The chew on dining halls
Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2012 14:08
McMahon Dining Hall was under construction for part of the spring semester and the entire summer. Saturday will mark the day it finally opens. The dining area will boast a plethora of international eating options, a different style of seating and stations that allow students to physically view the food being produced.
“When we designed McMahon, we brought more into our dining area,” said Dennis Pierce, the director of Dining Services. “There will be no more serving line, and instead there will be stations available for students. The menu also has international themes, with both stone ovens and tandoori ovens, which are of very high heat.”
Students are excited for the new eatery to open.
“I can’t wait to try out all of the new international choices available for students, especially the sushi,” said 6th-semester psychology major Taylor Fitzpatrick.
Besides McMahon, students have the option of eating at any of the other eight dining halls on campus.
South Marketplace, located in Rome Commons, is the largest dining hall on campus. Like McMahon, it also has many international options, which are rotated in a schedule.
“South was always the dining hall that had the greatest volume of people,” said Pierce. “However, this may change once the newly renovated McMahon opens.”
Buckley dining hall is the primary eating location for students in either Buckley or Shippee dorms. Many students enjoy the plentiful food options.
This year, Buckley Dining Hall is attempting to serve more locally grown products and complete a green certification, Pierce said. “We are working on every aspect of Buckley Hall to make it more sustainable,” he said.
Whitney Dining Hall, located in East Campus, offers many vegetarian and vegan options. Additionally, many local and sustainable farms in nearby towns sell their produce and food back to Whitney, as it is part of the Local Routes program.
“Whitney has phenomenal vegetarian options and everything is always so fresh,” said 4th- semester business major Tyler Delano. “Also, the staff in Whitney is always so friendly. I always feel welcome.”
The other side of campus also boasts many eating options. Said Pierce of North Dining Hall located in North Campus. “This dining hall has a lot of diverse items that we call ‘monotony breakers.’ These are themed meals that we have during the semester.”
Northwest Dining Hall, boasts many items that are made-to-order and has an extensive salad bar. It also has a grab-and-go service, where one flex pass swipe gets a student a sandwich, drink, piece of fruit and choice between a cookie and brownie.
Putman Dining Hall, located in the Hilltop Residence area, is known for its quesadilla and sandwich bar, which are open for lunch and dinner every day. It also boasts a grab-and-go service like Northwest.
“We renovated Putman dining hall this year as well,” said Pierce. “We have added a new grab-and-go service in place of the convenience store that used to be next to the dining hall.”
Gelfenbien Dining Unit offers many eating choices for students living in the Towers or Husky Village areas of campus. Some students even choose to make the commute up to Gelfenbien for some of their weekly themed nights such as pasta bar night, quesadilla bar, and salad topper Thursdays.
Northwest and McMahon dining halls have extended hours for students with late night cravings. Both are open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday evenings.
Though UConn Dining Services offer three different meal plans for students living on campus, they all share one commonality: students can swipe into any dining hall as many times as they would like during operational hours. This means that is not only possible, it is quite easy, for students to try out the personalities of all these dining halls throughout the year.
“We are very anxious to have students arrive back on campus,” said Pierce. “Summer is great, but it is nice to have students here again to enjoy all that the dining halls offer.”