Following the Gargoyle Society’s late January proposal to reopen the Log for student use, College Council (CC) voted to postpone the proposal in favor of moving to revamp and improve the ’82 Grill. Facing the challenges of economic concerns, the College’s hiring freeze, and questions regarding possible noise complaints on Spring Street, CC decided to pursue making improvements to the Grill with renovations and a new atmosphere.
Recently elected CC co-president Emanuel Yekutiel ’11 said that CC is establishing an ’82 Grill task force that will “collect ideas from students and work with Dining Services to create a proposal that will revamp the space.”
Although the ’82 Grill functions best as an alternative to dining halls for students who want pizza for lunch or dinner, the Grill was also designed to function as a pub, serving alcoholic beverages to students of legal drinking age.
“There’s this idea that bars should be old-school,” said Newton Davis ’12, Class of 2012 representative. Davis is working on devising cost-effective renovations project, currently looking into the installation of more rustic furniture to create a more “old school” ambience. He said another part of the project is to install digital picture frames, which would rotate pictures of students and campus events, on the walls of the ’82 Grill. Davis said this would enable students to feel a stronger connection to the eatery.
Davis added that “CC wants to reach out to the student body to develop projects that CC can work on within the first months [of the new CC administration].” He added that the College administration has voiced support for the Grill’s rejuvenation.
According to Bob Volpi, director of Dining Services, and Chris Abayasinghe, assistant director of student dining, changes to the ’82 Grill will need to be discussed by CC representatives in conjunction with members of the Food Committee and Campus Life.
Abayasinghe said that before any decisions can be made, such a committee would have to ask various questions to determine the proper direction to take. Such questions would include what can be done to make the Grill more public and what students want for the Grill.
According to Abayasinghe, Dining Services recently hired Jerry Byers as assistant manager for the ’82 Grill. Byers is looking into the possibility of introducing wings, grinders and other food options to the ’82 Grill. “We are looking at entertainment, too,” Abayasinghe said. “We’re currently reviewing a disc by a student band.”
Volpi said he and Abayasinghe have visited other colleges – including Bennington College, Union College, Bowdoin and Colby – that have spaces similar to the ’82 Grill. “Bowdoin had the same issue of bringing people in,” Volpi said. “When it was strictly a bar with drinks and snacks, they didn’t have any customers. But when they introduced sandwiches it became more of a pub. The question we need to ask is ‘What is our definition of a pub?’”
Students have suggested that creating an atmosphere that feels more like a pub and less like a “second snack bar” would greatly enhance the space. “The ambiance [at the ’82 Grill] is nice for a regular place to get food,” Gavin McIntire ’12 said. “The Log is cool because it has nice wood furniture and an old historic feel.” McIntire also suggested that exclusivity would make the space more appealing, as the Grill is currently crowded with students getting food. “I think most other schools have a 21-and-over limit that definitely lends their space to feeling more like a pub,” McIntire said.
Tony Coleman ’10 said that unfamiliarity with the alcohol policy makes the Grill a less comfortable place to order alcoholic drinks, but noted that there is appeal in having an on-campus pub. “There needs to be a communal space where we can eat, drink and be merry,” he said. “I think people generally retreat to their rooms and drink. If you could accommodate a large space for both [of age and underaged students], it would make an enjoyable, low-intensity experience.”