The Daily Aztec

On-campus dining gets upgrade

Sarah Smith, Staff Photographer

by Alicia Chavez, Senior Staff Writer

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With a variety of food options around campus, it could be overwhelming for students to narrow their search down to one specific restaurant. While Chipotle, The Habit, Subway and the Aztec Market continue to serve the same, delicious food, the newly renovated University Towers Kitchen is preparing foods different seasons of the year to satisfy any cravings.

San Diego State Dining Services Director Paul Melchior said the only thing that exists from the old building are steel beams that sit as a base for the building.

“We took down the old building which was 50 years old and crumbling, including the plumbing underground,” Melchior said. “We built it from below the floor all the way up.”

Starting from scratch made designing the building easier for SDSU Dining Services to create a restaurant the way they intended to, with a sustainable design. In the past, a wall separated the kitchen from the customer. With the new renovations, customers are able to watch as food is being prepared with nothing to block the view.

Renovating the building also included a new menu full of healthier food options. The many chefs who work from behind the counter start every meal from scratch, no processed foods are used.

“It’s all designed so we can buy whole ingredients,” Melchior said. “As those ingredients move forward, they go through a processing phase, which all leads to a continuous menu change.”

Associate Director and Executive Chef for Aztec Shops Ed Glebus said the heart of the UTK is the food. For every menu, the chefs work hard to make sure nothing goes to waste.

“A lot of the stuff we start with are whole grains and whole vegetables,” said Glebus. “What we do from there is take trimmings from that and utilize everything that we have coming in.”

The most popular item at the UTK is a flatbread pizza, in which students can customize the different toppings to their personal preferences. More importantly, the dough used for these flatbread pizzas is made from the bakery located on campus. The bake shop prepares the dough every day from scratch in order to maintain the artisan look and taste.

The UTK is also creating a variety of high-quality side salads that are a little untraditional.

“We are using grains like quinoa, amaranth and wheat berries to give students the option besides fries,” Glebus said.

Along with the reonovation, there is also a new, digital menu, making it easier for the chefs to create a flexible dish.

The restaurant not only serves the customers savory needs, but also serves the food right to the customer’s table.

The UTK just received a Green-Restaurant Certificate, a certification SDSU Dining Services is hoping every restaurant will receive in the future.

Over the summer, SDSU Dining Services opened ten parking spots designates for UTK guests in the hopes that more students from around the area will stop by.

“I want the UTK to be more than a residential dining hall,” Melchior said. “I want to get the neighbor excited for it.”

As far as the food, Melchior said his personal favorites are the flatbreads, because of the variety. Glebus said the UTK burger is a solid dish and is his favorite item to order when at the UTK.

“This place is still in its infant stages and the crew is getting stronger and stronger with every day,”Melchior said. “Students can look forward to coming here and might not know what is on the menu, but know that it is going to be good.”

Students can like and follow SDSU Dining on Facebook and Pinterest for mouth-watering photos of the items served in the restuarant.

 

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