Texas State University’s Newfangled Noodles

Texas State University, in San Marcos, is the first college worldwide to own a particular noodle-making machine imported from Japan, according to the overseas manufacturer.

1. Revolution Noodle Pop Up Restaurant Week Photo 36WEB
Revolution Noodle at Texas State offers ramen bowls and ramen sandwiches. Photos Courtesy of Texas State University

A university in the Lone Star State is in a class of its own among colleges—and, now that it has students back on campus, it expects that its investment will pay off in just under a year.

Texas State University, in San Marcos, is the first college worldwide to own a particular noodle-making machine imported from Japan, according to the overseas manufacturer. The machine’s purchase, shipping, setup and in-person training carried a $46,000 price tag, according to Jonathan Sorenson, retail director of the renovated LBJ Student Center.

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Texas State’s noodle-making machine hails from Japan.

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Since the noodles are made in-house, the operation saves about $1.40 per serving.

At LBJ Center’s Revolution Noodle, where the machine resides, students and staff can order ramen sandwiches—with options of chicken, pork or tofu—or build ramen bowls. Since the noodles are made in-house, the operation saves about $1.40 per serving, Sorenson says.

The addition has been warmly received, according to Chin Hong Chua, resident district manager of Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, the contract foodservice provider for Texas State along with more than 300 additional U.S. campuses.

Another concept at LBJ Center is Burger 512, where diners can select from a pared-down menu and enjoy food theater thanks to a grill housed right behind the serving line.

A third concept, Global Evolution, features a rotisserie oven, vertical roasting spits, a carving station, and a hot and cold holding display. Its menu—featuring barbecue, Mediterranean, South Asian and Levantine cuisine—rotates and offers added flexibility.

Chua explains, “We can see what’s moving from week to week. If something isn’t working out, we can stick with Texas barbecue and adjust the other three weeks to something else.”

The center also offers contactless carryout. A 12-unit food locker with individual temperature controls fills a previously blank wall in the center’s marketplace. Diners order ahead through Grubhub, then receive a QR code via text to access the appropriate locker compartment.

“We needed to get the facility and the food concepts up to date and on trend,” Chua says. “A lot of thought went into creating the space and developing the concepts. It revolved around the ideas of flexibility, speed of service and visual appeal.”

Last fall marked the first full semester with students back on campus, and revenue for the renovated LBJ Center is up 42.8% since 2019 (the last year with students before the renovation).

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