Updated: Feb 4, 2019
When entering The Commons at Salisbury University, you are immediately surrounded by a large number of college students rushing around to get food or waiting in line at different stations in the Marketplace. Conversations echo around the large room and a plethora of food options are laid out in front of you, all smelling delicious.
But off to the right is a smaller, yet sleeker room with much fewer people. The remodeled Bistro resembles nothing of the rest of Commons, but is instead on its own level.
In a project completely funded by Dining Services at SU, Bistro was transformed over the summer by revamping its aesthetic appeal and increasing its functionality dramatically.
The circular section in the middle provides students with a mini salad bar on one side, rotating different salads, vegetables and proteins everyday. On the opposite side are places for hot or cold desserts.
The hot dishes, previously located in the middle, have been shifted to the sides, opening up the room and allowing for more food options to be displayed. Each side is identical and has four more wells than before. By putting the counters on the sides, it permits staff to replenish food from behind the counter, limiting interruptions with students.
Margaret, a Commons employee, commented on how the new Bistro makes her job easier.
“I don’t have to lift heavy trays of food anymore and carry them across the room,” she said. “The new storage helps a lot with the demand from students for fresh food all the time.”
Bistro not only reorganized its food, but installed new flooring, beautiful countertops and light fixtures as well as repainted and retiled the walls. They utilized a neutral color palette to ensure that it doesn’t go out of style any time soon.
Anthony Calamoneri, junior, says the new Bistro attracted him immediately to want to eat there.
“It looks a lot nicer than it did before,” said Calamoneri. “It gives off a more high-class vibe and I think it made the food taste better.”
Bistro is only the first step in remodeling the entire Commons eatery, according to the Director of Dining Services, Owen Rosten.
Commons is open almost year round, which makes remodeling the Marketplace difficult without shutting down the entire Commons for an extended period of time. Conversations and debates concerning those plans are still in the works, according to Rosten.
Commons, like every college institution, is trying to keep up with new food trends, allergy precautions and dietary restrictions or preferences. New facilities are needed to keep up with these changes.
“It makes sense that we can’t demonstrate our commitment to that in a facility that we’re not committing to updating as well,” said Rosten.
Susan Noah, assistant director of Dining Services, is using Bistro’s new look to create diverse menus and options to cater to all student demands. She wants to utilize more food bars, which lay out all the components to adish but allow “students to create the meal the way they like it.”
Noah and Rosten were both very excited about a new initiative called “Festival of Foods.” This is a partnership between Dining Services and Cultural Affairs to coordinate new menus with events happening on campus that day. Future events students should look out for include Oktoberfest, Lobsterfest and Days of the Chesapeake.
Dining Services is committed to making students’ experiences on campus positive ones.
“Our job is to answer, to the best we can, what students want,” said Rosten. “To keep them on campus, and happy with the campus, and happy with the sense of community they get when they stay on campus instead of going on [Route] 13.”
By SOFIA CARRASCO
Featured photo: Salisbury University Dining Services images.