UVA Today’s Matt Kelly reports (photos by Aileen Beringer):
Marco Polo had to go all the way to Cathay to get a bowl of good noodles. University of Virginia students now need only go to Newcomb Hall.
“In the Nood,” a new noodle bar, has been added to the dining options of the new dining facilities in Newcomb Hall.
The bar opened for a few hours at lunch Thursday for a shake-down cruise, all staff on deck, cooking the variety of noodle dishes, many for the first time. University staff and faculty filled the room ordering a wide variety of noodle dishes at the register, then taking their seats. Servers brought the dishes to their tables, though once the shop is up and running, dinners will get a buzzer to alert them that their order is ready.
“We want to practice the menu items,” said Nicole Jackson, marketing manager for U.Va. Dining and Aramark Higher Education.“They want feedback so they can practice over the weekend.”
The noodle bar, which officially opened today, will offer sit-down dining for 36 and take-away service, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and then from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday. It will be closed Saturday and Sunday.
The menu, under the direction of chef/manager Jennifer Palmer, includes comfort food such as lobster mac & cheese; Asian dishes such as pad thai, ramen noodles and peanut red curry with cellophane noodles; and Mediterranean dishes such as fettuccine carbonara and steamed mussel vermicelli.
The Soup & Salad menu has a cold noodle salad, a pear walnut Bibb salad and a Chinese chopped salad. There are appetizers, including pierogies, bruschetta and dumplings and a selection of cheesecakes for dessert.
“It’s all about choice and flexibility of decisions,” Jackson said.
The concept was developed by a group of McIntire School of Commerce fourth-year students in 2010, as part of a class project. Jackson said the students were presented with the challenge of developing a retail food outlet at Newcomb as a complement to the residential dining service. She said while some student groups proposed franchises of the existing chains, one group proposed a noodle bar, which became the foundation of In the Nood.
“I think this is cool,” said Brent Beringer, director of Dining Services, as he surveyed the room of taste testers gathered Thursday. “I love the look and the feel of it. It’s only the first day so we are still developing the recipes.”
Drawing on his own culinary expertise, Beringer himself contributed some of those recipes from his personal collection, including the fettucine carbonara entrée and goat cheese and marinara appetizer.
“It’s visually fun and bright,” said Mary Hughes, the University’s landscape architect. “The noodles could have used a few more spices, but the presentation is nice.”
“The vegetables are fresh and crispy,” said Connie Warnock, assistant University architect. “And I would go to any meal with Brent Beringer as the host.”
Both Hughes and Warnock said they would return to the noodle bar.
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