College Dining Halls Go Upscale to Lure Students
College kids at Virginia Tech have a wood-burning pizza oven in the West End Market dining hall there. It's part of an overall trend among some schools to lure picky eaters to the admissions office.
“I didn’t apply to Bates, because, well, I ate there, the meal was not very good,” said Lucas Braun, a 17-year-old senior at Westtown School, outside of Philadelphia, who has been accepted at several colleges in the Northeast. “There’s something subliminal from the food you see in the dining hall and the meal they give you that influences your decision.”
At Virgina Tech's West End, you can grab "a whole Maine lobster, New York strip and rib-eye steaks cooked how you want them, grilled sesame-crusted tuna with wasabi mayo.” To be fair, those are à la carte selections that carry a supplemental cost to the regular dining plan. But the story lists other perks at other schools, including farmers' markets at Brown, an all-organic cafe at Yale, "spa waters" at Stanford, and a rotating coterie of guest chefs shared by the University of Massachusetts.
Of course, I'm particularly interested in the Virginia Tech pizza option.
“We discovered a way in the marketplace concept—kitchens brought out from behind the wall, cooking platforms with pizza ovens, broilers, fryers—so students can see you throw the dough, top it to order and put it in the wood-fired oven. And they don’t just want that product in name only, but they want it to be authentic, because they’ve eaten at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant and they want to smell that hickory wood burning.”
Well, shit on a shingle. I remember the highlight of my dorm dining hall experience was the make-your-own waffle station on weekends—when it was working and had a full vat of batter.
Haven't these kids heard of ramen?
Oh, scratch that. They probably have. No doubt they're demanding noodle virtuosos flown in from Japan to stretch ultra-authentic noodles to swim in the broth with their hunks of perfectly cut Berkshire pork.