Chartwells rolled out the red carpet complete with waiters dressed in black tie to celebrate the new Mahoney Pearson dining hall opening at 12 PM on August 30th.
The event brought some of the University’s biggest names including our student body President Bhumi Patel, VP for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely, and, of course, President Shalala.
This revamp, complete with new vibrant décor, an open kitchen and even brand new plates and silverware, was all part of the Phase 1 renovation which included the changes of Starbucks and Red Mango.
Distraction was fortunate enough to receive a personal tour from Resident District Manager of Chartwells, Michael Ross.
When asked how the food quality has changed, Mr. Ross conceded that while there has been no change in the distributors, students’ perceptions change as they can now feast their eyes on the food being prepared because of the new kitchen layout.
Although the quality hasn’t changed, some students like freshmen Elaine Han, agree the food is better. Han said she “really really liked the chicken sandwiches” and even ate them for four days in a row while freshman Kevin Weaver said the food is far superior and “seems like a lot less frozen food” than the not yet renovated Stanford Dining Hall. (Lucky for the next incoming freshman class, plans to renovate are in the works for next year.)However, few others could point out any standout dishes (besides the famous fro yo machines) and some students went so far as to conclude: different layout, same old food.
Some highlights include the new oven that churns out not only new and improved pizza, but also casseroles, strombolies, and even desserts. There is also a Panini press for crispy sandwiches as well as a carving station.
Sophomore McKenna Lyons noticed a change with the new pizza ovens. “This pizza is less greasy and just tastes better in general, it tastes flakier. The pizza in the other dining hall doesn’t seem like it’s baked” said Lyons.
In addition to dining hall, the takeout system also received several improvements. Mr. Ross said this system serves students on-the-go. With both meat and vegetarian entrees, today’s improved take out menu features various salads, veggie wraps, ham and cheese sandwiches, and also options not previously offered in the dining hall like granola bars, to-go soymilk cartons, and yogurt cartons.
However, it seems like the biggest change is the atmosphere: there is a new energy that just wasn’t as prominent in the previous dining hall. The new seating not only offers a wider variety including booths, community tables, and even a private dining room complete with a 70-inch screen television, but creates a more inclusive feel throughout.
We even got our famous Ibis’ opinion on the new dining hall. We asked what his thoughts were and, seeing at he doesn’t speak, he wrote “Full speed ahead!” in response. The dining hall renovations clearly have Sebastian’s approval.
While the votes seems to be mixed, it’s clear that everyone is talking about the recent renovations.
words_alyssa jacobson. photos_rori kotch.