Binghamton U. brings Indian cuisine onto campus

New York university partners with local entrepreneur to open restaurant in student union.

Published in FSD C&U Spotlight

Why try to duplicate an ethnic cuisine when you can just turn to someone who makes it for a living? That was the attitude that Binghamton University’s auxiliary services department and Sodexo, the foodservice provider for the upstate New York campus, took when they decided to partner with a local Indian restaurateur.

As a result, Moghul Fine Indian Cuisine and Tapas Bar, opened on campus this semester, joining 10 other retail concepts in the Marketplace, the redesigned dining facility that opened last January.

Moghul is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Moghul’s signature dishes include Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Vindaloo and Lamb Pasanda. In addition, kabobs and a healthy list of vegan dishes, vegetarian options and Halal meats are offered.

Pete Napolitano, director of auxiliary services, says Moghul has quickly become one of the Marketplace’s top performers.

“We have quite a lot of students who have told us they want authentic Indian cuisine,” Napolitano explains. “Moghul is located in University Plaza, near student apartments, and it gets a significant amount of student business, so we approached them about opening a unit on campus.”

Napolitano and members of the Sodexo foodservice team sat down with Adnan Kahn, Moghul’s owner, to hash out details of a partnership. Kahn supplies the personnel to operate Moghul, and Binghamton convinced Kahn to alter the menu to be more in line with most students’ pocketbooks.

“We were afraid that the Moghul menu would be too pricey for students,” Napolitano says. “So we worked with the staff to cut portion sizes down and reduce prices. The average check for lunch is now about $7.50.”

Kahn says he’s pleased with the arrangement that has been worked out with the university.

"As owners of a local restaurant, it is a privilege and honor to be on the Binghamton University campus,” says Khan.  “This partnership is building a stronger community."

The Marketplace is the 15,000-square-foot dining facility in the University Union that was renovated last year. In addition to Moghul, there is one other commercial unit in the space: Red Mango. In addition there are seven Sodexo-designed outlets serving everything from pizza and sandwiches to burritos and breakfast items. There is also a C-store and the Bearcat Café, which is a We Proudly Serve Starbucks location.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
student choice

Turkey and cucumber are two ingredients foodservice director Vince Scimone would never have thought to put together. Student judges at Grossmont Union High School District in La Mesa, Calif., however, believe they are a winning combination.

The students selected the combo, which was paired with a spicy Thousand Island dressing and sandwiched between a jalapeno bagel, as the winner of the district’s first Shark Tank competition. The now-annual event pits schools across the district against one another to come up with creative menu items. The new items are judged by students....

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to address the danger of student allergies , the University of Maryland is looking to make EpiPens available in its dining halls by the time spring break rolls around, The Diamondback reports .

Each dining hall would have multiple two-pack EpiPens on hand, which would cost about $1,000 per eatery, Dining Services Director Colleen Wright-Riva told The Diamondback. The EpiPen initiative would be instituted in partnership with the College Park, Md., school’s University Health Center.

Out of the university’s 9,000 students who are currently enrolled in a meal plan...

Managing Your Business
help wanted

Put down your peashooter for a moment to consider how weaponry has evolved in the battle for foodservice talent.

Restaurants, the perennial rival for key employees such as cooks, cashiers and line servers, have been griping for more than three decades about “Help Wanted” signs becoming permanent fixtures of their front windows. The only break came in the Great Recession, when their hiring pleas were replaced with “Going Out of Business” alerts. But even then, noncommercial foodservice had a tough time convincing potential hires to work inside the operations of hospitals, employee...

Ideas and Innovation
Romaine Lettuce Concerns

Following last week’s warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that urged foodservice operators to halt serving all romaine lettuce , FSDs across the country have found a variety of ways to replace the crunchy green that’s a customer favorite in salads and sandwiches.

Though the original warning was earlier this week limited to romaine grown in certain areas of California , operations continue to do without romaine as they await new supply. In the meantime, prices of alternative iceberg lettuce have been on the rise .

FSD reached out to members of its...

FSD Resources