"We had to work with a specific area, but we were able to take out a wall and gain eight feet of space to open up the servery," says John Egnor, president, JEM Associates, which provided the foodservice design and consulting for the project.
Kitchen designers also noted a congestion point where the grill and pizza stations came together. They opened up the space by eliminating the former center island of equipment and moved the grill and pizza stations to opposite sides of the servery. As a result, two more hoods were installed.
"The infrastructure's ceiling heights presented the greatest challenge because many new mechanical systems were needed to support the enhanced cooking elements that were located in several locations versus one," Egnor says. "Engineering spent a lot of time evaluating solutions to install new HVAC systems. Hood placement at the highest points allowed the team to design creatively around these issues."
In addition to realigning the exhaust mechanisms, designers had to consider drain placement. "Below the servery is a laboratory and blood bank," Egnor says.
"We had to make sure the drainage didn't go over these areas, so we reconfigured the serving islands for the salad and dessert bars, which is why the shapes are a little odd." When customers approach the front entrance, they see not only the open servery but also nutritional information telling them about the foods they may select. Customers can access nutrition facts at touch-screen kiosks in the dining area as well.
Café 601 contains six stations and two center islands, each named generically except for Creation Station, featuring made-to-order dishes. A digital signage package at each station draws attention to the feature of the day at that station. The café is open from 6:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily. All stations stay open until 2 p.m., when Creation Station and the deli close. The grill closes at 4 p.m.
During the late-night shift, from 1:30 a.m. until 3:30 a.m., customers can frequent the pasta, pizza, homestyle, salad and fresh fruit stations. A local sandwich shop supplies fresh grab-and-go sandwiches during slow traffic periods.
Food for all stations arrives at the back loading dock. Staff transport it into two walk-in coolers, a walk-in
freezer and dry storage. The entire back of the house occupies only 700 square feet and contains a small prep room and dishroom.
Staff then transport food to the various front-of-house stations for further prep and assembly. Stations here contain ample refrigeration to allow storage while staff prepare and assemble food throughout the day and evening.
A hot cookline along the back wall behind the stations includes a slicer, combi oven, worktables, a countertop fryer, high-speed panini presses that grill sandwiches in 90 seconds and an electric griddle. Staff use this equipment to prepare menu items for various stations.
At the north side of the café, staff at Creation Station use induction cookers to prepare daily specials ranging from risotto to stir-frys.
The adjacent deli station contains sandwich prep tables and drop-in hot and cold wells. Staff prepare sandwiches and wraps with hot and cold meats, vegetables and toppings. An adjacent grill features turkey artichoke and chicken Florentine paninis, grilled chicken sandwiches, grilled Reuben sandwiches, turkey Reubens, vegetable burgers, grilled chicken breast sandwiches, hamburgers, cheeseburgers and fries.
For breakfast, staff prepare scrambled eggs here. Next to the grill, a grab-and-go display case contains chocolate and vanilla pudding parfaits, cottage cheese, coleslaw, fruit cups, pasta salad, macaroni salad, potato salad and tossed salads. A topping bar holds ingredients for finishing grilled burgers and sandwiches. An adjacent beverage bar offers cold and warm drinks.
In the center of the servery, customers can access the salad bar on two sides. Cold wells and shelves protected by airscreens hold fresh ingredients so customers can make their own salads. A few steps away, another island displays fresh fruit, baked goods including scones, bagels, muffins and Danishes, and beverages.
Also in the center of the servery, a soup station offers three daily selections, including one vegetarian option. On the servery's south side, a pasta station contains induction cookers that staff use to mix and match four pastas, including whole-wheat and gluten-free pastas,
At the pizza station, staff make at least two varieties daily using worktables, a proofer cabinet and a double-conveyor oven. Pizza is displayed on heated stone shelves so customers can help themselves to slices. Adjacent to the pasta and pizza stations, a homestyle station features rotisserie chicken prepared with gravy, mashed potatoes and brown rice. "This is very popular with students, and they feel it's the best bargain on campus," Caldiero says. Sitting further south, equipment supporting this station includes fryers, a double-convection oven, steamer and rotisserie. A small prep area with worktables and a slicer support this station as well.