For many young adults, going away to college means leaving behind home cooked meals. Many college students fill up on whatever they can find, from a frozen dinner to a big bowl of Cheerios. However, students at Duke University are not going to bed hungry after a $90 million renovation at their West Union dining hall.
I was lucky enough to get an inside look at Duke’s renovated dining hall and take pictures of the food and the space itself. The building was originally built in 1931 and the restaurants have been under construction for the past three years. The end result is impressive, to say the least.
The project features 13 new “restaurants” within the dining hall and the majority of them are run by Durham-based chefs. The space also has meeting rooms and a kitchen where guest chefs will be teaching cooking classes. Below is a picture of Il Forno Italian Kitchen, run by Scott More of Enzo’s Pizza which has a menu full of wood-fired pizza and pasta.
Restaurants are offering varied selections, from gelato bars to a variety of crepes. Personally, I had my eye on the massive amount of Nutella hanging overhead at the Café. I would have taken one of everything if that was drizzled on top. This station is operated by Robert and Fida Ghanem and will be serving coffee, pastries, ice cream, crepes, and more.
Some restaurants have fresh cuts of meat cooking on grills. Students filed in, some sporting Duke attire as they lined up in this cutting edge facility for lunch and dinner.
In the upscale Commons Steakhouse, many people sat and talked, enjoying the cuisine over white linen tablecloths with a beautiful view of campus through tall glass windows complete with rooftop dining.
From fresh salads to a variety of seafood options, there was something for everyone’s tastes. You would never struggle to find something you enjoyed from the extensive list of top-notch restaurants.
I got hungrier as I photographed, as I moved from main entrees to exquisite desserts.
Duke University stated that, “West Union is poised to be the center of community and activity on campus.” From a variety of health and hearty foods to a selection of beautiful meeting places, the West Union is certainly drawing a crowd on campus.
Below is a list of restaurants being featured with links to learn more about each.
Il Forino Italian Kitchen – Variety of Italian dishes from pasta to pizza
Commons Steakhouse – Consists of steaks and fine dining
JB’s Roasts & Chops – Offers steaks, roasts, etc.
Café – Consists of crepes, gelato, ice cream, and coffee, Nutella included
Farmstead – Has classic American dishes from barbeque chicken to a BLT
Sprout – Full of vegetarian options made with fresh produce
Ginger & Soy – Offers East and Southeast Asia cuisine
Gyotaku – Offers a wide variety of sushi dishes
Au Bon Pain – Classic deli menu, breakfast options included
Tandoor – Serving authentic Indian food with meats, breads, and veggies
The Chef’s Kitchen – Culinary classroom for cooking courses, guest chef, and more
I am so grateful that I go the opportunity to photograph the West Union at Duke. The facility was extraordinary, as you can see. I do regret going through these photographs at lunch time though!