Rathskeller closed last August following a water main break that flooded the basement level eatery and caused severe damages to equipment, furniture and merchandise. It will reopen this fall, according to Dining Services officials.
Student employees at Rathskeller have continued to work at Dutch Hollow or have resigned their jobs until Rathskeller reopens. Rathskeller supervisors Patti Quinn and David Wheele are currently working at other dining locations.
In response to the temporary closing of Rathskeller, Dutch Hollow has added Rathskeller favorites, such as macaroni and cheese, to its menu. During the winter, the Ushi Bar provided a slider bar that was open every weeknight, but it has been dis- continued this term. Dutch Hollow hours have also been extended on the weekends to make up for the lack of late- night dining options after Rathskeller closed.
Rathskeller’s planned reopening this term was delayed due to unexpected construction issues. General Manager of Dining Services David Gaul commented that the construction took longer than expected because they had to address subfloor, steam pipe and water issues as they began digging the floor. The construction team is currently in the process of pour- ing the new floor.
Gaul stated that Rathskeller heavily relies on student employment. Rathskeller could have opened during the last two weeks of spring term, but Dining Services thought it was unlikely that students would have wanted to work during their final exams. “It was a very short window to force an opening of Rathskeller, so we wanted to wait until next term for an opening,” explained Gaul.
Union students should expect a grand opening of Rathskeller in the fall term, which will include a vendor fair. There will be different taste samples from vendors, such as Monster Beverage and Sweet Baby Ray’s products.
Gaul added that Rathskeller has undergone renovations to adopt a more “contemporary” atmosphere. He has worked closely with the architect to develop a “neat place that resembles an English pub.” He also held two student focus groups to discuss new ideas for dining options and changes of the architect for Rathskeller.
The cash register will be near the entrance and the service counter will be located at the back of the building. Gaul said that the reoriented space would create faster service for students.
Gaul also plans to hold Buzztime trivia on certain days to create the opportunity for students to socialize with each other.
Rathskeller will have new additions to its menu. Gaul said that students should expect fresh, all-natural and no-preservatives smoothies and fruit juices options. They are currently confirming a smoothies vendor. The menu will also have healthy options, and Dining Services is trying to improve their gluten-free, kosher and vegan food offerings.
During the fall term, Rathskeller will be testing a breakfast option. There will be quick-serve options, such as wrapped breakfast sandwiches, coffee, yogurt and fruit orders. “This will hopefully help reduce congestion during breakfast at Dutch Hollow. There will be less frustration on the waiting time for students,” Gaul added.
Gaul hopes to introduce a new afternoon bakery component to Rathskeller, since Union already has a bakery on campus. The Dining Services team is currently producing a list of afternoon pastries.
Rathskeller is a student space, established on Dec. 2, 1949 by Union students and administration. It was originally a bar but has been transformed over the years. Gaul wants to maintain the authentic Rathskeller atmosphere, as there are only a few colleges in the country that have spaces like Rathskeller. Gaul said that there will be photographs of the old space hanging on the walls.
The construction team also salvaged the mural wall and the large round table that was placed in front of it.
Students have been anxiously awaiting the reopening of Rathskeller, because it has always been a place for social gatherings. Conor Carey ‘15 noted, “Rathskeller was the most fun restaurant on campus to hang out at. I’m sad it will reopen after I leave.”
Gaul concluded, “We are excited for Rathskeller’s reopening as much as students are excited. We are very grateful that everyone is so patient and understanding of it. Come this fall, when it does open, we would love to see what everyone thinks of the new Rathskeller.” He encourages students to use the Dining Services website and talk to supervisors and managers to give feedback.