The other stations at Pollock serve the students who don't participate in the Training Table. Near the Training Table, Gusto! offers Italian specialties for lunch Monday through Friday and for dinner seven days a week. "To create a pizza station with an authentic Italian vibe, we mixed classic finishes with contemporary ones," McNutt says. "We used honed white Carrara mosaics and countertops paired with hot-rolled steel. The steel soffit has amber acrylic light boxes. A burnt-yellow wall color plays against the bright blue Vespa graphic that dominates the back wall."
"The centerpiece is a revolving multideck gas-fired oven," Hopey says. "Pizza cooks on the stone at 525 degrees F and gives a crisp crust that keeps the top soft and moist. It's new to Pollock dining, and we think it creates a great product. We don't have to move the pizzas during cooking, which is labor saving and provides consistency. All this in seven minutes of cooking." After the pizza cooks, staff remove it from the oven, cut it and place it on a food warmer where it stays a short time before customers take it off the line.
In addition, the oven bakes Italian specialties such as lasagna, breadsticks and calzones.
Gusto! also features a pasta cooker like the one at Training Table. "We've been using these for 10 years, and they never break down," Hopey says.
At all platforms, staff rotate menu items frequently in order to provide variety to a sophisticated customer base. "Our customers have high expectations for their college foodservices," Hopey says. "They've traveled, eaten in a variety of restaurants and watch the Food Network. Some are adventurous and want a lot of new menu items. Others are plain eaters and select the same nine items regularly. But we need to offer choices that allow customers to feel they have variety."
At Leaf, which is open during lunch and dinner service, customers find healthful choices including salads, soups, vegetables and grains, as well as create-your-own salads, made-to-order paninis, and gluten-free menu items. "To make this area warm and inviting we selected a rich wood for the casework paired with hot-rolled steel and black granite countertops," McNutt says. "The centerpiece spins the bar around a column covered in earthy glass-tile mosaics topped with a fanning wood soffit tulip."
The first serving area at Leaf features made-to-order deli sandwiches. Drop-in cold and hot wells hold ingredients that staff put together after hearing customers' orders. At the second service area, a convection oven steams fresh vegetables and hot grains that customers see on display in hot wells.
At the panini service area, a drop-in cold well holds meats, cheeses and vegetables that a staff member assembles and cooks to order on a double panini grill.
At the next service area, soup stays warm in hot wells. An induction cooker sits atop a glass-top server. "This gives us double duty," says Hopey. "We don't serve soup on weekends, so it serves as an omelet station on these days."
Salad and salad toppings and fresh fruit sit in drop-in cold wells. The last service area at Leaf offers gluten-free items. A designated toaster, microwave oven, reach-in refrigerator and reach-in freezer ensure that no gluten will be introduced at this station. Sauces made in the production kitchen are also made in gluten-free pots so there is no contamination. "Items are carefully monitored and maintained to control the integrity of the program," Hopey says. "This station has been so popular that it is being reproduced at four other dining areas on campus. Customers like it because they can make their own selections and still sit with their friends. In past, gluten-free products were a challenge because we had to come back to the kitchen and take time to prepare and assemble menu items and customers' friends had moved on. Now the choices are more mainstream, and these customers don't have to feel different." The gluten-free station is open for all meals.