Writer: Emily C. Kelley, (575) 646-1957, firstname.lastname@example.org
New Mexico State University's Taos Restaurant opened Monday following a five-month renovation.
Demolition of Taos Restaurant and the kitchen area in Corbett Center Student Union started the day after the spring 2012 semester ended. Everything at Taos was replaced, from the flooring, tables and chairs, to the lighting, grills and décor. A portion of Taos reopened when fall classes started, but a full reopening was delayed due to construction complications related to the ventilation in Corbett Center.
"We are thrilled to welcome the Aggie community to the brand new and better-than-ever Taos Restaurant," said Shelly Duran, Sodexo resident district manager. "The renovation and remodel process took longer than we had anticipated, but we hope that all Aggies will share our belief that the new Taos Restaurant is worth that extra wait."
The first change that returning customers will likely notice, other than the new Aggie décor, is the large, circular Asian and Mediterranean-inspired chef-run station, near the entrance to the restaurant, called the 360 Grill. Customers may now select their fresh meats, veggies and sauces, and the chef will prepare the food in front of them. Seating is available at this station so patrons may fully enjoy the experience of having their meal prepared before them.
Student food preferences have changed dramatically in the past several years, with a trend toward more vegetarian and vegan preferences. Many students also come to campus with varying levels of gluten intolerance or other specific dietary restrictions. Vegetarian, vegan and diners on campus with gluten intolerances will be at ease knowing that only vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free foods are prepared at The Wild Mushroom, where all of the foods are clearly labeled.
Duran says that Executive Chef Clint Kifolo has taken the time to meet with students and their families to discuss specific food needs. He is not only happy to accommodate them, but also shows them around the kitchen while they visit.
"We love having those kinds of conversations with students," Duran said.
The new pizza station features hand-tossed crusts, along with calzones and Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.
The hydration station, which has been popular at other Sodexo-served schools, is a new feature that helps keep diners cool. The water can be infused with the flavors of lemons, limes, oranges and cucumbers.
The pasta bar, salad bar, bakery and international stations have returned, but a new feature on the salad bar has soup lovers rejoicing - a deconstructed soup bar. Components of various soups are available, from vegetarian and vegan broths, to all of the components of a good chicken noodle soup. You simply assemble your own. No more complaining about not enough noodles or veggies in your bowl because you are the chef.
More Aggie décor will be added to the restaurant in the coming months, so the appearance of Taos will continue to grow with Aggie spirit as the school year continues.
Taos Restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Daily menus are available at http://nmsudining.com/dining/index.html.
© 2013 New Mexico State University Board of Regents
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