By Kaye Burnet | The Duquesne Duke
Parkhurst Dining Services will continue its partnership with Duquesne next year after making changes in menu, payment methods, and the redesign of the Off-Ramp.
According to Parkhurst district manager David Manz, the Off-Ramp food court will receive a face-lift over the summer to look more like the Nite Spot and less “like a dungeon.”
“The whole area will be brighter and more up-to-date,” Manz said. “Construction will begin after spring graduation and end on Aug. 20. The entire space will be gutted.”
A brick oven will be installed in the Off-Ramp’s pizza station, and the Salads by Design station will be made twice as large. Next fall, Off-Ramp will sell soups and a wider selection of on-the-go foods, such as salads and wraps.
The floors, walls, color scheme and seating will match the commuter lounge and Nite Spot, which were renovated last year.
Next fall, the menu for the Red Ring will offer more “bistro items,” according to Manz. Manz said the menu will grow to match The Porch, a restaurant in Oakland owned by Parkhurst, and will include additional salads and sandwiches.
Options food court will receive a new salad bar and will offer more meal swipe combos.
Parkhurst emphasizes its use of fresh, local-grown food, and Manz said that will not change in the future.
“Next year, I think students will see an increase in our local food sourcing,” Manz said.
The Allergy-Safe Zone in the Hogan Dining center will also be expanded to offer more options to students with eating restrictions.
“More and more, we are seeing allergies being a concern for parents and students looking at Duquesne. By expanding our Allergy Zone, we hope to stay ahead of the curve,” Manz said.
Earlier this year, Parkhurst received several complaints about catering price increases and the disappearance of hoagies at the Off-Ramp. While prices were not significantly altered, the traditional hoagies were quickly reinstated at the pizza station.
Other complaints against the food service have included meal swipe combos outside the Hogan Dining Center and the limited use of flex dollars.
“One complaint we got frequently was that students could not use flex dollars at the Culinary Cab,” Manz said.
As a result, the food truck will be taking flex next year, along with the food court in the A.J. Palumbo Center.
“We hope that offering flex options in the Palumbo Center could even increase student attendance at games,” Manz said.
Despite some complaints, Manz said Parkhurst’s first year at Duquesne was a success. Parkhurst took over for Aramark as the University’s main food service provider before the fall semester.
According to Manz, the biggest accomplishment this year was bettering the service in Duquesne’s biggest dining location.
“We are most proud of the improvements we have made in daily student dining at the Father Hogan Dining Center,” Manz said. “When we arrived, there was not a lot of food quality or variety or healthy options. I think we’ve changed that.”
Manz thinks students will continue to see better service.
“We’re just scratching the surface,” Manz said. “We will continue to grow and improve at Duquesne.”