CU unveiling new dining extravaganza

Heather May Koski

University of Colorado students —
and even members of the public — are in for a culinary treat this fall
with the Aug. 17 opening of the new Center for Community building on

Not only
will the $84 million facility feature an abundance of student services,
but students, employees and visitors will be able to enjoy a fresh
fusion of community and cultural dining experiences.

in the southwest area of campus next to Regent Hall, the Center for
Community (C4C) is easily accessible from Regent Drive for cars and
bikes alike. No tuition revenue or state funds were used to pay for the
building; it was funded through private donations and bonds issued by
the housing and dining services department and parking services (it has
an underground parking garage).

any other campus dining center, the Campus for Community facility will
feature interactive cuisine stations in the form of eight micro-themed,
culturally enriched restaurants. Director of Dining Services Amy
Beckstrom says concepts of the dining center were developed after
discussions with its primary customers, the students.

says trend surveys indicate that cultural foods are a popular component
of on-campus dining centers. “We knew in designing a dining center that
focuses on foods from different cultures that our customers will not
only be happy, but we also hope to teach them about the different
cuisines from around the world,” Beckstrom says.

addition to Italian Cibo, Latin Comida, Asian Shi Pin, Persian ghaz,
Sushi, Smoke ’n’ Grill, Kosher and Black Coats cuisine stations, eaters
can also choose from the Wholesome Field salad bar, a variety of fresh
baked treats, CU on the Run — a grab-n-go venue for those who need
something fast and fresh — and The Hub, a late-night dining station for
those with a post-party appetite.

says the Latin, Asian and Italian stations have always been popular
with students and were therefore an easy decision and addition to the
Center for Community dining center.

“The venues that are new to our university dining offerings are Sushi and a Persian venue,” she says.

“These venues will offer foods that generally are never available in a university dining center, and we are excited to bring these new concepts to the Center for Community.”

Executive Chef Kerry Paterson says the Persian station will feature traditional kabobs of chicken, fish, beef, veggies and even lamb meatballs served on long skewers that resemble swords.

He adds that each station will feature regional variety. For example, the Asian station will not just feature Chinese food, but will include Korean and Thai foods, and the Latin station will not just offer Mexican food, but Caribbean items, in addition to a burrito bar with tortillas made on site. The Italian station is equipped with a stone pizza oven and will offer homemade pasta.

Paterson describes the Smoke ’n’ Grill as a combination of comfort foods and barbecue. In addition to macaroni and cheese, potatoes, hot dogs and hamburgers, this station will serve ribs and other barbecue items from an in-house smoker.

“My culinary staff is excited to get into this new building,” he says.

Beckstrom says every food station also will have items for the significant population of vegans and vegetarians at CU and in Boulder.

“We have a salad bar that provides over 60 linear feet of fresh fruits and vegetables, soup and sandwiches,” Beckstrom says.
“This salad bar will provide organic and local produce as much as
possible.” She says the salad bar will feature an area called “A9 Free,”
which means it doesn’t have any of the nine major food allergens.

“We do this as a response to a growing student population that has food allergies,” she says.

prominent addition to the campus dining scene is the Black Coats
station, which will feature a display cooking platform showcasing the
university’s culinary talent.

students love the Food Network and love to watch our chefs prepare food
in front of them,” Beckstrom says. “This station is where our
award-winning chefs, as well as some guest chefs, will prepare some
delicious cuisine, while engaging our students in cooking techniques or
ways to prepare healthy foods.

wanted to create a ‘one-stopshop’ for students,” she adds. “They can
come to this building and, for example, go get their Buff One Card, see
someone in career services, stop by and see the vice chancellor for
student affairs and then meet their friends downstairs for a cup of
coffee. Up until now, they would have had to go to three different
buildings to accomplish this.”

The Kittredge dining center will close with the launch of the Center for Community, which seats 900 diners.

have visited the campuses of the best university dining programs in the
country and strived to discover what we can do to elevate our program
to a new level,” Beckstrom says. “Over and over, our research revealed
that customer preference, as well as the campus’s growing international
community, provided us with the perfect platform to create a cultural
dining experience with quality foods carefully prepared by highly
trained chefs.”