with the ISA and ODU's Office of Intercultural Relations.

Ronya Edwards, marketing manager with Monarch Dining, said opening a restaurant like Café Spice sends an important message to the campus about openness to different cultures and experiences.

"It's not all just about the food, which is fabulous," Edwards said. "It's also about giving our students exposure to an entire culture. We have an incredibly diverse campus, with faculty, staff and students from all over the world. Celebrating those cultures can help bring all of us together."

Dejah Singh, 18, a freshman mechanical and modeling and simulation engineering major from Chesapeake, whose father is from India, waited in the busy line to choose from items like samosas, chicken tikka masala and saag paneer.

"I saw during orientation that they were going to be opening up and I thought that was really exciting," Singh said. "I was going to miss my Nana's cooking. I'm especially happy they have samosas. That's what her specialty is."

Café Spice, which features authentic Indian cuisine, uses all natural ingredients, fresh produce, free-range meats and whole spices.

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