A new Lower Campus dining facility now offers University faculty and staff a quick, light lunch in what would seem an unlikely setting - the same room where Boston College athletes eat dinner.
The connection with the Athletic Association, in fact, provided University Dining Services inspiration for the Walsh Hall facility's name, The Players' Club Cafe. Opened in late January, the 105-seat cafe provides hot entrees, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Dining Services administrators say early results are encouraging and they are implementing or considering changes to increase The Players' Club's appeal.
The Players' Club Cafe in Walsh Hall offers faculty and staff quick, light lunches. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
"We knew there was demand among faculty and staff, especially in the Lower Campus area, for a place like this, and so we responded," said Dining Services Director Patricia Bando. "The Players' Club is not meant to compete with any other facility. It is simply meant to add another option to the dining choices available on campus."
"We have been averaging about 50 people a day," said Director of Catering and Concessions Kathleen Loccisano, "and considering the fact that it's a new place, and that it is winter - a time when people are usually reluctant to go out to lunch - that is not a bad number at all."
Aside from its culinary benefits to the University community, The Players' Club Cafe also represents the efficient use of existing resources to create something new, Dining Services administrators say. Until recently, Bando explained, the cafe site was used largely for the "training table," where athletes meet to socialize and eat dinner. But Dining Services staff suggested they could simply "piggy-back" the facility's primary operation and add a lunch service.
"We had heard that faculty and staff were looking for a small, quiet place with a light menu," Bando said. "The cafe was a great idea, because we didn't have to add any staff, since they were already working on catering and the training table. We decided to undertake a survey to find out more specifically what people wanted. The response was terrific, and we have organized The Players' Cafe around their suggestions."
While the room is on the austere side at present, Dining Services plans to decorate the walls with sports-related photographs and murals, and is considering installing television monitors on which sporting events would be shown. The cafe may also adjust its schedule slightly, Loccisano said, as customers have asked about the possibility of it opening on Fridays - a day, she said, when many University employees seem more inclined to eat out.
Bando and Loccisano note that the Eagle Plus meal plan, which includes a 5 percent discount on purchases, is accepted at The Players' Club Cafe.
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