The do-it-yourself appeal of build-your-own stations makes diners happy with choices.
Director of Resident Dining
Senior General Manager, Nelson Dining Hall
“The fast food station at Nelson Dining Hall, The Wrought Iron Grill, offers build-your-own burgers and chicken sandwiches. In the hot section, we offer the hot toppings: grilled onions, bacon, nacho-style cheese and sautéed mushrooms. Then, in a different area, the burger bar has the cold toppings and condiments. We have cheddar, Swiss and American cheeses, pickles, relish, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, jalapenos and a wide variety of condiments, including honey mustard and barbecue sauce.
“The burger bar has been popular for about four years. About 25 percent of our customers are building their own burgers. Each dining hall has its own specialties. Elsewhere on campus you can get wraps and they have a wok station, but at Nelson, we have burgers and chicken sandwiches. This gives students more choices. Having the choices to make something the way they want it is a good thing. They're able to do what they like with their food.”
General Manager, Dining Services
“Build-it-yourself concepts add value and excitement. Anytime you give students a voice in what they're going to eat, it's popular. We have upscale build-your-own pizza, stir fry, and sometimes pasta.
“At the pizza stations, we prepare the dough ahead of time in the back and let it rise. It's a personal size. Customers find an array of toppings that are set up in a very attractive way. They choose from fresh, local ingredients and the chefs assemble the pizzas in front of them, and then they go through an impinger oven.
“There are two different stir fry stations at two different dining venues. At one exposition station, the chef is higher up, behind glass, and customers say what they want. The stir fry is prepared to order, with flavors from Thai to Chinese. The other stir fry station is a little more hands-on, just because of a different set up. People take what they want with tongs and then give that to the chef.
“For pasta, we par-boil the pasta ahead of time and there are a few types of pasta to choose from. We have vegetables and cheese toppings. The chef cooks the pasta with the chosen ingredients in a sauté pan, and then the pasta dish is given back to the customer. Maybe they chose ravioli with some vegetables, and now they choose between alfredo sauce, marinara, pesto or meat sauce. There is Parmesan cheese at the end, and we also include fresh garlic bread on the side.”