Homewood Dining unveils food and facilities makeovers

Image caption: Bill Connor, Homewood’s new director of Dining Programs, in the revamped Levering Food Court.

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

A new academic year dawns, and with it a slew of tasty new dining options await those eating on the Homewood campus.

From Baltimore-grown pickles to made-to-order sushi, the emphasis is on fresh and locally produced.

In April, Johns Hopkins chose Bon Appetit Management Co. as its new food services contractor, effective July 1. In addition to providing on-campus dining experiences, the Palo Alto, Calif.–based company assumed Homewood catering operations.

"Our guests will experience a noticeable difference in the quality of food offered this fall," says Bill Connor, Homewood's new director of Dining Programs, who joined the university in April. "Bon Appetit's focus on local, sustainable, and fresh food will leverage the dining experience from good to great. Local flavor will be infused in many of the menus, and we'll focus on from-scratch cooking methods for everything from soups, sauces, and dressings to mashed potatoes."

In conjunction with the change in food providers, the university looked to renovate and update many of its dining facilities.

Charles Street Market, located on the first floor of Wolman Hall, has been completely remodeled, and the new space features a Stone Mill Bakery and a New York–style deli that serves up made-to-order sandwiches, prepared food, and fresh soups and breads. The space has been decked out in lighter colors, blonde wood furnishings, and a chunky hardwood-style floor reminiscent of an early-1900s deli. The on-campus Fresh Food Cafe has a new salad bar and an ice cream station, and has been reconfigured to reduce congestion.

Levering Food Court has all-new food stations, including Flames Grill (burgers and hot dogs), the Lunch Box (sandwiches, salads, and soups), the Crust (pizza, calzones, and other Italian favorites), and Shiso/One Bowl, a fresh sushi and Asian entrée station.

The Chesapeake Bay Roasting Co. now operates a coffee bar in the Levering Hall lobby, and another coffee bar, Acanto, resides in the atrium space of the new Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories.

Nolan's on 33rd, the dining facility in Charles Commons, has been freshened up with new upholstery, carpet, and comfy seating for a more "at home" feel, and has added a Mediterranean-inspired menu. Want the food brought to you? Coming right up. A new Johns Hopkins food truck—in the shape of a 1960s-era Volkswagen bus—will deliver sustenance to wherever needed, whether it be in front of the MSE Library come finals week or near Homewood Field during Homecoming. A sample of the truck's fall menu includes crab cake sliders, Greek gyros, grilled cheese, jerk chicken, and a Cubano.

"We wanted something that could go to where our [diners] were," Connor says. "The first couple of weeks we plan to have the truck at Orientation and then bring it around to reduce lines in the dining facilities. In the future, we plan to have it at our outdoor events."

Connor says that everyone at Homewood will be able to see and taste the difference this fall.

"My personal adage is continuous improvement, and I want to implement that into the dining program," Connor says. "The Homewood community is diverse, and the dining program needs to reflect that diversity in the flavors, selection, and variety of foods offered. We want to create the best possible dining experience that we can offer and recognize individual diets in a positive and creative way. We hope we've done that."