Back-of-the-House Support

Food deliveries come into a loading dock on the main level, and staff bring them up a designated elevator into the production kitchen's five walk-in coolers and two walk-in freezers. The cooking of soups, sauces and protein items accounts for approximately one-third of food preparation and takes place in the production kitchen's cold and hot prep areas. The hot prep area contains three 50-gallon kettles and one 65-gallon steam-jacketed kettle, a smoker, pressure-stacked steamer, two flattop griddles, a char grill and six-burner range, three convection ovens and two combi ovens. Staff later transport products to the various platform stations' refrigerated storage areas as needed.

Nittany Training Table

Among the front-of-the-house dining areas, first is the 160-seat Nittany Training Table, which primarily serves the Penn State football team and staff from August through May. The area also serves as a site for special events and hosts groups attending meetings and courses during the summer months.

"We wanted to create an environment that captures the history of the football program," says Shannon McNutt, interior designer at Mesher Shing McNutt. "We used dark woods and rich wall colors to evoke a nostalgic club feel. We worked closely with Jim Hopey to cull the historical sepia-toned photographs that date back to the 1800s showing the Penn State football story over the decades."

"The athletes tend to dine separate from the other students because they have special needs," says Hopey. "Athletes work with a registered dietitian so they eat enough high-quality protein, complex carbohydrates, fresh fruit and vegetables and consume a lot of beverages. They're not big on desserts."

On one side of the Nittany Training Table area, a straight-line serving station — the only straight line that still exists in Pollock — allows the customers to move through quickly. Drop-in cold pans contain fresh fruit and vegetables. "The healthy items are first on the line," Hopey says. The line's centerpiece, a charbroiler, cooks steaks, chops, chicken and fish. The 12 drop-in hot pans hold potatoes, rice and vegetables. A carving station in the middle of the line showcases proteins such as turkey, roast beef and pork loin.

The pasta cooker on the straight-line Training Table serving station is in constant use. Staff use the cooker to retherm pasta that has been prepared in the production kitchen, and then drain it and top it with hot pasta sauce and cheese.

The horseshoe-shaped area of the line contains self-service equipment including a refrigerated case for salads and a self-serve drop-in freezer for yogurt and sherbet. Another carving station sits in the middle of the horseshoe, surrounded by display cases for bread, bagels and muffins, a toaster, microwave oven and induction cookers for omelets and Asian stir-fries.