By Ellie Schuckman
Just this past week, a new, highly-anticipated dining facility opened on campus for students, faculty and visitors of the College to enjoy — Traditions.
Replacing the Rathskeller, Traditions officially opened on Monday, Feb. 29, to a crowd curious about the new facility.
“I love how fast and polite everyone is and the food is delicious,” junior secondary education and history dual major Mallory Cohen said.
From the first talks of renovations to the Brower Student Center, creating a new, inclusive dining facility was always a priority.
“This is really the space for the students, the staff and the faculty on campus,” General Manager of Dining Services Patrice Mendes said. “One of the reasons it’s called Traditions is (that) we want to try to make this a new tradition that everyone was able to come in and mingle and feel comfortable here.”
Traditions has both sit-down dining and a pick-up window for those on the go, according to Mendes.
“There is going to be a takeout window, so if a student does not have the time to sit and get served, they can get things (to go),” she said.
Accepting both meal plan points and coveted meal equivalency, Mendes hopes the new facility will allow students another option when it comes to campus dining.
“One of the elements that we wanted to make sure we did was include everybody, and to include the students, you really have to be able to order meal equiv so it makes it easier for them to experience,” Mendes said. “The pricing is very reasonable, but it will be even more reasonable if you are able to use your meal equiv.”
In similar fashion to the Rat, Traditions has a bar and will soon have live shows for entertainment.
“The entertainment part was always part of (the plans),” Mendes said. “There still will be entertainment, there still will be things going on. Hopefully they’ll compliment and we can enhance whatever the student center’s plans (are).”
Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz, the youngest Cuban executive chef honored with three stars from the New York Times, is consulting on the project, according to Unit Marketing Coordinator Vince McNeil, Jr. Ruiz has opened restaurants around the world and has appeared on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games,” where 16 contestants from Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” played against each other.
Ruiz helped to develop the menu and recipes and also helped train kitchen staff before the grand opening.
“When Sodexo first made their proposal for the restaurant, we were looking for a celebrity to partner with to make this dining experience a little bit more upscale (and) a little bit more away from the traditional college fair that we have had in the past,” Mendes said.
She also noted that she hopes Traditions will be a place for students and faculty alike.
“We’re hoping this is going to be a gathering place for student and faculty together so that they’re here at the same time,” Mendes said. “We’re hoping both to having meal equiv, being in the student center and having a little bit more of a modern feel to it, that will entice students and faculty and staff to come and enjoy the space together.”