Boston University Dining Services upgraded the Granby Commons dining hall on the third floor of the Florence and Chafetz Hillel House over the summer in an effort to enhance the quality and variety of kosher and vegan options available to students, according to Scott Rosario, the marketing director for BU Dining Services.
The upgrades are part of a new dining concept called Fresh Fuel at Granby Commons, Rosario explained. The updated dining room utilizes two kitchens — one kosher and the other vegan. Dining hall workers prepare a menu that contains meat entrees in the kosher kitchen separate from the vegan remainder of the dining room, which includes the vegan kitchen, salad bar and daily dessert offerings.
These kosher and vegan options are compatible with the unique new concept in the dining hall, Rosario wrote in an email.
“The menu has been created specifically for this new style of service,” Rosario wrote, “and many of the recipes will be exclusive to Fresh Fuel at Granby Commons.”
The vegan food options offered at the dining hall are mostly based on local, plant-based foods, he added.
“The menu has been designed to highlight plant-forward cuisine with a focus on recipes that incorporate more plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils and seeds,” Rosario wrote. “The Fresh Fuel menu also incorporates local, sustainable purchases when available.”
Among the additions to the dining hall is a new chef, Reb Eagle, the executive director of BU Hillel, said.
Reactions to the dining hall upgrades have been positive among visitors, Rosario wrote.
“Students are enjoying the increased variety available daily,” he wrote. “The atmosphere in the dining room is very inviting and the views of the Charles River are amazing.”
The inclusive atmosphere has led to the dining hall’s increasing popularity, Eagle added.
“Certainly people who keep kosher, vegans, and everyone who loves the delicious food [are wanted],” Eagle said. “I think people love it. I have only heard great things.”
Ran Chen, a Questrom School of Business senior who works in the dining hall at Granby Commons, said she thinks the improvements make the Hillel dining hall one of the best on campus.
“I do like the changes,” Chen said. “They redecorated a little bit and it looks a lot better now. I think the vegan food has improved a lot. Compared to other dining halls, we’re small and we don’t have as many options, but I honestly like it better than the other places on campus.”
Sebastian Betsch, a School of Education sophomore who also works in the dining hall at Granby Commons, said a lot of attention goes into the preparation of the food in order to ensure that its quality and taste are maintained.
“I just think having to give a little more attention to the way you prepare food makes it turn out better,” Betsch said. “[There is] just something about this place that’s great.
Several students who frequent the Granby Commons dining hall said they think both the facility and the food have improved significantly.
Robin Eisenson, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore who started the Vegan Club at BU, met with fellow members and dining hall staff to provide feedback on the upgrades earlier this week. Eisenson said she loves the improvements because she is guaranteed to get a quality, gourmet vegan option every time she visits.
“Everyone’s expectations were beyond exceeded,” Eisenson said. “No one had a single complaint, and everyone went back for seconds. If I could stay longer, I would not have stopped eating. The unlimited, buffet-style setting is both a blessing and a curse.”
Evan Armacost, a CAS senior, said he likes the upgrades and wishes he had known about the Granby Commons dining hall years ago.
“Maybe it’s just because I became a vegetarian in January, but the plant-based options are wonderful,” Armacost said. “Even the meat and fish options are great. I often wonder where this place has been the past three years.”
Jeff Sagurton, a College of Fine Arts freshman, said he enjoys eating at the Hillel dining hall because of the greater variety of vegan options and the higher quality of the food in general.
“The food is really good and there are a lot of great options,” Sagurton said. “I like the vegan area a lot, although I’m not a vegan. I think this dining hall, and especially the vegan section, is a lot better than the others on campus.”