Greetings and Welcome to the Fall Semester, 2018.
This edition of UCuisine is all about change. This is a new year, a new beginning, a time when Dining takes a good look at our operations and initiates changes that are driven by the need to be efficient or to create a new dining experience. As I write this column we are planning the rebranding of Chuck & Augie’s restaurant. More commonly called “Chaugies” by the students who frequent it, the restaurant has been located in its current location in the Student Union since March of 2005. Prior to Chuck & Augie’s and pre-renovation of the Student Union, the restaurant was formerly located on the second floor and it was called the Nutmeg Grill.
As we reviewed many options for a new culinary offering, we determined that a Bistro themed restaurant would give our chefs the opportunity to expand their culinary expertise, offer some new items and provide the ambiance for students, staff and guests alike. A new menu enables us to stay consistent with our dedication to the land around us as a Land Grant institution and still feature locally sourced foods and produce from our student gardens.
On any given day, this restaurant serves 200 plus meals to a very diverse group of consumers. Our guests include: parents and potential students who are visiting UConn for the first time; faculty and staff who may be meeting for lunch; visiting guests; and a wide variety of students and local community members. Our new Bistro themed restaurant will continue to provide great dining but will also be a unique venue where students can use their points after 1:00pm, either for dining in or take out.
When you’re not the only restaurant in town you have to keep redefining yourself. We are very fortunate to have a great culinary team on-site creating daily specials as well as items on our seasonal menus. The collaboration of our student-run farm, Spring Manor Farm, and our staff, allow for careful planning from the point the gardens are conceived in January to the summer and fall harvest. It is not a surprise when your student wait staff greet you with an introduction explaining not only which ingredients from the menu are locally grown but also what ingredients comes from our own student-run farm.
Sustainability is very important to us, not only featuring Connecticut and regional products on our menu but also always serving fresh marine certified fish. In addition to local items, our restaurant is known for our gluten friendly menu. Our staff is carefully trained in correct procedures to ensure that a safe and wholesome meal is produced for those customers who require a wheat free diet.
As mentioned earlier, this is a semester of change. As announced last spring semester, we have adjusted our operational hours at Northwest. This was done through a communication written by Dining Services and was released to residents by the Department of Residential Life. After reviewing participation and redundancy, we determined that closing Northwest on Friday and Saturday would create greater efficiencies in labor and expenses. Since North Campus is just a few feet away, our staff will welcome the additional students that participate in those five meals of weekend service.
For those new to campus, take the opportunity to peruse this issue of UCuisine. It contains our hours of operation, menus for the residential dining operations and pretty much has all of the answers to your questions about UConn Dining. Also, check out our website at www.dining.uconn.edu.
Best of luck this semester. On behalf of our talented staff who care about your well-being, we hope that 2018 – 2019 brings you opportunities for success, provides you many pleasing meals and prepares you for your future ahead.
In conclusion, we always welcome your feedback and ideas. Feel free to contact us via our website and let us know how we are doing. So, enjoy your semester, strive to make your experience, this semester, at the University of Connecticut, the best yet.
Eat Well, Enjoy Life, Pursue Your Dreams.
C. Dennis Pierce, Executive Director, UConn Dining Services