Enter Knights’ Den for food with flair















By Debbie Clark, Editor

Transitioning into a new academic year means more than adjusting to new classes and classmates for returning and new Alfred University (AU) students. During the summer months, AVI Fresh, the campus food service provider, cooked up a whole new look, changing the traditional Powell Dining Hall facility to a multi-station, retail-type food center, said John Dietrich director of dining services and resident district manager for AVI. 

Students foraging for food on the south end of campus now enter the third-floor Knights’ Den (formerly the dining hall) making selections from an array of food stations featuring Art’s Spot (coffee house); Agave, an eating stop with a Mexican/Southwestern flair; Bravo Pollo, a pick-up point where chicken dishes and burgers reign; Wrapped!, a wrap and salad station with tantalizing new flavors; and Piazza, the pizza, calzone, baked pasta, and everything Italian place. With the exception of the coffee center, each food eatery offers a daily combo meal-deal including beverage and a side. For those on-the-go, Fresh Portable Fare offers sandwiches, wraps, salads, parfaits, and snacks. Ice cream and a wide variety of beverages are also available.

The eatery stations are open seven days a week 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Art’s Spot is open extended hours - Mondays-Fridays 7:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. and Saturdays/Sundays from 9 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Three cashiers handle check-out duties with one line devoted to Art’s Spot, named in honor of former AU Chairman of the Board and Life Trustee Arthur Powell ’43, ’95 (H), who along with his late wife, Lea ’95 (H), gifted funds for Powell Campus Center. Art’s Spot is open for coffee, espresso, tea, smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, cookies and several packaged items all made fresh in-house.                         

The make-over at Powell means Ade Dining Hall, on the north end of campus, now becomes the mainstay for cafeteria-style dining breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ade diners may opt for breakfast service from 7:30 -10:30 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., and dinner from 5-8:30 p.m., Mondays-Fridays. Deli/salad offerings are also available from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Ade’s upstairs dining area and kitchen were given their own remodel in 2012, creating more cozy and diversified seating areas along with several food stations for such specialty items as stir-fried entrées, wraps, make-your-own salad, and desserts in addition to the traditional home-style entrées served restaurant style. New additions made last summer complement these features including a homemade pasta maker, homemade gelato, a smoker, rotisserie roasted deli meats, a slicer for AVI’s in-house-baked breads, and a peanut grinder for fresh-made peanut butter.

Ade’s downstairs open space, adjacent to the MidKnight Express, the evening/early morning café, was also renovated in 2012 to include cushioned booths, more intimate dining tables, and several lounge sections. MidKnight Express is open daily from 8 p.m.-2 a.m.  

Returning students may have a bit of an adjustment to the new food service set-up, acknowledges Dietrich, but he believes once they get into the new routine and experience the new choices they’ll forget there was ever any other way.

“Lots of colleges are moving in this direction,” he said, especially with creative choices and healthy options, he added.

Amanda Fishbaugh, an AVI area marketing specialist who serves Alfred University’s region, agrees.

“We’re trying to meet the tastes of a diverse student population by offering unique flavors and concepts,” she added.

Dietrich said he’s believed for quite a while that AU’s resident population is really too small to warrant two, full-service dining halls. When AVI signed on as the University’s food service provider in 2005 Dietrich said it became clear through usage study that is the case.

It’s a win-win for the consumer. Changing the format at Powell gives students more dining options by providing both an all-you-care-eat opportunity at Ade and the specialized offerings in the Knights’ Den. All options are covered under the five student meal plans available.

Last academic year AVI served up approximately 2,800 meals a day campus-wide with some 800 in Ade, 1,200 in Powell Dining Hall, 300 at MidKnight Express, and 500 in L’il Alf/Cyber Fresh (now closed). 

1 response to “Enter Knights’ Den for food with flair”

  1. Brad Berwald Says:
    What an amazing transformation both dining halls have gone through recently. They're modern, diverse in cuisine and really give the students a lot of choices in terms of both food and budget.

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