What's new in dining? New renovations and offerings to be rolled out
Two of the most popular dining locations on campus, The Schatz Dining Room and The Exchange, closed their doors for renovations earlier this year. Schatz will reopen its doors next week on Sept. 18, according to Dining Services. The Exchange will reopen on Nov. 4.
Renovations for Schatz and The Exchange are just two of the Dining Services capital projects that align with their strategic plan, according to Pascal Petter, director of Dining Services.
“We continuously look for ways to improve the dining program for our campus community,” Petter said. “That’s a major goal we have each year. This year, we focused on renovating two popular on-campus dining locations.”
The Schatz Dining Room will now feature a more fast-casual concept with “elevated service, flexible seating, and an open-kitchen concept,” Petter said.
The new Schatz will feature a built-in teaching kitchen, an area of the dining room that can be transformed into a space for hands-on culinary classes. This space will be used for monthly classes open to all students, faculty, and staff. While class offerings have not yet been solidified, the schedule will be posted on the dining website in October.
Schatz will continue to provide all-you-care-to-eat breakfast and dinner on weekdays, as well as brunch on weekends, and serve as a faculty and staff and graduate student dining room Monday through Friday. The menu will still include hot entrees with sides, a made-to-order salad bar, soup, sandwiches, and desserts.
Jessica Tones, a registered dietitian, nutrition educator, and marketing coordinator for Dining Services, added that Schatz will center around a seasonal “cycle” menu with an emphasis on local and sustainable sourcing.
“The same dish may be shown every third week,” Tones said. “It helps fit the needs of our students, but it also helps our vendors make what they are best at making. They can be innovative but still keep the favorite dishes that are close to many people’s hearts.”
The Exchange will also reopen after summer-long renovations. The space will see an “entirely new look,” according to Petter.
“Queuing has been dramatically improved,” Petter added. “There’s now an open-kitchen environment so the community can see how their food is prepared. There’s a much better experience overall.”
The dining location will feature a dedicated coffee bar and grab-and-go items, along with a sandwich station, salad bar, and hot food.
To accommodate for the two major renovation projects, Dining Services opened two additional temporary dining locations with options similar to Schatz and The Exchange.
Of those two, the Tartan Pavilion is a modified all-you-care-to-eat location near Resnik House, open until Sept. 15. The Exchange has been operating in a pop-up café outside of the Purnell Center for the Arts, open until October when weather permits.
“The Exchange has a great relationship with our community, and their pop-up has been popular,” Petter said. “The staff recognizes students, and students recognize the staff.”
Dining Services reopened the Tartan Express, a food truck near Legacy Plaza, this past week. The menu includes fresh Mediterranean and Vaad-certified Kosher food, open on weekdays.
“What’s unique is that it’s Orthodox Kosher,” Petter said. “It’s also a Mediterranean cuisine that we don’t have widespread across campus. There’s already long lines for it.”
Tones and Petter both acknowledged the increasing nationwide importance to accommodate dietary needs, whether students are Kosher or have allergies.
Two years ago, they opened Nourish, an allergen-friendly kitchen and a “hidden gem,” as Tones described. They are hoping to expand allergen-friendly dining further this year.
“We wanted one place that we knew we could totally control the process from where the food is received, how it’s stored, how it’s transported, and how it’s prepared,” Tones said, referring to Nourish. “We take a lot of time in vetting every ingredient that can come into the space.”
This year, Chartwells Higher Education, the school’s primary dining vendor, made the switch to using 100 percent compostable packaging in Carved + Crafted Catering, as well as dining locations including the Cohon Center Marketplace, Resnik Servery, Schatz Dining Room, Maggie Murph Café, and Rothberg’s Roasters II.
The initiative will officially launch at Carved + Crafted later this month. “The community can feel good that the choices they make for themselves and their events are sustainable,” Petter said.
To showcase the new changes and offerings in campus dining, Dining Services will be hosting their annual free event, Taste of the Tartans, on Sept. 24. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Rangos Ballroom.
For more information on dining locations, menus, grand openings, and other events, visiting the Dining Services website at www.cmu.edu/dining.