The installation of tent-like structures, window screens and specialty food preparation areas has given the 35-year-old facility - now known as "Carney's" - a new ambiance and menu flexibility, says Dining Services Associate Director John Grogan.
Students filled the new "Carney's" in McElroy Commons during lunch last week. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
"Before the renovation, McElroy was not a desirable place to eat," Grogan said. "The students who were eating there felt they were not getting the benefit of the Lower Campus dining facility."
The difference is already apparent, Grogan said: Last year about 2,100 students ate in the Carney Dining Room each day, "now, we are over 5,000."
In addition to the interior decor facelift, the renovation included the installation of a variety of food preparation stations, enabling diners to choose from a wide menu of offerings, ranging from pizza and calzones to fresh-baked bakery items.
Grogan said that the new food stations are "Addie's Too," which features a pizza and pasta-type menu; "Trends," which offers varied dinner fare; "Sizzles," a rotisserie and char-broiling station which serves chicken, steak and hamburgers; a sandwich bar; and an in-house bakery featuring breads, muffins and desserts.
In the facility's first major furniture replacement since 1976, round tables took the place of long, rectangular tables to further reduce the dining room's formal appearance.
Additional lighting will be installed shortly, Grogan said, making the facility attractive for special events in the future.
"It used to be that we had a big, 15,000-square foot room with chandeliers and little else," Grogan said. "Now it has become a cozier, warmer place to enjoy a meal."
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