BC Dining Services Director Patricia Bando joins food service workers Run Ling Huang (left) and Harvey Garcia in the renovated Stuart Hall Dining Room.
Last weekend saw the opening of a spanking-new dining facility, the Hillside Café, in the new Lower Campus Administration Building.
These and other Dining Services initiatives of recent years have given the BC community a variety of dining experiences from which to choose - a quick meal to go, a long luncheon with colleagues and friends, a relaxing cup of coffee - and an atmosphere to match.
"Both projects have been a lot of work for us, but it's worth the effort," said Dining Services Director Patricia Bando. "Boston College has long had one of the premier dining operations among colleges and universities in the country and these facilities make us even better."
Serving the BC Law School and four undergraduate residence halls, the new Stuart combines the variety of dishes found at the Lower Campus Dining Hall and Carney's in McElroy Commons with a more sociable atmosphere.
The renovation has created a more open, centralized "marketplace"-style food service and cooking area, say Dining Services administrators.
"The days of mystery food coming from out back are gone," said Bando. "Customers like to see their food being prepared in front of them and we always like to accommodate them when we can."
Stuart's dining room has been redesigned, painted in softer tones and refurnished, and now features a coffee counter serving gourmet coffees and teas.
"In general, it's a warmer and more welcoming atmosphere than we had before," said Bando.
The 150-seat Hillside Café is intended to offer an upscale atmosphere, said Bando, pointing out the assortment of over-stuffed chairs and sofas during a recent tour of the facility. While the nearby Lower Campus Dining Hall is aimed at attracting younger undergraduates, she said, Dining Services has another purpose in mind for Hillside.
"We'll be trying to cater to both the older students and the new administration building's tenants," said Bando. "It doesn't feel like you're on a college campus when you're in here; it has a different atmosphere."
The menu will feature a continental breakfast in the morning, and "grab-n-go" and panini-style sandwiches, smoothie-style drinks and fresh breads in the afternoon and evenings. Like Stuart, Hillside features a coffee counter.
The facility will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and during football games.
Bando said Hillside menu items will be available nowhere else on campus. "We're trying to give it a unique identity."
She cited the scalability and flexibility of Hillside's design as one of its most important aspects. With construction underway on a new 300-bed Lower Campus residence hall, Dining Services will be called upon to feed that many more students when the project is complete. Bando expressed confidence that Hillside will be able to adapt to help nourish Boston College as it grows.
"This will be a big help in our ability to do that," said Bando.
During the tour of the new eatery with managers and suppliers, one local baker offered an enthusiastic evaluation of Hillside. "This is unlike any other college dining facility I've been in," said Bryan Turnage, general manager of Charlestown-based Biga Breads, which supplies bread to five area colleges.
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