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.”