Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Rheta’s brings kosher kitchen to University Housing

From a swanky tapas bar to a
gloriously carnivorous Brazilian grill, the recent additions to the roster of
Madison's downtown restaurants are very exciting for many University of
Wisconsin students. However, one restaurant opening that will surely have the
greatest impact on these individuals is last Sunday's grand opening of Rheta's at
Chadbourne Residential College's newly redesigned dining hall.

Other restaurants may win awards
or feed famous Madison visitors, but the new cafeteria at 420 N. Park St. is
poised to become a part of daily life for hundreds of students on campus.
Furthermore, it offers kosher selections prepared in a separate kitchen,
something no University Housing food service facility has offered to date.

The new cafeteria is named after
Rheta McCutchin, the former UW director of Housing Food who was responsible for
the introduction of a la carte dining in residence halls in the 1970s.

The layout of Rheta's is in the
same contemporary style as Memorial Union's Lakefront on Langdon cafeteria.
Instead of having to march through the usual monolithic cafeteria line,
students are free to buzz like hummingbirds between six stations offering
different cuisines. Thanks to the new cafeteria's marketplace design, some
future UW students will be able to graduate from the university without ever
having had to lay eyes on, for example, an "eighteen wheeler dealer" or a
repulsive lump of vegan shepherd's pie.

At first glance, the six stations
appear to be largely a repackaging of the food that has been offered in
University Housing for a long time. The comfort foods at Classic Cravings, the
sandwich and salad bar at Wild Greens, the grilled fare of Hot Stuff, and the
made-to-order pizzas, calzones and pastas at Preparato Fresco will be familiar
to anybody who has dined in University Housing.

However, these four stations offer
some deviations from the residence hall dining norm. For example, Classic
Cravings will soon be offering rotisserie chickens, and Preparato Fresco will
stay open until 11:30 p.m., a welcome extension of hours to the previously late-night
challenged cafeteria.


Two of the stations at Rheta's are
completely new.

One of these is the World Galleria
station, which features a wok, a tandoor oven and a Mongolian grill, where
students will be able to select the contents of a made-to-order stir fry and
watch it be prepared.

The most significant departure
from traditional residence hall food is the addition of a kosher kitchen. According
to Assistant Director of Housing Food Julie Luke, "The demand for kosher food
was a big factor in the design of Rheta's."

What Luke calls the "focal point
of the cafeteria" is a station simply called Kosher. It is open during all
weekday lunches and offers freshly made selections from a separate kitchen.
Although the station is not open for dinners, students can buy kosher frozen foods
and beverages from iceboxes beside the station any time Rheta's is open.

Although less spiritually
significant than the kosher kitchen, another innovating addition to the
cafeteria is Now or Later, a convenience store that has been open since the
beginning of the year. The selection of products — cereal, snack food, soda, as
well as an ice cream and espresso bar — is similar to the markets attached to
Ed's Express and Carson's Carryout. However, the facility's proximity to both
College and Memorial libraries may make it more convenient than these other venues
for some students.

Rheta's represents a significant
improvement over the former Chadbourne cafeteria. Although many of the changes
it has adopted seem modest at first glance, they add up to a very different
facility. Because of its layout, the added convenience store, some new culinary
offerings and its addition of a kosher kitchen, Rheta's will have a profound
impact on students who dine in residence halls.

Apologies to the good folks at The
Icon, D.P. Dough Calzones, Lovshack, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Samba
Restaurant and Grill — Rheta's was the biggest opening of the week.

Jason Engelhart is a
senior majoring in economics and history. If you'd like to discuss cafeteria
layout with him over a nice bowl of matzo ball soup, e-mail him at [email protected].

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