New Cafeteria Serving Area will Embrace Restaurant-Style Vibe
Big changes are in store for your noontime salad run. Come March 2012, the hospital’s main eatery – the House of Six Nations Cafeteria – will embark on an eight-month renovation project, trading its industrial steel serving, prep and pay areas for a friendlier, more modern design.
“It’s been nearly 40 years since we’ve made any significant improvements to the facility,” said Al Caldiero, director of Food & Nutrition Services at URMC. “We’ve long outgrown our footprint. We’re now looking to create a more open, high-ceilinged design, with a more natural flow and several see-through prep areas, so patrons have a glimpse into our culinary process.”
The new concept, Caldiero says, goes hand-in-hand with the cafeteria’s commitment to healthy, restaurant-quality food.
Pardon Our Dust
In addition to overhaul efforts within the serving area, changes will take place outside. The cafeteria’s exit area will trade its broken tray-return belt for a roller-type slide; blue recycling bins will be built into the walls for a cleaner, more streamlined look.
Nearby conference rooms (e.g., the Seneca Room) also will be co-opted for temporary dry-goods storage, and piping and electric work directly beneath the prep and serving areas will begin soon – likely causing some disruptions in clinical lab space on the ground floor.
Finally, work to embellish the cafeteria’s main entrance – perhaps designing a canopy or vestibule that’s clearly visible from the Red Elevators down the hall – is anticipated to improve way-finding for visitors.
“It’s no small project,” Caldiero said. “But it’s sorely needed. We expect to re-open sometime in November 2012.”
Interim Eating Arrangements
During the renovation, Food & Nutrition chefs will work exclusively out of their main, ground-level prep kitchen, as staff establish a temporary, scaled-down serving area upstairs in the northeast end of the main dining area. Featuring more grab-and-go-style selections, this temporary serving/pay area can be accessed by walking just a few paces further – past the cafeteria’s main entrance, to the very end of the hall, and then taking the corridor (which connects to the current pay area) on the right.
Of course, you can avoid the hassle altogether – and enjoy a broader array of menu options – by ordering your meal online through URMC’s Café Express service. The online take-out system delivers meals right to your desk for free. Just place your order at least 45 minutes before delivery, be ready to pay by credit card when your meal arrives, then relax – that turkey artichoke Panini and slice of lemon meringue pie will be there before you know it (along with plastic silverware and napkins). To find the Café Express online ordering system, look for the button in the lower, left column of the intranet homepage. (Please note that if your delivery location is not already listed on the online order form, you can select “My Office” and input your room number, in parentheses, next to your e-mail address. Deliveries can only be made within the Medical Center building.)
“In addition to promoting the Café Express service to employees, we’re trying to advertise our ‘guest tray’ program to patients, families and visitors. It’s a convenient way for them to have their meal delivered right in their room – and avoid the congestion downstairs.”
Leave Your Mark
While the bulk of design decisions – right down to colors and fabric swatches – are already in the works (you might even get a sneak peak at them at this year’s annual holiday party), URMC faculty and staff will have a unique opportunity to leave their mark on the new space by renaming it.
“We’re looking for creative concepts that really get at the notion of our serving flavorful, nutritious foods,” Caldiero said. “Of course, we’re open to all sorts of ideas. We’re really excited for a fresh start, and to see what faculty and staff come up with.”
Stay tuned – official contest rules (along with prize details!) will be coming in February.