Out with the old, in with the new: What’s going on at the Ferg?

Monica Nakashima, Staff Reporter

UA students will see updates at the Ferguson Center this fall. Starbucks is being renovated while Blenz Bowls and Cheese Louise are introducing new dine-in locations. 


The Starbucks located on the first floor of the Ferg is being renovated, and manager Kacie Smith said it’s the location’s biggest renovation yet. 

“We’ll have brand new espresso machines, nitro cold brew and mobile ordering,” Smith said. “It’ll still be one of the biggest Starbucks lobbies you’ll find on a college campus.” 

Smith said she hopes the additions to the store will help the Ferg Starbucks compete with the location on Paul Bryant Drive. 

“As of right now, there will not be another Starbucks on campus that will have all the equipment we have,” Smith said. “So we’re actually going to be a step ahead of Bryant this semester.” 

She said the convenience of mobile ordering will increase accessibility and reduce order time. 

Aiden Mathes, a senior majoring in communicative disorders who works at the Ferg Starbucks, said she’s excited but nervous about the grand opening.

“It should make the Starbucks busier, but it should help the lines better,” Mathes said. “I think a problem with the [Bryant] Starbucks right now is it’s cafe only…Bryant has the drive through though and we can’t really have one.”

Currently, a Starbucks pop-up kiosk that offers a limited menu is located on the second floor of the Ferg by the student help desk. Smith said the kiosk will be removed once the renovations downstairs are completed, which she anticipates happening before the fall semester. 

The chain has a back-up plan in case the renovation goes off-track. 

“This kiosk will be here up until that store is up and running,” Smith said. “So even if we don’t make it to that first day of school, this will still be here.” 

Smith said she hopes the renovation, as well as the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, will allow the Ferg Starbucks to host in-person events, like poetry nights.

Blenz Bowls

As the renovations at Starbucks continue, one local chain has introduced a location at the Ferg. 

Blenz Bowls was launched in 2018 by two UA alumni, Zac Rogers and Riley Voce. The food truck serves smoothies and acai bowls across campus. Almost three years after its debut, the company has its own location at the Ferg. 

Its new location is an addition to its food truck services. 

Emma Claire Cohen, a UA junior majoring in business who started working for Blenz Bowls in August 2020, said she believes the new location will be great for a large demographic of their customers: freshmen. 

“I think it’s so cool that we were able to [be established] in the Ferg, because freshmen love Blenz and mostly come to the Ferg to eat,” Cohen said. 

Cheese Louise 

Topio’s, a long-standing pizza parlor, fell from the Ferg’s restaurant lineup last year. It was located across from Chick-fil-A. 

After closing for most of the spring semester, the restaurant has been replaced by a Cheese Louise dining location. 

Cheese Louise is a food truck business that offers a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches. Aside from its signature classic, the menu features the Yellowhammer, the Godfather and a toasted peanut butter and jelly option.  

The Ferg location is not a replacement for its food truck services. Cheese Louise’s Ferg location is open Monday through Thursday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

Food truck schedules for Blenz Bowls and Cheese Louise can be found on the Bama Dining website