Signature Series: Sandwiches & Wraps

Operators share customers' favorite deli-inspired items.

Shenandoah Panini
James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va. (Aramark)

Cheesy Thursdays is a well-known campus tradition at James Madison University, according to Janet Worley. This is when the dining halls serve grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and homemade cheesecake.

“[Signature items] become part of the culture and university experience,” Worley says. “It’s important to create that experience so the students will remember it beyond graduation.”

Knowing grilled cheese’s place in the hearts of the students, the department wanted to create a special grilled cheese that showcased some local ingredients. The Shenandoah Panini is a grilled cheese with a twist, says Jay Vetter, executive chef.

“This area is known for poultry and apples,” Vetter says. “We take a grilled cheese and we add an apple cider marinated chicken to it. We top it with local apples, cheddar cheese and caramelized onions. At our grilled cheese station we also always serve the sandwiches with dipping sauces. For this particular sandwich, we offer a mustard barbecue sauce that contains local honey. We serve that with a deep-fried dill pickle.”

See full recipe 

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Managing Your Business
umass amherst food

Restaurateurs in Amherst, Mass., aren’t happy with UMass Dining .

Registered dietitian Dianne Sutherland told local NBC affiliate WWLP News in May that the high quality of food served on campus means students aren’t visiting neighborhood eateries as frequently as those businesses might like.

“Even our vendors who we work with, they get complaints from the restaurants that students are staying on campus,” she said. “They are already paying for the food; why should they [go] off campus to eat?” More than 19,000 Amherst students are on a meal plan—6,000 of whom live off campus...

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce eat dining

Forced to battle crumbling infrastructure and a constant churn of trends, sometimes the best way to save a foodservice operation is to change it entirely. As Steve Mangan, director of dining at the University of Michigan, puts it, “At some point when your building starts to fail, the cost of maintenance stands out.” But for operators with limited budgets, the challenge is discerning the right time to do so—and how far to take it.

At Jefferson High School, change came because little worked anymore. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, school’s cafeteria hadn’t been updated since 1957; students...

FSD Resources