News, On Campus

BC Students Enjoy Pop-Up Event “Patio at Walsh”

Heights Catering surprised students with Taco Tuesday outside Walsh Hall on the afternoon of Feb. 16 at the first installment of a series of pop-up dining sites called “The Patio at Walsh.” 

“We have used these pop-up events as an opportunity to provide something different for the kids who are probably going through some COVID-19 fatigue,” Scott Powers, assistant director of Heights Catering, said. 

BC Dining advertised the taco pop-up stand in an Instagram post on the morning of the event. 

“It was something we had always talked about, but you know, COVID-19 was the thing that pushed us to say ‘Hey, you know, this is the perfect time to do it,”’ Powers said. “We wanted to provide BC students with something fun and exciting.”

Powers said that the new executive chef, Brad Shannon, is the “culinary mastermind” behind the food offerings, which include tacos, loaded tater-tots, and grilled cheese sandwiches. But the pop-up events, which last between two and two and a half hours, are a group effort put on by the whole catering team which brainstorms, tests, and cooks the food served to students, he said. 

“It provides an opportunity for the kids to experience something different, socially distant, outside, and gives us a creativity outlet,” Powers said. 

The catering team was surprised by the popularity of the events, Powers said. Students lined up all the way to the Margot Connell Recreation Center for the opportunity to try that day’s pop-up dish. 

A line for the grilled cheese pop-up event that stretched back to the Margot Connell Recreation Center.

“We went in not knowing what the volume and what the interest would be and we are just trying to up our production to match the demand,” Powers said. 

BC students start lining up half an hour early for The Patio at Walsh to ensure that they get there before supplies run out, according to Powers. The pop-up events serve around 450 people on average. At their taco pop-up event, Heights Catering served over 900 tacos. 

Harrison Wilkes, MCAS ’23, who has attended two of the pop-events so far this semester, said that the high student attendance speaks to the events’ overall success.

“I feel the pop-ups have been such a success to the point they quickly run out of food and have to turn away many disappointed students,” Wilkes said.

Wilkes spoke positively of both of the events he attended, where he got tater-tots and grilled cheese.

“My experience was quite different both times, with the first being a pleasant surprise finding a tater-tot stand outside my room, while the latter was more hyped up and thus attracted a larger crowd,” Wilkes said.

The pop-up format was an important aspect, Powers said, as Heights Catering wanted the events to be something different and exciting for students.

“The reason we wanted to do this was to provide the BC students with something fun,” Powers said. “Put yourself in a students’ experience right now, going to class, being online all the time, not having the regular social outlets that you have. We wanted to provide them with something that was different and something they could look forward to, stumble across.”

A catering employee serves tomato soup at the grilled cheese pop-up.

Olivia Davies, MCAS ’23, said that even though the line for food was very long at the pop-up she attended, the grilled cheese was worth the wait. 

“The pop-up stand was great,” Davies said. “They had multiple options and the food was very tasty! … The line was very long which was an unfortunate part of the experience, but it was exciting to have new, good food to try on campus.”

Students can expect ramen, breakfast food, and hot cocoa bombs as the themes for upcoming events, which will continue to be announced the morning of the pop-ups. 

“We are going to continue to do it as long as we can,” Powers said. “It is something that we want to continue to do into next semester and through the next year.”

Featured Image by Vikrum Singh / Heights Editor

Other Images by Vikrum Singh / Heights Editor

March 14, 2021

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