State-of-the-art dining hall opens in Ellicott Complex
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
UB students have never seen a dining hall like the newly built Crossroads Culinary Center (C-3).
On Thursday, Oct. 24, UB unveiled C-3, the new $10 million student dining facility located in the Red Jacket Quadrangle within the Ellicott Complex. The facility has attracted attention for its environmentally friendly technology, its unique restaurants and its Marche-style kitchen where students can watch the food being made in front of them.
“It’s the best dining hall [in the country],” said Jeff Brady, executive director of Campus Dining and Shops (CDS). “[Campus dining] has never done anything this big before ... It’s going to give students a different type of dining experience.”
The dining hall consists of nine different eateries, eight different restaurant-style seating sections, a fireside lounge and it features an executive chef. Students can order gourmet items like lobster and prime rib.
Brady, who has been involved in the center’s creation for over four years, said C-3 was designed to benefit the students.
“This is [the students’] dining hall – not ours – and when we made this dining hall we got the students involved,” Brady said. “We had 70 focus groups with students, asking them what they were looking for. We found out what they wanted, and we heard [them] loud and clear: healthy food, fresh food, a restaurant style atmosphere and food that served all cultures.”
C-3 offers a diverse selection of dietary options including Greek, Chinese, Italian and Brazilian cuisines, along with traditional college campus meals, such as New York-style pizza.
At a special preview of C-3 on Tuesday Oct. 22, students were impressed with the variety of options and the overall quality of the food.
“The food was great,” said Jeremy Ferris, a senior political science major. “At first I was almost overwhelmed with what I should eat first, then I just ended up eating everything ...With this place just opening now, maybe I won’t graduate [this year].”
In order to get the restaurant atmosphere the students desired, Brady and his team scrapped some traditional dining hall customs. Plastic silverware and paper plates cannot not be found in C-3. The food is served on real china made especially for the facility by a local company.
C-3 also avoids the feel of a typical dining hall by having rooms secluded from one another instead of one large open area. The facility is divided into different sections and each represents its own restaurant and each having its own individual style.
In the area by the New York-style pizza, there’s an elevated dining room, lined with grey guard to exemplify the look of a subway station. A few steps farther is an area filled with lime green chairs and dim lamps, surrounded by tinted green glass; this is to give the impression of candlelit dinner.
Construction on the 32,000 square foot C-3 facility began in Jan. 2011 after extensive extensive research on the best university dining halls around the nation.
“We had to be cutting edge,” Brady said. “When we first started the project, our team went to between 15 and 20 universities around the country. We looked at the dining halls that were awarded winning for design, for menu development and for speed of service to see what worked and what didn’t work.”
Brady and his team ended up settling on designs and technology that are beneficial for the environment.
The C-3 facility has taken steps to reduce waste, including implementing a sophisticated waste management process in which excess food is not thrown out, but instead the waste is put through a recycling process within the facility. This process turns the excess food into compost, which is used in UB’s gardens or given to support the community gardens, according to Brady.
These environmentally motivated steps have enabled C-3 to achieve a silver rating from the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) rating system, which Brady said is impressive.
The creation of C-3 will benefit the UB community in more than one way, Brady said.
C-3 replaced the Richmond Dining Hall as the main dining hall for the Ellicot Complex’s 3,800 students. The move from Richmond to the much larger C-3 adds 15 staff positions and 60 student positions.
The C-3 facility is already garnering attention from other universities. According to Brady, nine universities have asked to view the facility and students from other universities are envious of the new dining hall.
“I’m definitely jealous,” said Michael Socie, a junior business management major at Buffalo State College, who attended the preview as a guest. “We have a buffet-style dining hall at Buff State but nothing like this – nothing this cool.”
For the cost of a meal credit, students can access the facility and eat at as many of the restaurants as they want.