Renovations in Carney’s dining hall in McElroy Commons, which is the main dining hall for freshmen living on Upper Campus, have been delayed until January. In the meantime, Carney’s has a new temporary layout.
“We’ve done a complete remodel, so the whole layout of the servery is completely different, it’s much more open than it ever was,” Megan O’Neill, associate director of McElroy, said. “Unfortunately, based on the world right now with COVID and supplies—being able to get equipment and millwork and things of that nature—we’re not going to be able to open until January 2022.”
As the remodel is underway, BC Dining has erected a temporary servery in the dining hall for the remainder of this semester. The servery features three stations along the length of the back wall, one of them being the Chestnut Hill Grill.
“We continued on what we did during COVID which was a fan favorite … the Chestnut Hill Grill that was gluten-free,” general manager of McElroy Mike Forcier said.
In addition to the grill, Forcier said BC Dining is going to run more popular items on the other two lines.
“We picked our fan favorites and … we’re starting off with running them on two lines, but probably in a month we’re going to go to three different lines and all three will be separate,” Forcier said.
The temporary structure resembles future plans for the servery, with the stations lined up at the back of the wall and registers located where students order food—instead of having a separate line to pay.
“It’s going to be four different stations … They’re going to be the length of the dining room, the linear length of the dining room along the back wall,” Forcier said. “The major difference going forward is you’re going to get your food and pay right at that same register.”
At the first station, Forcier said they will have their “cook to order” station with gas burners. This could feature Mexican food or a fresh pasta toss where you pick your own vegetables and they are cooked for you. The station will also feature a brand new pizza oven.
“We got a really cool new pizza oven that the bricks in it come from Italy, it’s really beautiful,” Forcier said. “It’s gorgeous.”
The second station will be a flat grill that will have eggs and an omelet station in the morning, and at night will have meals cooked on a flat top grill—notably the popular flat top burgers.
Station three is Chestnut Hill Grill, which will serve both lunch and dinner and offer options for gluten-free students.
“It’s a gluten-friendly Chestnut Hill Grill so chicken, steak, everything on there is gluten-friendly, so we do different pastas over there now like mac and cheese or bolognese,” Forcier said.
BC Dining is still deciding what the fourth station will be for dinner, but for lunch it will feature the greens from Eagle’s Nest downstairs. Some options it is considering for dinner include offering salads at night, comfort foods, or a line dedicated to duplicating another popular station that night.
Overall, the renovations will be very different, according to Forcier.
“It’s going to be a completely different style of service than typically we have done on campus, it’s a new style for us,” Forcier said.
Eagles Nest will also see some changes in January as the greens options are set to move upstairs—dining is considering bringing popular “upstairs” dishes down to Eagles Nest. For now, Eagle’s Nest has been brought back to its pre-COVID operations, with customizable bowls or salads, a full deli, soups, and bakery and beverage cases.
“It’s super popular and the lines are very long,” Forcier said. “It’s by far the busiest place on campus for lunch. So we think that anybody who’s a junior or senior that is excited that Eagle’s Nest is coming back is going to be thrilled because that was the thing that was missed the most on campus when we had to go down to COVID service.”
With the ongoing renovations in Carney’s, Forcier said some students might be going down to Lower Dining because it has more variety, causing the longer lines many students have been noticing over the past week.
If students are hoping to see other locations open, like the Chocolate Bar or Coro Cafe, they should consider working for BC Dining as the locations need more employees to open, according to O’Neill.
“If they want to see some of their favorite venues open across campus, go work for dining and maybe we can get some of them open sooner,” she said.
According to Forcier, getting enough student employees is tough at the start of every year, but this year is particularly tough because of the lack of returning workers due to the pandemic.
“We didn’t have our normal full allotment of students last year for returners, so we almost had to start from scratch this year,” Forcier said.
Despite having to start over, BC Dining is confident and hopeful that they will get all the students they need in the coming weeks, Forcier said.
“We’re actively recruiting for, you know, our benefit employees and we’re actively recruiting for students,” Forcier said.
One way they are recruiting is by giving away free drinks at CoRo Cafe in the next few days in hopes that students will stop by and apply for the job.
BC Dining is also offering job opportunities for events on campus, including Pops on the Heights and Commencement and Reunion Weekend. At these events, employees will earn $18 an hour, a free meal, and have a flexible schedule, according to a BC Dining Instagram post.
Overall, O’Neill said that BC Dining’s goals this year included allowing as much customization as possible for students and creating an enjoyable, interactive experience for both customers and staff.
“Food is love,” O’Neill said. “Dining is a place where students come to have an enjoyment and be with their friends and their, you know, family, right, and so we’re excited to be a part of that and to continue to grow and offer a nice place for students to come and delicious food with a staff that are happy to be here.”
Update 9/4/21 11:08 a.m.: This article has been updated to include information regarding lack of student employment.
Update 9/7/21 2:08 p.m.: This article has been updated to include information regarding BC Dining job opportunities for certain events on campus.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor