New Southside Dining Facility Set to Open

Posted: September 26, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Dave Andrews

Building Patiot Pride logo

Though changes have been seen in nearly all dining areas across campus, most of the focus has been on Southside – the new dining hall that will replace Ciao Hall as the main cafeteria on campus. The project will be open for business Monday, Oct. 6.

Chef Peter Schoebel
In Southside’s state-of-the-art kitchen, executive chef Peter Schoebel holds one of the beaters used in the giant-sized mixer.
Mason Gazette photo

Southside boasts seven different food stations catering to all appetites in an all-you-can-eat format. Classic American fare, vegetarian dishes, international cuisine and an endless array of desserts are sure to keep even the pickiest of customers happy. Each food station incorporates many of the new recipes introduced by Peter Schoebel, Mason’s new executive chef.

Michael Galvin, marketing and community affairs manager for Dining Services, has said that of the new recipes he’s tasted so far, all have been “delectable and high quality, made with fresh seasonal ingredients, and cooked and seasoned to perfection.”

Schoebel says the overall goal is to take the quality of on-campus food to an entirely new level. For example, he envisions implementing themed meals on Friday nights, serving a variety of high-class dishes such as lobster, fillet or ribeye steak. (Although the standard menu will cost $7.85 for all you can eat, there may be a surcharge for these special dinners.)

But Southside isn’t just creating a new menu, it’s making huge strides to exceed “green” standards in an effort to be as environmentally conscious as possible. An increased emphasis will be placed on recycling and using biodegradable products.

When Southside’s doors open, the first thing many patrons will notice is the absence of trays. This is part of the plan to reduce waste while saving water and energy. Schoebel likens the use of cafeteria trays to going grocery shopping on an empty stomach.

“Everything looks good at that point, and people are prone to overload their tray with too much food,” he says.

By eliminating trays, dining experts predict a reduction of wasted food by up to 30 percent, and a savings of approximately 3,000 gallons of water per day.

The $10 million used to build Southside didn’t just pay for a large (40,000 square feet) cafeteria, but it has produced what will be a 95 percent sustainable dining hall. It will recycle frying oil to create biodiesel fuels, and convert nearly all of the leftover food and used napkins into compost.

To give patrons a preview of what’s in store and how to navigate the various food stations, Dining Services is offering tours of Southside next week, Monday through Thursday, on the following schedule:

10:45 to 11:30 a.m.

2:30 to 3:15 p.m.

5 to 5:45 p.m.

Meet at the front of Southside to join the tour. No reservation is required.

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