Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee taste-tested menu items for the Brodhead Center's new Latin restaurant at its meeting Thursday evening. 

Director of Dining Services Robert Coffey and Aris Marton, assistant director of retail operations for Duke Dining, approached the Brenen's Restaurant Group to put together a sample Latin American menu. The group already runs Il Forno, an Italian eatery in the Brodhead Center. 

At the tasting event, Scott Morse, owner of the group, said that they want to make their food “as authentic as possible.” The menu included arepas, tacos, empanadas and beef and chicken skewers. 

“We’re excited about the Latin American cuisine—it’s been my favorite [food] forever,” Morse said. 

He noted that their goal is to “combine speed and efficiency with quality.”

Kyle Rosch, director of operations for the group, added that they were very open to feedback on their menu and to student suggestions. He explained how they want to create a menu that encompasses students’ favorite recipes from home.

“We want to know what you all like,” he said.

After the tasting event, Ted Van Dyk, Trinity '83 and architect for New City Design Group, presented the plans for the new restaurant’s venue. The Latin cuisine restaurant will be placed where Il Forno’s sandwich and salad stations are currently located. Van Dyk highlighted design furnishings, such as “authentic hand painted tiles,” that would be used to create a space that fits the food.

Other renovations

In addition to the Latin restaurant, Van Dyk also shared plans for three other renovations that will take place this summer.

McDonald's in the Bryan Center will receive a new store front, and there are also plans to redo the seating outside of the venue, Van Dyk said. Joe Van Gogh will also get a “face lift” this summer, Coffey added. 

Van Dyk described the Joe Van Gogh renovation as a “clean up job.” The plans include a large doorway with more space for the queue inside the cafe, and a new background wall featuring an image of a Vincent van Gogh painting. 

He also presented blueprints for Red Mango’s new location in Wilson Gym, the space which Quenchers currently occupies. The renovation will include a wooden exterior wall and new furniture. 

Van Dyk emphasized how these changes will “warm things up, and soften it up a bit” in contrast to the cement interior of the gym, making the venue a “more enjoyable place to be.”

“We’re to make it look more like a real place,” he said.

Coffey noted that they are still exploring vendors to replace Red Mango in the Bryan Center. 

He noted that Duke Dining has reached out to several vendors, including Insomnia Cookies, Monuts and Daisy Cakes. However, the unique shape of the space limits the vendors that would fit into Red Mango’s old location, Coffey said.