New Dining Hall Headlines a Menu of Updates for Hungry Terps
Photos by John T. Consoli
Terps ready to dig into the fall semester will find a new main course on the menu of on-campus dining locations.
Yahentamitsi, meaning “a place to go to eat” in the Algonquian language spoken by the Piscataway people, is debuting as the University of Maryland’s first new dining hall built in nearly 50 years. Part of the Heritage Community, which also includes Pyon-Chen and the newly opened Johnson-Whittle residence halls, the 60,000-square-foot Yahentamitsi replaces the recently closed North Campus Dining Hall (aka The Diner).
The facility is just one of the updates Dining Services has cooked up around campus for the new semester. Here’s what you need to know:
Hungry Terps have options galore to satisfy their cravings at Yahentamitsi, which offers 11 major food stations and everything from all-day breakfast to gluten-free goodies and sports-bar-like grub accompanying expansive stadium views.
“There’s a lot of custom cooking and custom assembling,” said Bart Hipple, assistant director of marketing and communication for Dining Services. That includes made-to-order omelets, a huge salad bar and internationally inspired cuisines.
The new building also features floor-to-ceiling glass and hyper-efficient dishwashing and refrigeration technology, and Dining Services applied for a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification. And to honor the Piscataway people, on whose ancestral lands UMD stands, artwork and other educational materials representing the tribe will hang throughout the hall.
Dining Services also freshened up UMD’s other two dining halls. 251 North patrons will find updated food stations, like a smash burger area, a Buffalo mac ‘n’ cheese bar, a build-your-own burrito and taco grill, a grain bowl station and a Maryland Dairy outpost for handcrafted, campus-themed ice cream. At the South Campus Dining Hall, Dining Services reorganized the gazebo dining room and transformed one of the upper rooms into a lounge area with soft seating.
All three dining halls will offer “Anytime Dining,” remaining open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. for students to choose all they care to eat. So while there won’t be a takeout option, implemented during peak COVID-19, students can come to a dining hall any number of times per day for dine-in experiences, and fresh, portable food is available at cafés and convenience shops around campus.
And Dining Services is “continuing to monitor current protocols to ensure food safety,” Hipple said. Dining halls have handwashing and sanitizing stations, and a regular rotation of serving utensils helps ensure cleanliness.
Beyond the dining halls, 10 campus cafés broaden options further this fall, including a new offering in the E.A. Fernandez IDEA (Innovate, Design and Engineer for America) Factory, a high-tech hub for research and innovation that opened earlier this year. Called IDEA Central, the eatery features healthy options like grain bowls, yogurt parfaits and custom salads. Terps can enjoy their selections out on the second-floor patio.
Also new since last spring is the South Campus Market’s café and late-night grill, open until midnight with fried fare like chicken tenders, wings and fries. Dining Services is planning a similar grill on North Campus to open sometime in the spring.
At the Stamp Student Union, pizza lovers can now grab a custom pie at Union Pizza, which opened this summer and has similar artisanal-pie vibes to MOD or Blaze Pizza, Hipple said. And for those wondering about the much-anticipated Panera Bread, that’s slated to open sometime in the spring.
Dining Services has made it easier than ever for Terps to ensure what they’re eating fits with their dietary restrictions or preferences. Menus from each dining hall are posted two weeks in advance at nutrition.umd.edu, which got a facelift over the summer to make the site more user-friendly.
Diners can set filters to see what offered foods are vegan, vegetarian, gluten- or dairy-free, halal-certified, and more. “Before, (the program) worked, but it was very old-school-looking,” Hipple said. “We made it a lot easier to get the information. I think it’s really, really cool.”
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