University of Connecticut, McMahon Hall

Renovation brings food preparation front and center.

With restaurant-style display kitchens offering a variety of cuisines at multiple serving stations, the old 1960’s, two-line cafeteria layout at the University of Connecticut McMahon Dining Hall is now a distant memory. Inspired by a growing and diverse student body, as well as the hall’s proximity to the university’s international offices, the 19,000-square foot renovation and addition makes food preparation the star and provides a dining space ideal for more than just eating. The redesign takes cues from the surrounding landscape while offering a modern and versatile space that is now a campus hotspot. Student reaction has been positive, says Dennis Pierce, dining services director. “They’ve even said our pizza is better than the local pizza chain!” Among other initiatives, incorporation of Energy Star equipment, high-efficiency hoods and high-performance glass qualified McMahon Hall as the first LEED Gold Commercial Interior on a UConn campus.

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gluten free diet

From Stouffer’s.

A large part of menuing allergen-friendly cuisine is deciding which gluten-free items to serve.

In particular, college dining hall operators must decide whether to make gluten-free items in-house or to order gluten-free items from a manufacturer. Some factors to consider are: the size of the university, the demand for gluten-free options,and the ability to have separate gluten-free storage and workspaces in the university dining hall kitchen.

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