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UB opens Crossroads Culinary Center

Crossroads Culinary Center

Students enjoy a meal at the new Crossroads Culinary Center. Photo: NANCY J. PARISI

Published June 19, 2014

“Not only will Crossroads provide magnificent food to generations of students, it will add to the overall experience of attending UB.”
Dennis Black, Vice President for University Life and Services

As part of its continuing effort to improve on-campus living, UB yesterday opened Crossroads Culinary Center, a new dining facility that puts the university at the forefront of the collegiate dining experience.

The $12 million makeover of the dining facility in Red Jacket Quadrangle in the Ellicott Complex, North Campus, transforms the 1970s-era dining hall into a modern dining center featuring a sleek, glass-walled lobby, fireside lounge and a dizzying array of food choices that reflect UB’s diverse student body.

“This is truly an exciting time to be at UB,” says President Satish K. Tripathi. “We have many important initiatives moving forward—all focused on enriching the university experience and creating a climate of excellence and innovation for our students, faculty and staff.

“Our new Crossroads Culinary Center is the latest state-of-the-art project to be completed on a UB campus. This facility is one of five LEED-designed building projects completed since last summer,” he adds.

Instead of the traditional method of serving food, which resembles an assembly line, the new dining facility, also known as “C3,” follows a marché-style concept, which focuses on fresh foods prepared to order in full view of the students at individual stations.

The opening of C3 marks another milestone in the UB 2020 strategic plan to transform UB into a premier public research university. The design of the space, the marché concept and diverse menu offerings all enhance the student experience and are consistent with the effort to improve the living-learning spaces of students on UB’s three campuses.

Beginning with the opening of William R. Greiner Residence Hall in 2011 and continuing through the opening of Barbara and Jack Davis Hall, the Clinical and Translational Research Center and John and Editha Kapoor Hall, UB will have opened five major new buildings across its three campuses, in addition to completing several other projects, such as the innovative UB Solar Strand at the Flint Road entrance to the North Campus.

C3 has an array of eco-friendly features and is designed to be certified silver under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. It builds upon other eco-friendly North Campus buildings, such as Greiner Hall and Davis Hall, and Kapoor Hall on South Campus.

“Just as UB continues to pursue academic excellence, we are committed to pursuing excellence in every facet of the university, including on-campus dining,” says Dennis Black, vice president for university life and services. “Not only will Crossroads provide magnificent food to generations of students, it will add to the overall experience of attending UB.”

Each food station has its own seating area with decor to complement it. The food stations include Oreganos (Italian), Blue Dragon (Asian wok), Global Noodle (pho), Seasons (salads), Strictly Vegetarian (meatless), Baked Creations (pizza/deli), Carve (Brazilian churrascaria), Foundations (comfort) and Temptations (desserts).

“The food and the layout of the dining area give our customers the experience of going to eight different restaurants, all in one night,” says Jeff Brady, executive director of Campus Dining and Shops (CDS), which manages the culinary center and other dining facilities, catering, vendors and retail operations at UB.

“We have assembled some of the best chefs and toured cutting-edge restaurants and several highly rated university dining programs around the country to put together what we feel will be the model for collegiate dining going forward,” he adds.

The project, which began in May 2010, includes a 10,000-square-foot addition and a 20,000-square-foot renovation. With a seating capacity of more than 650, the new dining center will serve more than 2,000 students per day.

“We are really impressed with the attention to detail, the healthy dining choices and the student-centric designs of Crossroads,” says Andrea Costantino, director of Campus Living. “A tremendous amount of thought went into the design of the building, the menu and the space, all with the goal of enhancing the student experience here at UB. The students will be amazed.”

During construction of the new dining center, UB recycled materials when possible. For example, contractors dug up and saved old brick pavers from outside Red Jacket that will be reused at the Solar Strand, a unique solar power installation that powers hundreds of student apartments. Additionally, all food scraps will be composted on site and the cooking oil recycled into biodiesel by Buffalo Biodiesel in Tonawanda.

Another aspect of the project was its focus on local manufacturing and sourcing materials from Western New York; UB contracted with about 30 regional companies. Among them were Niagara Ceramics of Buffalo and Liberty Tabletop of Sherrill, which will supply the china and flatware, respectively.

CDS will add 15 full-time union positions and four management positions, and double the number of student employees, from 60 to 120.

“We are excited to be growing and to see the excitement from the students, faculty and staff—I’m thrilled to be part of this vital project,” Brady says.