The Forbes Family Cafè features a menu of rotating, International comfort foods.
The Stata Center
MIT's new Ray and Maria Stata Center, opened last winter, stands as a contemporary-monument to the school's technological and inter-disciplinary traditions and serves as a cultural center for the Cambridge campus. Designed by architect Frank O. Gehry, the Center replaces historic Building 20 which for 55 years was known as MIT's "innovation incubator" for teams investigating everything from WWII radar to nuclear science, cosmic radiation and microwave communication.
Still a hub of student activity, research and campus community-building, the complex is composed of two buildings (the William H. Gates Building and the Alexandra W. Dreyfoos Building) and houses an auditorium, meeting and classrooms, a child-care facility, a fitness center, indoor and outdoor gathering places and parking and service facilities.
Retail foodservices are provided on the first floor via the Forbes Family Cafè, which is strategically located at the crossroads of a busy "Student Street" that winds along its first floor (see view from above at opening of this story).
Limited seating is available at the servery, with more situated at various points of the 300 yard-long "street."With over 2,000 transactions a day, food offerings are "designed around a menu of rotating, international comfort foods," says Berlin. High volume outlets include an espresso and pastry bar, a hand-rolled sushi and Asian station, a full deli, a stone oven pizzeria, a hot entrèe line and fully stocked grab-and-go displays. Customers move through the space in separate "lanes," he adds.
"It's designed to operate like a parking lot: you pull up to stations you wish to stop at, or move right by to a different station or a register. To streamline operations, we encourage the purchase of made-to-order signature sandwiches that can be assembled quickly from established ingredients, so customers don't have to select them, although they can if they wish to."
On the fourth floor of the Center, Sodexho also operates the faculty lunch room with daily buffet service between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Reserved exclusively for MIT Faculty, researchers, lecturers and their guests, it is housed in a contemporary, multi-level space with china and linen table dress. The menu offers an mix of ethnic and comfort foods and beverage service provided by wait staff.
At 4 PM, the same space is re-opened to the wider MIT community (over 21) as the R&D pub, offering additional impromptu seating and a casual menu that includes cruditè, fruit and cheese, sushi and personal pizzas. Beverages include beer and wine, soft drinks, tea, and coffee.
Sodexho manages food production for both the Forbes Cafè and the fourth floor facilities in a basement prep area, transporting prepared foods and ingredients to finishing areas via elevator.