The most recent addition to on-campus dining, The Den, is now open and ready for business.
The Den, a semi-permanent structure located between the Jot Travis building and the Thompson building, will now serve as the only buffet-style dining option on campus, replacing The Eatery at the Overlook and Howler Village. The structure was purchased following the explosion of the DownUnder Café in July. The structure will remain until the former dining commons are rebuilt.
“We chose the location for The Den based on its proximity to residence halls,” said Heidi Rich, the Marketing Director for Nevada Dining. “There was open, unused space available and it has easy access for loading and unloading food service supplies.”
Originally, The Den was slated to open in mid-November, but the opening was pushed to after Thanksgiving break due to construction delays. It finally made its debut at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11 for “Breakfast at Nite”.
“We considered waiting until after break to open,” said Rich. “We decided not to wait because we are excited to open a new beautiful space for the students. It gives the students an idea of what to expect when they come back next semester.”
The building is furnished with 408 seats, air conditioning and bathrooms. Diners swipe in with their WolfCards as they walk in, similar to the way the Downunder Cafe operated. To the right, there is a nook with soda fountains, a waffle maker, cereal dispensers, coffee and soft-serve ice cream. In the center, there is a cold bar equipped with yogurt and fruit for breakfast. The space makes use of buffet-style food stations throughout, including a space with fresh-baked pizza.
A line began forming about 15 minutes before The Den opened its doors. Thirty-five minutes after opening, there was still a line out the door. The grand opening was so well-attended, there were not enough seats for everyone in attendance.
Along with a lack of adequate seating, there was confusion regarding clean-up. The bins for dirty dishes are located in an unmarked back corner and so staff wandered around picking up left-behind plates and clarifying where to put used dishes.
The “Breakfast at Nite” theme included breakfast paninis, ham and egg scramble, pizza, breakfast chorizo tacos and artisan donuts. A DJ played music from the corner as kids explored the new dining commons.
Despite a few minor setbacks, The Den was overall well-received by students.
“I feel like I’m in Ikea,” said Sophie Mastrangioli, a student at UNR. “And the food is pretty damn good.”
The Den began regular hours of operation at 7 a.m. on Thursday, December 12. For more information about hours of operation, menus and more, go to www.dineoncampus.com/unr.