Let's face it. Onsite dining departments generally get little outside coverage or attention because they are not part of the larger organization’s core mission or business. The one almost universal exception to this state of affairs comes when an onsite dining operation opens a new dining facility. That’s when the TV cameras and local press are invited in as institutions tout their new dining amenities.
What follows are some particularly well executed new facilities that opened in
the past year or so in various onsite segments. The examples include both new and renovated projects.
Provenance Cafe & Restaurant at Cleveland Museum of Art
A Museum with World Class Cuisine
a partnership of the cleveland museum of art, Bon Appétit Management Company and Cleveland chef Douglas Katz in October led to the opening of Provenance, a fine-dining restaurant and upscale café. Both anchor the museum’s new, 39,000 sq.ft. atrium, one of the largest public spaces in the region, part of a $350 million museum expansion in the works since 2005.
Facility: Provenance Restaurant and Café
Opened: October 11, 2012
Renovation Project Architect: Rafael Vinoly
Interior Design: EDG Architecture & Design
Foodservice Consultant: Clevenger Associates
Operator: Bon Appétit Management Co.
Volume: Currently, the Café serves about 2500 lunch and dinner meals weekly; the restaurant has a separate P&L and does about 600-800 meals weekly. There is also a 192-seat banquet room and there are high expectations for catering as the atrium venue attracts regional events. A Café lunch averages about $10 and a restaurant meal averages $25, excluding alcohol.
Details: Provenance, a 76-seat restaurant and lounge, and the adjacent, upscale casual Provenance Café are both are served from a double-sided kitchen suite. The design, a collaborative effort between Doug Katz, Bon Appétit and consultant Clevenger Associates, is geared to their dual production needs.
The front half of the cooking suite operates in full view of café customers and features a variety of equipment including a tandoori oven, hearth oven and robota grill, as well as traditional grill options and a made-to-order final assembly bar. The back half of the suite has a full line of burners for restaurant cook-to-order production, a full prep area with additional bulk cooking equipment and refrigerated storage and is out of view of the customers.
The servery also features an island salad and sandwich bar with refrigerated slab display counters and a similarly heated hot line, eliminating the need for ice wells or a traditional steam table.
THE MENU: Globally-inspired cusisine reflects the museum’s international collection and emphasizes sustainable and locally sourced ingredients. In the restaurant, Prix fixe menus change monthly and are created to complement special exhibitions and to reflect seasonal availability.
The restaurant’s opening menu celebrated a special Peruvian exhibit and features such items as Aguadito (a Peruvian potato and chicken soup); Pappas Rellenas (vegetable stuffed potatoes with spicy aji pepper sauce); and Arepas Rellenas de Queso (cheese stuffed corn cakes with black beans, rice and avocado sauce). The current menu is based on a Mary Cassatt exhibit with a French influence.
Café offerings range from custom sandwiches and salads to the eclectic and are sometimes also keyed to exhibitions.
KEY PERSONNEL: Chef Partner Doug Katz; Bon Appétit District Manager Dan Farrell; General Manager Michael Huff; Executive Chef Ian Thompson; Director of Operations Mark Kroner.
Marciano Commons at Boston University
Multi-story Eatery a Campus Anchor
Facility: Marciano Commons at Boston University
Undergrad Enrollment: 16,000
Opened: September 2012
Foodservice Design: Colburn & Guyette
Architecture & Interior Design: Bruner/Cott & Associates
Purposes: Marciano replaces three aging dining halls in the Kenmore Square area of campus with one ultra-modern facility that will serve some 5,000 meals a day. It also provides retail alternatives.
Details: Taking up three floors of the new six-story Center for Student Services complex, Marciano sports a dozen all-you-care-to-eat food stations, including vegan and gluten-free outlets, spread over the building’s first and second floors. Meanwhile, the basement includes two retail food outlets: a bakery and a Late Night Kitchen.
The LEED Gold registered (awaiting final certification) building has a variable speed hood system, waste pulping, low-energy lighting, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Marciano also has a 4-Star rating from the Green Restaurant Association.
Design Challenges: To meet the need for high-quality foodservice in a very tight footprint, it has multiple floors, all with equal prominence. Also, the space needed to remain open and airy so as not to “feel like a large cafeteria” and it had to be functional and desirable as a catering space.
The stations are designed to be “feature stations” that celebrate the prep and serving of different kinds of foods, so a lot of the production is decentralized.
The space is “zoned” for environment variety with eight unique dining “rooms.” One features a fireplace, another has a bank of video screens and a third has a view of Boston’s historic Fenway Park.
EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS: Vegan and gluten-free stations have separate kitchens; each cooking venue is closely supported by refrigerated walk-ins and prep space; equipment features include two wood-burning ovens and two front-line tandoori ovens, vertical rotisseries, a pair of smokers, two scratch bakery operations with significant baking capacity, and front-line sauté stations.
SODO Kitchen at Starbucks HQ in Seattle
Facility: SODO Kitchen at Starbucks HQ in Seattle
Site Population: 4,000
Opened: October 2011
Size: 12,050 sq.ft.
Design: Mesher Shing McNutt
Operator: Bon Appetit Mgt. Co.
