AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts has won one of the 2007 “Best Concepts” awards from Food Management magazine for the renovation and upgrade of the Berkshire Dining Commons. The annual award program recognizes exceptional achievement in key areas of noncommercial food service.
The magazine called the Berkshire Dining Commons renovation “a highly stylized, multi-station, food-forward eatery that has significantly upgraded dining on campus.” It says the facility is highly flexible and its food stations are specifically designed to be adapted over time for a variety of cuisines, preparatory and serving styles and customer flows.
Ken Toong, director of dining and retail services at UMass says, “We are thrilled and honored to receive this prestigious award. This one belongs to a team that includes the architects and designers along with managers and the Berkshire staff.”
Berkshire Dining Commons underwent a $13.3-million renovation that was completed in time for the fall 2006 semester. The expanded 26,500-square-foot facility in the Southwest residential area has 800 seats and features a stand-alone vegetarian and vegan station; a salad, fruit and soup bar; restaurant-style hot food stations with rotating cuisine; a made-to-order Pan Asian station; a noodle bar with noodle choices from around the world; a pizza and deli anchored by huge brick ovens that will produce made-to-order pizzas, calzones and sandwiches; a grill station to prepare char-grilled burgers and chicken; a pasta station; an on-site bake shop and a separate grab-n-go station.
The facility hosts live student performances throughout the academic year, dining specials such as a restaurant night, midnight buffet, cupcake bar, steak and lobster night, and holiday celebration meals. Students can dine from 7 a.m. to midnight.
Award winners will be featured in a special section of the July issue of the magazine and will be presented at its annual IDEAS Conference Oct. 30-Nov. 1 in Las Vegas.