The Foundry offers new dining hall experience, composting opportunity

Samantha Ye

After a major summer renovation, the former Corbett and Parmelee Dining Centers have officially been reborn in the form of The Foundry, a single food-hall-inspired dining center with eight micro-restaurants.

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  • The newly opened Foundry is a combined version of Corbett and Parmalee’s dining halls. (Mackenzie Boltz | Collegian)

  • The newly opened Foundry is a combined version of Corbett and Parmalee’s dining halls. (Mackenzie Boltz | Collegian)

  • The newly opened Foundry is a combined version of Corbett and Parmalee’s dining halls. (Mackenzie Boltz | Collegian)

  • The newly opened Foundry is a combined version of Corbett and Parmalee’s dining halls. (Mackenzie Boltz | Collegian)

  • The newly opened Foundry is a combined version of Corbett and Parmalee’s dining halls. (Mackenzie Boltz | Collegian)

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The micro-restaurants—Piatto, 1870, Comida Con Sabor, Theory, Root, The Creamery, Kosher Bistro and Passport—each feature menus based on a different theme.

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The Foundry’s menu:

1870: comfort foods which honor CSU’s roots as an agricultural university

Piatto: Italian street food, including pizzas made-to-order and a create-your-own pasta bar

Theory: An ever-changing pop-up menu of unique foods

Root: Vegan, vegetarian, and sustainable menu items

Passport: A wide range of different international cuisines each day

Comida Con Sabor: Made-to-order Mexican dishes and a fresh tortilla maker

The Creamery: Different desserts and ice cream,courtesy of Walrus Ice Cream

Kosher Bistro: this previously existing eatery received a new look and a fresh Kosher menu

Meal swipes still work the same as the other all-you-can-eat dining halls: a single swipe gets entrance into The Foundry and students can move freely between the micro-restaurants.

The redesign was inspired by the “fast casual” trends in commercial food service and universities, Director of Dining Services Liz Poore wrote in an email to The Collegian. Micro restaurants are also intended to offer flexibility built into the actual stations, so as students taste change over time so can try the different food venues.

“The food quality was so important and raising the expectation of fresh made-in-(front)-of-you concepts is something we aspire to,” Poore wrote. “The chefs worked very hard to give it variety with weekly changing menus. Making students happy with their overall dining experience while making sure the food was flavorful, global and fresh made was important to the dining team.”

The Foundry itself is a blend of old and new with a variety of seating options, more high ceilings and cement floors to give the hall a “roughed-up” feel, Poore wrote.

dining hall schedule
The Foundry’s dining hours generally align with those of the other dining halls and it offers late night options Sunday through Thursday. (Image courtesy of Amber Sanchez)

Its dining hours generally align with those of the other dining halls and it offers late night options Sunday through Thursday.

Also new is the Pawnee Grassland Room which is a private seating area of 48 seats, reservable for meetings and lunch, Poore wrote.

The room design was inspired by local Native American heritage and nearby grasslands, Poore wrote. In time, more wall paintings and a set of regalia created by Cheryl Iron, the first Native American graduate of CSU’s Design and Merchandising program, will be placed inside.

In addition to bringing new services, the redesign showcases more environmentally friendly materials and architectural structure.

“We’ve done quite a bit to make the space a little more attuned to the nature, more energy efficient, and really showcasing how reclaimed, recycled materials can be utilized,” said Tonie Miyamoto, director of communications and sustainability.

The Foundry also houses the campus’ first biodigester. Other dining halls truck food waste to a composting facility on the Foothills Campus, but unlike traditional composting, a biodigester uses bacteria to break down food waste on site, Miyamoto said.

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As the campus composting system grows, this is an opportunity to test how the biodigester compares to traditional composting and see if it is a viable option to help meet campus demand, Miyamoto said.

Currently, the completed renovation project is on track for LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, Miyamoto said.

The renovation started in March as part of a larger $11.2 million project which included a remodel of the Corbett lounge and lobby, according to SOURCE.

Poore wrote that the funding came from University saving reserves, making a “design-build” method of construction the best choice to keep the project on budget and get the hall ready by the fall semester.

Design-build projects have the project designer and construction services work together from the start under a single entity, as opposed to the traditional method of contracting them separately, according to the Design-Build Institute of America. This method allows projects to be tailored to a specific budget and streamlines the construction process.

“When a project starts and operations must be closed you have to think of the students first, and how this is going to impact their lives and studies,” Poore wrote. “Anytime you can minimize the impact on the students it is the best choice.”

Collegian reporter Samantha Ye can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samxye4.