Purposes: SODO (South Of DOwntown, where the building is located) provides onsite dining for Starbucks employees and their guests while attracting additional sales from visitors and street traffic.
Details: The space includes a servery, two dining areas and a back-of-the-house support kitchen, all on the third floor of the building.
Design Challenges: as a retrofit of an existing café, SODO had to work around existing utility outlets (though the aged piping and wiring were replaced); it also had to maintain the aura of the “Starbucks culture” but with a twist to give the space its own personality. The design employed a palette of natural and existing materials that incorporated the building shell of concrete floors and ceilings, rich recycled wood, hot rolled steel, natural marble and stained concrete floors throughout the servery and dining areas, to convey a Euro Bistro style feeling.
The seating is broken into various smaller scaled spaces with options ranging from regular and bench seating to bar height and community tables made from both wood and plates of hot rolled steel. In a nod to Starbuck’s “comfortable third place” concept, there is also lounge seating.
With no windows or natural light, artificial lighting is key. Custom globe light fixtures in metal cages accent the center food island and hang over community tables, track fixtures highlight retail and food displays and large scale customer lamp shades from coffee burlap bags produce a warm glow and create a continuity in the design throughout.
EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS: Dining and servery spaces are organized around a four sided island that has counters for serving sandwiches prepared with meat and chicken from the floor mounted European style rotisserie, a large salad bar restocked from an open refrigerated produce case, points of sale and a bar height dining counter.
The main serving counter extends along one side of the servery and features stations with a grill and hot specials, a tandoori oven for preparing authentic Indian style dishes and a Woodstone pizza oven for cooking pizza and fresh breads.
Johns Hopkins Hospital Central Kitchen, Baltimore
Volume, Volume, Volume...
Facility: Johns Hopkins Hospital Central Kitchen
No. of Beds on Campus: 1,051
Opened: April 2012
Size: 30,000 sq.ft.
Design: Porter Khouw Consulting
Purposes: The new kitchen is designed to centralize production for retail and patient meals and provide pre-production/processing of produce and select proteins, execute room service patient meal production and assembly for 560 private patient rooms in two new towers (the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center with 205 rooms and the Sheikh Zayed Tower with 355 rooms for cardiovascular and critical care patients).
The new kitchen also supports Johns Hopkins’ other, older central kitchen (which provides meals to the rest of the campus) with bulk production.
Details: The kitchen is located under a six-level parking garage and connected to the rest of the campus through a series of tunnels. A programmable unmanned towline cart system delivers products to the other kitchen and returns soiled servingware and trays.
Design Challenges: The design required raising the kitchen’s entire floor footprint (the space had been part of an older building) by 16 inches to accommodate utility connections and drainage; this meant ceiling heights had to be reduced, creating spec challenges because equipment had to fit the smaller vertical space.
All the exhaust lines had to be ducted through a single shaft. Receiving, storage and production had to accommodate the location of an already-existing service elevator that could not be moved.
Storage and prep areas had to be segregated and aligned for most efficient work flow and security (e.g., bulk storage separate from day inventory).
• high volume/velocity peelers and choppers for bulk processed produce production;
• a water jet chiller that automatically cooks and then chills product;
• roll-in rack and mixers for centralized bakery production;
• wrapping/packaging equipment for grab-and-go meals;
• temp-controlled carts to deliver meals to 19 galley docks located on patient floors.
Cafeteria at Cabot (AR) High School
Suddenly, Students Want to Eat Here...
Typically, high school students consider eating in the cafeteria ‘uncool,’ but at Cabot (AR) High School, that’s no longer so. After the school opened its new eatery, participation tripled from less than 450 a day to around 1,300, a level it has now maintained for almost a year.
Facility: Cafeteria at Cabot (AR) High School
Opened: January 2012
Size: 29,566 sq.ft.
Daily Traffic: approx. 1,300
Free/Reduced Pct.: 37%
Architect: Lewis Elliott McMorran Vaden Ragsdale & Woodward, Inc.
Operator: Cabot Public Schools Nutrition Services Dept.
Purposes: The new venue was designed to replace an aging and inadequate 250-seat cafeteria, to increase participation and to provide more choice while eliminating separate a la carte and reimbursable lines.
Details: The cafeteria is located in a brand new facility in the high school complex that also includes a gym, an auditorium and a 2,300-seat arena. It boasts nine food lines offering different cuisine choices (with all meals qualifying for federal meal reimbursement). These range from hot and cold sandwiches, chicken and homestyle entrees to soups, salads, Cajun, pizza and parfait/muffin selections. Despite the extensive new range of choices (the previous cafeteria had two lines, one for reimbursable meals and one for a la carte), the department only had to add two employees because of the much greater efficiencies.
Design Challenges: The servery needed to be efficiently supplied from a single production kitchen while offering multiple styles of food, including soup and salad counters, in tight time windows.
• each serving station has access to its own storage and prep area;
• the serving area has more than 160 linear feet of serving counter to accommodate lunch rushes and more than 400 square feet of chilled and heated display space;
• the kitchen includes two 40-qt. mixers, two two-burner ranges, four double-stacked convection ovens, one convection steamer and two warming and two refrigerated pass-through cabinets.