Named after the year the school was founded, Florida State University’s newest eatery offers students and the surrounding Tallahassee, Fla., community a place to enjoy a meal not found elsewhere on campus.
1851—which spans 24,000 square feet—contains a c-store, four micro-restaurants in an open-air setting and seating for up to 450 hungry guests. Here’s an inside look.
“We knew that we really needed to have some good menu diversity,” says Travis Johnson, executive chef of food services, when discussing how the team came up with the concepts inside 1851. “We were able to identify four different types of cuisine that would fit that space perfectly.”
At the eatery’s four restaurants—Noles Homecoming (comfort food and breakfast), JStreet Grill (grilled items), Tuscan Eatery (Italian) and Passports (international)—guests can pick and choose from a variety of scratch-made dishes that incorporate local ingredients. While the space as a whole offers multiple places to sit and eat, each restaurant also contains its own seating.
In order to make the food stand out, Johnson says he and his team of chefs spent months coming up with their own recipes, including a signature burger blend and pizza sauce. The menu items are what Johnson (and the rest of dining services) labels as FSUnique, or exclusive to the university.
“When we developed the menus, we brought a group of chefs together in a room with a ton of whiteboards and we sat down and developed all of the menus for all the micro-restaurants all from scratch,” Johnson says. “You’re not going to find these brands or recipes or items on any other campuses because that speaks to our brand here.”
Johnson and his team weren’t the only ones who created recipes for 1851, which is located inside a new residence hall. The university also partnered with chef and FSU alumnus Art Smith to create more signature recipes for Noles Homecoming. To promote the partnership, Smith will be making visits to the university throughout the year.
After the four micro-restaurants are closed for the night, hungry students can still visit The Canteen, 1851’s convenience store, which offers a variety of grab-and-go items throughout the day and evening. Leaning into the popularity of DIY stations, The Canteen will be home to rotating pop-up bars where students can build their own items such as tacos or nachos.