Expanded local partnerships are brewing as the University begins the 2020-21 academic year with a new dining services partner, Compass Group. Also on the menu: more flexible meal plans, new dining options and spaces for physically distanced dining.
“We are reinventing the on-campus dining experience at Pitt,” said Quintin Eason, Compass vice president of operations. “Our dining program is built to set students up for success, using dining as an engagement and education tool across campus; introducing new cultural dishes, educating students on cooking practices and culinary skills through our various platforms. The Pitt Eats team is committed to meeting the University’s high standards for quality, safety and service.”
On the Pittsburgh campus, partnerships with local businesses—already a priority in dining—are increasing this year, said Joe Beaman, Pitt’s director of dining services.
At the top of the list: four local coffee roasters, as part of a quest to become the nation’s No. 1 coffee campus, Beaman said.
Compass Group has committed to advancing the dining-related goals of Pitt’s Sustainability Plan, which targets composting 50% of all food waste, serving half of to-go meals and beverages in reusable containers, decreasing animal-derived products by 25% and moving 25% of Pitt’s food budget to local, humane, ecologically sound and fair food that meets Real Food criteria—all by 2025.
Popular BYO Mug beverage discounts and Choose to Reuse reusable take-out container programs are on hold due to COVID-19, but they are poised to return when conditions permit.
Pittsburgh-based The Coffee Tree Roasters, de Fer and La Prima, and Lancaster-based Square One Coffee are supplying coffee for the campus’ 13 coffee locations.
And when Philadelphia-based Saxbys opens its two planned student-run cafes—now set for fall 2021—that will add up to five Pennsylvania-based coffee partnerships.
“That’s the goal: Coffee U,” Beaman said.
Beyond campus, a new Pitt Eats Local program allows up to 25 percent of students’ Dining Dollars to be used at select locally owned off-campus locations, said Beaman.
Pitt Eats Local provides added meal variety for students while supporting nearby restaurants in the Oakland business district.
The list of local suppliers on campus continues to grow. Notably, Mancini’s, well-known for its Italian bread, is joining the ranks of local partners.
And Pittsburgh-based Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream again will be scooping traditional and non-dairy treats from its location in The University Store on Fifth near the Schenley Quad.
New dining options
The Roost and Pom & Honey are new at the Cathedral Café on the ground floor of the Cathedral of Learning. The Roost offers delicious breaded chicken; Pom & Honey serves fresh, healthy grain bowls, wraps and customizable salads and includes halal foods.
Kosher and halal options can be found in the Market at Towers, with halal choices also available at The Perch.
Plant-forward dining options are available daily. Daily menus are searchable with a filter option to show vegan and vegetarian choices.
New at the Schenley Café in the William Pitt Union are True Burger, featuring fresh-made burgers, shakes and fries; Ft. Pitt Subs; and CrEATe, with made to-order salads and sandwiches.
Market Central, the main dining hall at Litchfield Towers, is being rebranded as The Eatery. The all-you-can-eat location features multiple options, including plant-based and allergen-free stations.
The Hub at Posvar, a temporary open-air dining option, is located on the back patio of Posvar Hall between South Bouquet Street and Schenley Drive. It includes a dining hall location plus Ft. Pitt Subs, Pom & Honey and CrEATe.
In addition, students housed at the Residence Inn on Bigelow Boulevard as part of Pitt’s plan to promote safe distancing in student housing will have their own dining and mini market within the hotel for easy access to meals and snacks.
Through Sept. 4, all meals on campus will be take-out only, to accommodate seven-day “pod week” shelter-in-place protocols for all arriving students.
Additional on-campus dining locations are opening in the coming weeks, including Shake Smart, a one-stop destination for healthy convenience in the Petersen Events Center, offering freshly blended protein shakes, organic acai bowls and more.
For business hours of on-campus dining venues, check out the weekly list of locations and hours of operation.