The art of dining

Published 11:44 pm Friday, September 23, 2011

Awe-inspiring architecture and plenty of dining options are part of the appeal of the new Trojan Dining facility which opens on campus today. The $15 million faclity includes seats more than 1,000 patrons and includes seven different dining venues, an executive dining room as well as two community reooms available for rent. It will be open seven days a week. (Photo/Troy University, Kevin Glackmeyer)

Troy University debuts dining hall today

Dr. Jim Bookout, senior vice chancellor for finance and business affairs at Troy University, had no qualms about placing a tall order.

He told the architects for the new university dining facility that Troy University wanted the finest dining facility in the country.

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“The architect asked if we could afford the finest dining facility in the country,” Bookout said with a smile. “He didn’t understand the Troy way. We couldn’t afford not to have the finest dining facility in the country.”

Workers were busy Thursday putting the final touches on “the finest dining facility in the country.”

Bookout is confident of that.

“When you walk into Trojan Dining, I think you’ll have to agree,” he said. “It is a magnificent facility.”

A dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for Trojan Dining will be at 11:30 a.m. today and at noon, the facility will be open for business.

“When people walk into this dining facility, they will be amazed,” Bookout said. “It is a facility that the entire university family and the Troy community can take pride in. It is state-of-the-art. And, you will not find a larger size single facility on any university campus.”

The total cost of Trojan Dining pushes $15 million with construction cost at $11.7 million. The general contractor was Whaley Construction of Troy.

Financing for the project was part of a $62.7 million bond issue, which includes funding for the construction of Fraternity Village, a university housing project and Trojan Arena.

The Trojan Dining facility will seat 1070, employ 111 people including four chefs and be open seven days a week except during university semester breaks.

The building’s first floor will feature a commercial kitchen, four “all-you-can-eat” creative dining venues, one retail dining venue and exterior courtyard.

The second floor of the building has one “all-you-can-eat” dining venue, one retail dining venue, an exclusive dining restaurant and two civic meeting rooms, one that will be available for booking and meals will be catered there. It will seat 77.

There will be a dining venue for faculty and staff.

The university dining facility was planned for a homogenous society with contemporary diversity.

Bookout said the dining venues are unique in that each will create a different dining atmosphere.

“Several of the venues will be unique to the Troy University campus,” he said. “The venues will provide a variety dining opportunities and ones that appeal to different dining preferences.”

Moe’s Southwest Grill and Boar’s Head Deli retail venues are expected to be very popular with students and visitors to the campus.

The all-you-can-eat venues will always attract a crowd. Bella Trattoria will feature brick oven pizzas and pastas. The Wild Mushroom will offer soups and salads and bakery items are the specialty of Basic Kneads.

The Flying Star will feature a daily “meat and three” menu. On Thursday nights, the Flying Star will feature fried chicken and, on Friday nights, catfish.

“The chicken and catfish will be fried in peanut oil and it is delicious,” Bookout said.

Magellan’s offers an international cuisine with a variety of options.

A best-kept Trojan Dining secret is the Troy Dessert that is being created by one of the chefs.

Bookout would only say that it will include some type of red pudding. He might have twisted an arm to make sure that happens.

Trojan Dining will feature great food and it will also be a showplace for the university.

The dining facility spotlights flags from each of the countries represented on campus.

“Can you imagine what it would be like to be in a foreign country and walk into a university dining facility and see the American flag displayed,” Bookout said. “We want our international students to experience that feeling.”

Flags representing all branches of the military are also displayed and include a POW/MIA flag.

Trojan Dining features a fountain and courtyard, a 20- by 40-foot campus mural, other original artwork and many surprises that are being kept under wrap until noon today.

“Trojan Dining will be the place where students hangout most often,” Bookout said. “In addition to the wide variety of dining options, there is also a digital system with 12 zones and thirty-five 50-inch televisions and 206 speakers.

“We will have the ability to broadcast eight different programs at the same time. So, Trojan Dining will be a popular place to hang out.”

However, Bookout said that the Trojan Center Food Court will remain a dining option and a gathering place for students and faculty.

“I would think that for the first few months, you might be able to hear crickets at the Trojan Center. But we are creatures of habit and convenience. Students will frequent the place that is more convenient. If they have classes on the Trojan Center side of the campus, they will dine and gather there.”

All of the eateries that are currently operating at the Trojan Center will remain open. In addition, a Papa John’s Pizza and Stone Cold Creamery that features ice cream and yogurt will be added to the food court options.

“The dining options at Troy University will be many and varied,” Bookout said. “Troy University is continually planning for the future and for the growth of the campus. Trojan Dining is just one facility in our plans.”

Trojan Dining is open to the public on a daily basis. However, everyone is invited to make Trojan Dining a part of the game day experience at Troy University.