Last fall, the University of Oklahoma (OU) debuted Acre Provisions, an Eataly-inspired food hall that skews toward healthy, locally sourced offerings. Read on to see more of the space, which has been a hit with the students who live upstairs.
Located in a residential building for upperclassmen, Acre Provisions is home to three microconcepts: Born & Grazed, Pitchfork and Farmer & The Kale. The university worked with Colorado-based Faven Creative on design and branding for the market, where students can also buy fresh produce and a range of healthy snacks, such as kale chips.
Pitchfork, a kebab station featuring a tandoor oven, is “pretty innovative for us,” says Food Services Executive Director Frank Henry, noting that there’s nothing like it around. “It’s one of the more popular [concepts] because it’s something different that a lot of the students from Oklahoma and Texas may not be familiar with.”
Because upperclassmen aren’t required to have meal plans, Acre Provisions is tailored to the apartments above it in an effort to keep food dollars on campus. (Each apartment has a small kitchenette, and common areas on every floor provide space to do laundry, cook meals, study and socialize.) The idea being, Henry says, that if a recipe calls for green pepper, students can buy that pepper in the market and bring it to the veggie butcher to be sliced or diced as part of their meal prep.
The dining program aims to buy product for Acre Provisions’ retail section as locally as possible, with the goal of keeping purchases within 250 miles of the university. That might seem like a long distance to some, but, as Henry notes, in Oklahoma, you can drive three to four hours and still not be out of state.