Students in Hotel Administration 3350: Restaurant Management will open a restaurant in Statler Hall next semester, giving Cornellians what the students hope will be a new social hot-spot on campus.
The restaurant, called Table 278, is currently in its test run period and operates by sign-up and invites only.
Modeled after American gastropub — a bar and restaurant that serves high-end beer and food — Table 278 is located in Statler Hall Room 278, which used to be a food and beverage laboratory, according to Prof. Alex Susskind, food and beverage management, who teaches the course.
Table 278’s menu will feature American classics, such as gumbo and hanger steak, said Seamus Cho ’12, Table 278’s marketing organizer. Cho said students have made an effort to include local ingredients in the restaurant’s menu.
“People loved the frisée salad, the pumpkin Napoleon and the hanger steak marinated in Ithaca beer,” Cho said.
The restaurant will have a 40-seat dining room, a private dining room, a chef’s table and a lounge area and will be open from five to nine p.m. exclusively for dinner, Cho added.
Students currently operate and manage the restaurant as part of the course curriculum.
“Students have designated tasks for the restaurant. They designed the menu, worked on the concept, advertised and marketed it,” Prof. Susskind said.
In addition to serving patrons, students will work behind the scenes in the kitchen. Teaching assistants supervise in the kitchen, and three chef specialists teach students how to cook in a real restaurant setting, according to Susskind.
Susskind emphasized the educational opportunities the restaurant will provide students.
“This is a class first. They just happen to be running a restaurant,” he said.
The restaurant is marketed as an affordable option for students looking to have a sit-down dining experience on campus.
“I hope to see this as a future gathering spot,” Cho said.
Susskind added that the restaurant will include a full-service bar with signature cocktails, wine and beer. Non-alcoholic specialty drinks will also be served to accommodate all age groups.
“A restaurant is a social place, and we will serve, but not emphasize, alcohol. We want this restaurant to cater to all ages. It is for faculty, staff and students — freshmen and seniors,” Susskind said.
Susskind said that before Table 278, students worked in Taverna Banfi’s to fulfill credit hours in Restaurant Management. By opening Table 278, students will have full authority over the eatery, Cho said.
Cho said that Table 278 will give students more educational experience, in contrast to a job at Taverna Banfi’s where learning was not the primary objective.
Susskind echoed Cho’s sentiments.
“When students worked in Banfi’s they did not control the decisions. They were involved but they did not run the restaurant,” Susskind said.
Students have been invited to try the restaurant over the course of the semester, rating the food and serving as a test crowd.
Although it is not fully open, buzz for the restaurant is already building among Cornellians.
Alex Juszczak ’14, who dined at Table 278 Friday night, praised the quality of the food and service.
“Table 278 will be a great date spot on campus and is a more intimate setting for interviews and meetings with advisers than Cornell dining halls,” Juszczak said.
Cho stressed that the quality of service is critical to the restaurant’s success; the test runs have garnered high reviews from guests, he said.
“It was all done very professionally, and I felt like I was dining at a trendy off-campus restaurant,” Juszczak said.
Susskind expressed appreciation for the student diners and taste testers, saying that he looked forward to the success and future of the restaurant.
“Passionate students will be critical to the success of Table 278. If the enthusiasm we’ve seen continues, it will be an unparallelled success,” he said.
Original Author: Dan Temel