After nearly four months of delay, the De La Guerra Dining Commons will reopen its doors to students Saturday with a completely renovated kitchen and interior layout.
With four available dining commons open — Carrillo, DLG, Ortega and a facility in Francisco Torres Residence Hall — students will not be assigned or restricted to a specific location. The university’s hungry pupils, including those who live at Francisco Torres, will be able to eat at any of the four locations.
“This is really the first year that we’ve had an adequate enough number of seats and facilities open to enable us to offer that to students,” said Judy Edner, Residential Dining Services director.
One of the major changes to the dining commons is the migration from pre-cooked foods stored in heating trays to food that is cooked shortly before students come into eat. Food is also cooked in grills and stoves located directly behind the counter, where students can watch as their meals are readied.
“The idea is you see that our food is prepared fresh,” said Chuck Haines, coordinator for resource planning for Housing and Residential Services.
The De La Guerra Dining Commons closed in June 2002 to undergo structural renovations and seismic upgrades, and was scheduled to reopen in May 2004. The project was delayed by problems obtaining the necessary materials to finish the building’s floorings.
Students will have wider meal choices with the reopening, Haines said.
“There are different areas within [DLG] that have [different] types of food preparation,” he said. “So we’ll have a pasta station where they are tossing pasta or stir-fry. We have a taqueria area where we do all sorts of Mexican food. We have a grill which will feature your traditional burgers, chicken burgers, hot dogs, French fries … and then we have the area called ‘Blue Plate,’ which is more of a traditional residence hall casserole and vegetables.”
Vegetarian and vegan meal options will also be offered and will be labeled accordingly, Haines said.
In addition to changes in floor layout and food choices, De La Guerra will change its hours.
“We took some time looking at what our student trends were and [we found] that many don’t have breakfast,” Haines said.
De La Guerra will only serve lunch and dinner, while a smaller section will be open between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. for students who want a late-night bite to eat.
Edner said the feedback from patrons who attended summer programs and ate at the commons was “fantastic.”
“We’re very excited about what we can offer residents, and I think it puts us back in the very tip-top of college dining programs throughout the country,” she said. “I haven’t been to one that I think is any better than ours.”