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Several years ago, the student body asked the University for an all-night campus diner offering affordable fare and a comfortable atmosphere. The administration responded with Eat at Joe's, and students soon learned to close their wallets to the ill-conceived and poorly executed exercise in corporatized kitsch. Now, however, it appears that Penn officials have learned from that mistake. And we -- and our stomachs -- hope to be very pleased by the end result. The new El Diner restaurant is scheduled to open in the teal-and-chrome vacancy at 3925 Walnut Street in mid-January. It promises to stay open 24 hours a day, offer a menu of inexpensive items and bring about the ultimate demise of Eat at Joe's faux '50s interior. Should it open on time -- hardly a given in light of the University's recent track record with retail -- and deliver on these counts, we will be very pleased. Indeed, if the reality lives up to the hype, El Diner will represent a clear case of the administration eventually listening to the concerns of the student body. As we again embark on a period of term paper deadlines and pre-exam cram sessions, the need for a place to get a cup of coffee at four in the morning will become all the more obvious to the student body. Here's to hoping for cheap, all-hours dining on campus at this time next semester.

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