March 8, 2011

Pub may switch from Medici to dining services

The campus watering hole may come under new management as part of the Global Dining Initiative (GDI), an ongoing, holistic evaluation of the campus dining services.

Four food service providers Aramark, SugarPlum Catering, Bon Apétit, and Sodexo have been asked by campus dining administrators to make recommendations on how they would operate the Pub, the University’s bar in the basement of Ida Noyes.

Although the University owns the Pub and its liquor license, it is currently operated by HWM Corporation, the same company that runs the Medici restaurant and bakery.

The GDI, which began this autumn, aims to look at all campus dining services and see how to “integrate its parts, which have been very decentralized,” according to director of Campus Dining Richard Mason.

The integration initiative focuses on residential dining halls, campus cafés and student markets run by the University. It also includes the Pub, which is the only University facility that serves alcohol as central to its business and requires a $10 membership for all visitors.

When dining administrators sent a request for proposals to possible service providers in late January, it included a section asking each company to examine the Pub’s niche on campus and make recommendations for how it can better serve the student community.

“We told them about the Pub today and asked them to come to us with what they feel is the best way that the Pub fits... We will evaluate their recommendations,” Mason said.

Two Aramark managers met with Student Government president and fourth-year Greg Nance Friday to talk about the Pub’s role on campus. “They were curious about the campus buzz and I did my best to give them the lay of the land,” Nance said.

Nance’s own recommendations: make food cheaper and serve it later. “I like going to the Pub every once in a while and I think that the grill could stay open an hour or an hour and a half later,” he said. “I’ve been hearing that from a lot of students who like eating there.”

Nance welcomes a new operator for the Pub, as long as they respect the tradition and culture of the area. “It would be a shame if they redecorated with Aramark gear, but I don’t see them doing that,” he said.

Although the process is in the “quiet period,” proposals should be coming in soon and the University will make its final agreements on July 1, Mason added.