The Cavalier Daily
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Senate revises food, service at Garden Room

In an attempt to increase revenue, the Faculty Senate and University Dining Services hope to draw more hungry faculty members to the Garden Room with changes to its service and menu.

Faculty Senate Chairman David T. Gies said Dining Services adjusted many aspects of the Garden Room's atmosphere since classes began Jan. 19.

"There are more fresh ingredients, and they are more creative with the food," Gies said.

He said that the training for the wait staff is better, they have brought in production assistants from University Catering Services and there is more involvement from Executive Chef John Strunak and Director of Dining Services Edward Gutauskas.

He added that the prices of the menu items at the Garden Room, located in Hotel E on the west Range, have not changed since last semester.

Dining Services and Faculty Senate representatives met several times last semester to brainstorm ways to help the financially struggling Garden Room. Dining Services have said the Garden Room was not covering its costs, while the Senate wanted to keep it open as a place for faculty-student interaction outside of the classroom.

Robert Grainger, Faculty Senate academic affairs chairman, also said the wait staff is better trained this semester to anticipate the needs of the faculty and student customers.

"We are making sure that the servers are in tune" with the different needs of different customers, Grainger said. "Some people want to get in and out, and some want a leisurely lunch."

Gies agreed that good service is an important priority for the Garden Room staff.

"They know they need to bring the bills out quickly, and get the food out on time," he said.

"The [food] before was average - simple sandwiches. We wanted things that were a little bit special and that you couldn't elsewhere on Grounds," Grainger said.

He added that the new Garden Room manager, Dennis Koehler, who used to work at the University of Notre Dame, has had a lot of experience in both service and food operations.

Grainger said the participants in last semester's meetings also discussed the possibility of bringing in menu items from University Catering Services and nearby Newcomb Hall.

The catering service hopefully would "make food that faculty and students like to see," he said. "If we can bring in some food from Newcomb Hall we can make use of their more extensive kitchen," since the Garden Room's resources and space are limited.

He added that the Faculty Senate and Dining Services would be able to gauge the impact of these changes on the popularity of the Garden Room in a few weeks. The Senate and Dining Services are going to meet once a month to evaluate the Garden Room's progress, Grainger said.

The Garden Room was opened in the fall of 1997 as a part of former Faculty Senate Chairman Jahan Ramazani's idea of "intellectual community." He wanted to promote the intellectual community by setting up spaces for faculty-student interaction.


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