At long last, refresh

At Wisconsin, the dining hall that served as the model for a Marketplace design finally gets its makeover.

Wisconsin's dining hall concepts.

Some 10 years ago, when Joie Schoonover and her dining services team at the University of Wisconsin began the thought process for the Marketplace design that currently graces four dining halls, they needed a pilot, a place where the marketplace concepts could be tested and refined. They chose Chadbourne Hall, a 580-bed residence unit that is part of Chadbourne Residential College, a living/learning center for first-year students.

As thoughts turned into design, Chadbourne was transformed into Rheta’s Market, a smallish dining center with virtually all of the concepts that would be reflected in the Marketplace design. These included Capital City Pizza Co., a deli called Delicious, Great Greens soup and salad station, Global Kitchen, a breakfast and grill area known as Fired Up and 1849, a venue for home-style comfort foods. There was also a convenience store called Flamingo Run and The Bean and Creamery coffee and ice cream bar.

Over the years, from 2007 to the present, Rheta’s was the site where recipes were developed and new equipment was tested. The vision explored at Rheta’s was brought to fruition in the fall of 2012 when the Gordon Avenue Market opened in the renovated Gordon Dining and Event Center, and Four Lakes Market was christened in the new Dejope Residence Hall. Then, in the summer of 2013, a scaled down version of the marketplace with the four most popular concepts—Global Kitchen, Que Rico, Capital City Pizza and Delicious—opened at Carson Gulley Commons.

Next month, Rheta’s finally gets its makeover, and Cathy Ness can’t wait.

“This will be our third remodel,” says Ness, the manager at Rheta’s since 2011, referring to the original work in 2007 and some tweaking that occurred the year she arrived. “This one will allow us to catch up to the rest of the dining halls.”

The remodel will serve to update the concepts students are already familiar with, she adds. For example, “Que Rico was an afterthought. It was cobbled together so that we could test the recipes for the rest of the units. But it’s become one of our most popular stations, so it will get the grand treatment.”

One thing Rheta’s won’t get, however, is more space. A better-defined traffic pattern (reducing the number of entryways from three to one, for example) will make navigating the servery a bit easier, but fitting nine concepts and a c-store/coffee bar in less than 10,000 square feet makes for tight quarters, Ness notes.

“A lot will be happening in a little space,” she says. But Rheta’s will retain some of its uniqueness even as its well-known dining concepts are upgraded to look more like their counterparts across campus. For example, the baby grand piano in the dining room will stay, and the c-store will continue to be the only one on campus that is completely student run.

And Dazzling Desserts, dining services’ tribute to the late Rheta McCutcheon, a former U of W foodservice director, will remain.

“Rheta was known for wearing lots of flashy jewelry,” Ness says, “and Dazzling Desserts was named for that trait of hers.”

The renovation will, Ness hopes, be accomplished in only 38 days, the amount of time between the end of the spring semester and the start of summer conference season June 23.

“It’s going to be a busy time,” she says. “I’m going to keep a diary of the whole transformation. It should be interesting.”

design, renovation

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
spilled coffee beans glasses

Following an initial test at the end of May, Starbucks announced that more than 500 of its stores will be pouring nitro coffee by the end of summer. Capitalizing on the cold-brew coffee trend—which reached $7.9 million in sales in 2015 on 115% growth from the previous year, according to researcher Mintel—select U.S. cafes will give up the counter space to serve the creamy, nitrogen-infused java made from the cold-brew base. But how did nitro become the hottest new thing in coffee?

Bringing the bar to coffeehouses

It was the chrome double tap, similar to a bar’s beer tap, and the...

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

Menu Development
recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

Ideas and Innovation
bus advertising jagermeister

Because many locals use the bus system, we paid for some full bus wraps to advertise [job openings within] our dining services program. The buses go all over campus where students can see them, and to apartments where the public can see them. To top it off, the cost wasn’t much more than newspaper rates.

FSD Resources