The Divinity School Refectory opened its doors for dinner for the first time Monday evening.
For The Refectory’s first night, customers enjoyed burritos, sandwiches and tomato basil soup, among other choices. Although the popular dining spot did not draw a large crowd for its first night, Patricia Eder—the owner of Core Catering, Inc., which operates The Refectory—said the eatery has plans to offer more dining options to its customers.
“The students are here for the education and the college experience, and if we can provide a positive memorable part of that through their dining, then we’re doing what we’re supposed to do,” Eder said.
Eder said she will institute theme nights to provide more options to customers. Current themes include a Southern night—which would offer “comfort foods” such as macaroni and cheese and collard greens—as well as a Mexican night and possibly a Mediterranean night.
The Refectory will try to serve food based on customer feedback, Eder said. There are bookmarks on each table that allow customers to rate the service, quality of their meals and their favorite foods. Eder said if a certain food appears to be popular based on customer responses, The Refectory will offer that food more frequently.
Many students noted that The Refectory’s decision to open for dinner will help give students more options now that the West Union has closed.
“I feel like we have limited options, but I’m glad that they’re making accommodations for solving it,” sophomore Annie Apple said.
Although The Refectory provides the Duke community with another dining venue, students noted there is still a lack of diversity in the food offered across campus.
Andre Aganbi, a junior, said most of the food served on campus is either soup or sandwiches and was disappointed that The Refectory was offering a similar selection.
Senior Jonathan Hafferkamp echoed this sentiment.
“I didn’t know what to expect at dinner,” he said. “I thought that there would be more options.”
Although The Refectory will provide another dining option for students at dinnertime, the extension of hours was not actually intended to compensate for the removal of old dining venues, Eder said.
“If we can alleviate that [problem], then we’re happy to do that,” she said.