The food court at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center reopened for business today, bringing several local food vendors to the campus and the surrounding Memphis Medical District. Coletta’s and Power Life Smoothies & Eats are now serving customers. Southern Hands will open Tuesday and Soi No. 9 is expected to open the first week of April.
The UTHSC food court is located in the lobby of the 920 Madison Building. It will be the first brick and mortar locations for Soi No. 9, which serves Thai Food, and Power Life Smoothies & Eats, which serves smoothies and paninis. Both currently operate food trucks.
UTHSC will also be home to the third location for Coletta’s, which will serve Italian fare, including pasta and pizza, whole or by the slice; and the fourth location for Southern Hands, which will serve Southern, comfort food or “a meat and three.” In addition, each vendor will have a healthy dining option on the menu, including either a vegetarian or vegan dish.
With UTHSC’s launch of its Diversity Business Enterprise Initiative last fall, it was important for the campus to work with small businesses as vendors for the food court. The initiative assists and encourages small businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, and those with disabilities to pursue business opportunities with UTHSC. Four out of the six vendors who will operate in the UTHSC food court are locally owned businesses.
Soi No. 9 owner Tim Vimonnimit grew up in Thailand and is grateful for the opportunity to make his dream of serving customers in the same location daily a reality. “We are really excited,” said Vimonnimit. “We told everybody on our Facebook and Instagram, ‘Hey we are opening at UTHSC, it’s open to the public you can come during lunch. There’s a dining hall, you can sit down, watch TV, relax for 30 minutes before going back to work.’ ”
Intention was placed on creating an inviting environment where the campus and surrounding medical district community could dine and relax, and gather among their peers for group discussion, projects, or to study. Several of the furniture pieces are equipped with electrical outlets to allow diners the convenience of charging their mobile devices.
Power Life Smoothies & Eats serves breakfast starting at 7 a.m. Lunch hours for the food court begin at 10 a.m.
Starbucks and Chick-fil-A are slated to open late spring 2019.
UTHSC Facilities, Upchurch Services, and Royal Kingdom Builders, collaborated on the construction of the project.