Colonnades Dining Hall now open

Mom and Dad never had it so good in their college days. Elon University opens the doors this weekend to The Colonnades, a two-story, 24,000-square-foot dining facility that includes a full-service restaurant serving steaks and seafood, a fire stone oven for pizzas and bread, and international cuisine featuring items from a Mongolian grille. Details...

The Colonnades propels Elon to the forefront of current trends in student dining: Locally grown produce, high-end dining atmospheres and an environmentally sustainable building. The building is rare, if not one-of-a-kind, when it comes to campus cuisine and earth-friendly energy use.

During the height of the mid-Atlantic growing season, between 80 and 90 percent of produce in the Colonnades will come from local providers.

“We wanted this to be a different type of facility, with separate and unique choices instead of one big room,” said Vickie Somers, director of auxiliary services at Elon. “We try to anticipate what’s new and available before students demand it. We like to offer them something unique.”

Before planning the new dining hall, Elon and ARAMARK, the school’s food service provider, asked students to complete a survey that measured attitudes on dining. University and ARAMARK officials also visited colleges elsewhere to get an idea of what was being offered on other campuses.

The style of the Colonnades, Elon’s first new dining facility since 1968, is a departure from other facilities on campus. Gerald Whittington, the university’s vice president for business, finance and technology, said that he wanted to build a dining hall that seemed more like a restaurant.

Options include:

1889 Grill Room: A full-service restaurant that serves gourmet burgers, steak and seafood.

Isabella’s: An all-you-can eat location with menu items from around the world, several of which are prepared on a Mongolian grille.

Tuscany: Another all-you-can-eat location, Tuscany features Mediterranean cuisine and a fire stone oven for pizzas.

Bread Basket: Hot breads, sandwiches and soups are the specialties here, along with a variety of soups and desserts.

Fountain Market: Organic and locally grown products are sold in the first-floor grocery mart, where items are sourced from the same vendors as Whole Foods.

Boar’s Head: Located in Fountain Market, the Boar’s Head deli features premium meats, cheeses and sandwiches.

Croutons: Also located in the Fountain Market, Croutons dishes up fresh tossed salads.

“The thing students miss the most at college is the ability to go out to eat,” Whittington said. “It’s always been my goal to have a place where students could take a date and feel like they were going to a restaurant.”

Insulation and ceiling tiles are made, in part, with recycled materials, and occupancy monitors reduce energy when spaces are not in use. Appliances installed in the building comply with the EPA’s Energy Star Program. Unused food is donated to the local Fishes and Loaves pantry.

The Colonnades uses no trays, which cuts back on the amount of food wasted each day. It uses paper bags instead of plastic. And the building will be cleaned with environmentally compliant products.

“We wanted this to be a different type of facility, with separate and unique choices instead of one big room,” said Vickie Somers, director of auxiliary services at Elon.
Before planning the new dining hall, Elon and ARAMARK, the school’s food service provider, asked students to complete a survey that measured attitudes on dining.
“It’s always been my goal to have a place where students could take a date and feel like they were going to a restaurant,” said Gerald Whittington, the university’s vice president for business, finance and technology.

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