by Edward Gehres
RAC Dining Liaison
Dining has just undergone a change to the Signature Dining Program. Signature Dining offers fresh, made-to-order, resident focused menus, executed at the moment of service that personalizes the culinary experience.
What I want to focus on in this article is the nature of the Dining Rooms in the five neighborhoods on campus from formal to informal. Formal being defined as with linens, and whether the meal is served entirely by the wait staff.
The most formal is Seasons Dining Room in Town Center. When the Dining Room first opens, the tables are set with linen tablecloths, flowers, and the silverware, napkins, and water glasses are set in a formal fashion; and the entire meal is served by wait staff consisting of waiters who tell you what the fruit of the day is, the bread choices, and the soup of the day; after which they take and serve your drink order; next the waiter takes your order for bread and appetizer which are then served by runners; the waiter then takes your order for entre and desert which are then served by the runners. Throughout the meal, bus boys pick up the used serving dishes.
The next in terms of less formal is Fireside in Village Square. When the Dining Room first opens the tables are covered with linen tablecloths, no flowers, and the silverware is rolled up in the linen napkins and placed on the table at each place along with the water glass. The meal is served by wait staff as at Seasons except that there is a salad bar at each end of the dining room with a bread station.
The next in terms of less formal is Overlook at Lakeside Commons. When the Dining Room opens the tables have bare tops with placemats on which have been placed the water glass and the silverware wrapped in a linen napkin. The meal is served by wait staff as at Seasons and Fireside.
The next in terms of formality is Windsor at Montgomery Station. When this Dining Room opens the bare table tops are set with placemats on which have been placed the water glass and the silverware rolled in linen napkins. Here the only part of the meal served by wait staff is the beverage. The whole meal is obtained by the resident at a cafeteria line consisting of a salad bar and steam tables for the entrees and sides plus a bread station, and a dessert bar. In this Dining Room, the new Signature Dining program is accommodated by the resident having a Signature Dining menu with three to four items to choose from which are then served by the waiter.
In addition, each Dining Room has a Private Dining Room in the style of that Dining Room that can be reserved for meals with family members or committees. The meal service is in the style of that particular Dining Room.
Finally, at Arbor Ridge, the fifth neighborhood building on campus, there are thirteen Dining rooms. Each Dining Room serves three meals a day, plus a continental breakfast, all of which are served to the residents.