6 menu items C&U operators can’t wait to debut this winter

winter table setting

As the months turn colder, C&U operators are outfitting their menus with a new wave of dishes that reflect the latest trends and offer fresh spins on comfort food favorites. Here are some menu items that will be making their debut on campus this winter.

1. Roman-style sandwiches

duke focaccia

At Duke University’s Italian concept Il Forno, students will be able to enjoy open-face focaccia sandwiches on the Durham, N.C., campus this winter. Inspired by Operations Manager Kyle Rosch's trips to Italy, the sandwiches will feature an airy crust made from sundried tomato dough and will be topped with fresh ingredients. In a fashion similar to Roman-style pizza, the focaccia will be baked as a whole but sold as squares.

2. Revamped chili bar

chili con carne

Students at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., will be getting an updated chili bar during the colder months. “Winter is when our guests frequently crave something comforting and hearty, and chili is great for that—but just a plain bowl of chili isn’t much fun,” says Executive Chef Marcos Rio.

To create a more unique experience, guests will be able to choose from three types of chili (meat, vegetarian and wild card) and three types of vessel (bowl, bread or potato), as well as select from a variety of toppings, which are categorized as traditional, creamy, crunch or heat. Rio says that the different categories—especially wild card, crunch and heat—will allow him and his staff to “flex [their] creativity and highlight different flavors, ingredients or techniques.”

3. Bison over beef

bison burger

At Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., Executive Chef Sarah Falls is swapping out traditional beef for bison in her latest slider dish. “I recently started seeing more market news about [bison,] and wanted to give the students and staff at Liberty University something trendy that would be a healthier option to the ground beef slider,” says Falls. The bison slider is stuffed with figs and shallots, and topped with goat cheese and spring mix.

4. Hickory-grilled pork

hickory grilled pork

Executive Chef Coleman Norris created a hickory wood-grilled North Carolina pork entree that will be served at Duke’s JB’s Roasts and Chops concept. The dish includes roasted garlic mashed potatoes, local vegetables, roasted tomato and mushroom gravy, crispy onions, bacon and bleu crust. 

5. Farm-fresh burger

farm-fresh burger

As its name implies, Duquesne University’s farm burger features ingredients commonly found on a farm. The dish includes a hand-pressed beef burger with bacon, melted havarti cheese, arugula and a hash brown patty topped with a fried egg and served on a toasted brioche bun. The burger will be offered at the Pittsburgh school’s on-campus full-service restaurant, The Red Ring Bar & Grille, where the menu is updated three times a year to reflect the changing trends.

“This particular burger was developed based on the growing trend of premium burger options,” says Executive Chef Tim Fetter. “Offering an indulgent, upscale burger that incorporates a notable Pittsburgh component (fries on sandwiches) and combined with nationally trending toppings (the fried egg) will appeal to the variety of customers we see in our location.” 

6. Greek and Indian fusion

naan bread

A new dish at Liberty University features tandoori carrots topped with tzatziki sauce that are layered on naan bread and served with basmati rice and seasoned chickpeas. While Falls has experimented with this dish at home using chicken, she ultimately went with a meatless version for the school. “I decided to make this vegetarian to promote the growing trend here on campus, and to get the students and staff of Liberty University thinking about how eating plant based can be just a delicious,” she says. 

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