The two-and-a-half-year countdown is almost at a close with Letchworth Dining Hall scheduled to open in less than two weeks.
Located on the north side of campus, this much anticipated eatery contains entirely new facilities and the most varied options of any Geneseo dining hall, including a smokehouse, coffee shop, bakery and deli. According to Director of Culinary Operations and Executive Chef Jonna Anne, Letchworth’s Food Studio North will provide “a lot of different ethnic choices” such as Mediterranean, Italian, Vietnamese, Indian and Thai options. “We’ll be able to have focaccia, stromboli, to pasta dishes to pasta tosses––all kinds of food,” Anne said. Letchworth will also feature a myriad of options to account for any interest group on campus.
The gluten-free bakery Kasha has its own kitchen to avoid cross-contamination between food products. There is also a separate kitchen for the exclusively kosher Nevali and the all-vegetarian Arugula. “They are all unique small kitchens, which avoid cross-contamination and we will be producing great entrees at each of those…What’s unique is we will be producing vegetarian and vegan options within a kitchen that has never contained meat before,” Anne said.
When designing the layout and options for the new dining hall, Campus Auxiliary Services took student needs and opinions into account by speaking with various cultural groups on campus. They also spoke with the International Student Services and the Admissions Department to find out what foods would be in highest demand among incoming students. “We were looking for their insight of what future trends are. Admissions really helped us out with what the students now are going to look like,” Anne said.
According to Anne, CAS bought food locally whenever possible. Things such as pizza dough, sauces, vegetables and coffee are purchased in New York State. It also has a wide range of seating, from traditional plastic cafeteria chairs and tables to plush armchairs. There’s even a bar where students can watch chefs prepare their food at Chef’s Table, which will sell more expensive options such as lobster tail and strip steak. CAS also hired a new staff to run Letchworth. Chefs such as Matt Lott and Andy Zalar have extensive experience working at hotels and resorts. Chef Stephen Kingston was the Rochester Chef of the Year. Letchworth’s first event, “Turn up the Heat,” is scheduled to take place in November and will feature all spicy foods. Anne reports that CAS is also considering providing cooking classes at the Chef’s Table. CAS decided to expand Letchworth’s hours for “All You Care to Eat” dinner and brunch to account for the influx of students. “We know everyone is going to want to come here the first few weeks,” Anne said. Brunch will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and dinner will be from 4-8 p.m. Other accommodations include a color printer, conference room and AV capabilities so people can view movies and presentations in the largest dining room. CAS hopes to open Letchworth the week of Sept. 14 and is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 16.