A look inside (*and behind the scenes*) of SU’s new Ernie Davis Dining Center

Food Essay | Written by Nathan Mattise

In fall 2008, SU unveiled its plans for a $50 million dollar residence hall named after legendary football alum Ernie Davis. The most exciting part of those plans?

“28,000 gsf of dining service space.”

Awesome. That’s a lot of gross square feet.

Exterior shot via the Daily OrangeOn Friday, the 170+ RAs and professional staff members from the campus Office of Residence Life got a chance to experience Ernie Davis Dining (the bottom two floors there, entirely windowed exterior) for the first time. As I overheard one staffer put it, “It’s one of those experiences I’ll be telling tour guides when I make my kids visit.”   Here’s a look at some of the inside to help savor those memories:

The decor is very Ikea. Table and chair edges are rounded off, everything is solid colored and even the booths are visibly simplistic.

The overall ambiance is industrial. The walls and floors are left mostly as exposed concrete (and the walls that aren’t are plain white). The tables fit into this approach as they are also white, and the lone splashes of color are bold solids (bright lime green booths, strong red chairs and plates, accents of navy also available in both seating options). As you can see, the seating area is also on a level below the food serving space.

The food serving area is very wide-open. There are many of these circular islands (actually, they’d be peninsulas because at least one side is closed off to provide access to the culinary staff only) all across the space. They each serve anything you could want from an SU dining hall – the grill area, drinks, ice cream and desserts, hot line, fruit, sandwich/salad materials, etc. They even have an extensive vegan area (complete with “Chickenless Nuggets).

The staff area, most importantly, is large. Ernie Davis Dining’s opening marks the closing of Haven Dining Hall. That means this facility will be the primary locale for at least three residence halls and two residential complexes (not to mention, all students will come to try it and all official university functions can show it off). It’s still not 100 percent complete (for instance, a private dining area will be added) but, considering all the immense pressure that was on these folks to deliver, you’d have to say Day One of Ernie Davis Dining was a huge success. The diners certainly approved.

The food… I’m not complaining, I had the Mac & Cheese (my personal favorite on-campus option, pictured above from a grab-and-go dining center and not EDD). It’s the same as every other on-campus dining option at SU because all of the food gets channelled through the SU Commissary at some point. What’s a commissary you ask? Well, I had a chance to visit there recently too (click on the Mac & Cheese or this link to get a taste).

When viewing, click “Show Info” in the upper-right of the slideshow for some SU Commissary facts as well.

Links: Wikipedia | YouTube | Flickr | The Daily Orange | http://www.syr.edu | Ikea

E-mail to share your own Ernie Davis or commissary pilgrimages.

1 Comment

Filed under Food Essays

One response to “A look inside (*and behind the scenes*) of SU’s new Ernie Davis Dining Center

  1. Jeff

    The vegan options were extensive, and delicious!

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