For many NC State students, nothing tops a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A when they are looking for a bite between classes. The Chick-fil-A Express in the Atrium Food Court on the lower level of D.H. Hill Library is a popular spot for hungry students.
And that’s been true for nearly two decades, for it was on this day in 1994 that the first Chick-fil-A opened at NC State. It was the 33rd franchise that Chick-fil-A opened on a college campus that year. Chick-fil-A opened its first campus location, at Georgia Tech, in 1992. The restaurant chain is now on more than 200 college campuses.
The company’s chicken sandwiches were a hit from the first day, with a company official telling the Technician that year that the early sales had gone well. The restaurant was officially opened a few days later, on Aug. 28. Student Body President Bobby Johnson Jr. took a bite out of a chicken sandwich and, according to the account in the Technician, gave it a “big thumbs up.”
Harris Cafeteria was struggling to get students in the door for lunch or dinner. The campus cafeteria was serving about half of its capacity to provide 1,200 meals for lunch and dinner.
So they came up with a plan to offer some cheaper alternatives, and the new lunch and dinner specials were announced on this day in 1971. The lunch special was “a selected entree,” two vegetables and “the choice of any beverage including milk,” according to a story in the Technician. The cost for all that food? Only 89 cents.
The dinner special was pretty much the same, except it cost 99 cents. The Technician listed some of the possible dinner entrees: chili macaroni, escalloped ham and cabbage, meat loaf, apple pancakes with sausage, and hamburger pie.
“This is an effort to try to get more student patronage,” said cafeteria manager Joe Grogan. “Of necessity, the entrees will have to be limited to less expensive dishes and can’t include anything expensive.”
But escalloped ham and cabbage?
There were other changes, with the elimination of something known as the Chicken Shack and the addition of sandwiches. The cafeteria would also continue to have weekly specials such as “a steamboat round roast beef.”
Think bananas. Vanilla wafers. Then, instead of pudding, think ice cream.
Banana pudding — the latest ice cream flavor from NC State’s Howling Cow creamery — was introduced to the public last month and had the best debut of any new flavor since Wolf Tracks was introduced two years ago. “We sold out in a less than a week,” says Carl Hollifield ’02. That means the contents of 30 3-gallon tubs, or about 2,800 scoops, were sold during that time period.
Hollifield, who got his degree in agricultural business management, is the business manager for Howling Cow, NC State’s ice cream-producing arm of the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences. The ice cream production is run like a business but profits are plowed back into the department to help fund research. (Students don’t have a lot to do with the ice cream. “They are usually busy studying more advanced dairy topics, like probiotics,’’ Hollifield says.)
The Dairy Enterprise Center, as the operation is formally called, has about 20 regular flavors, most of which can be found on sale by the scoop at the Creamery at D.H. Hill Library in the Erdahl-Cloyd wing. About 10 more flavors that have been sold in the past are available to be rotated in as needed, and the center comes up with a new flavor about twice a year. All the ice cream is made in the basement of Schaub Hall.
The idea for banana pudding ice cream came after an all-natural banana flavor had been added to soft-serve ice cream on sale at University Dining locations. The students liked it, so some of the production managers at Howling Cow started thinking about a banana pudding ice cream.
But preparing to introduce a new flavor takes time, Hollifield says. After the concept is developed, the first step is to contact vendors to get samples of the best banana flavoring that would work in Howling Cow ice cream. It takes several weeks to get samples, and then once the correct vendor is selected, a larger volume order is placed, which takes several more weeks. For early test batches, he used Nilla brand vanilla wafers, but later purchased generic brands that taste the same. “We had to get a vendor that would sell 100 pounds of vanilla wafers at a time,” Hollifield says.
The final touch to the flavor was the addition of marshmallow swirl, called a “varigant” in ice cream-making parlance. Hollifield says the marshmallow swirl was already being used in another flavor — the s’mores-like campfire delight — so that part was easy. A first batch of a quart was made to test the flavors and the mix. The main tweaks to the recipe involved the amount of flavoring. After that, a 30-gallon batch was made with more taste-testing.
Now, Hollifield and his crew will wait to see if banana pudding has the staying power of Wolf Tracks, which is a mixture of vanilla, fudge and miniature peanut butter cups. The last flavor to “bite the dust,” Hollifield said, was coco-nutt, a blend of coconut and nuts. “Coconut is one of those flavors that’s kind of polarizing,” says Hollified. “You either like it or you don’t.”
If a scoop at the Creamery at D.H. Hill isn’t enough, you can buy a 30-gallon tub of banana pudding in Room 12 of Schaub Hall, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The building is at the corner of Dan Allen Drive and Sullivan Drive. And in a few weeks, egg nog by the quart will be available.
—Sylvia Adcock ’81
Few buildings at NC State have enjoyed a more storied history than Pullen Hall.
Built in 1902, it was named for R. Stanhope Pullen of Raleigh, who gave the state 62 acres in 1887 to build the new North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.
It has served as a chapel and an assembly hall, a library and the site for the first NC State basketball game played on campus. It has seen pigs roam outside for an agricultural fair and a bear locked inside as part of a student prank/protest against mandatory church services. In 1965, the building was destroyed by a fire.
And on this day in 1925, a new cafeteria opened in Pullen Hall. Students could receive a month of meals for $25.
It was, according to the Agromeck, a popular spot for students.
“The dining hall is by far the most popular place on the campus if popularity may be measured by punctual attendance and undivided attention to the subject at hand,” reads a passage in the Agromeck from that year.
The yearbook credited Lillian Fenner, the university’s dietitian, and Louis H. Harris, the dining steward, for their work on behalf of the students.
“They have done much towards keeping our bodies in a healthy condition,” read the yearbook. “And have satisfied our ravenous appetite.”
- The Atrium has a new design and more food options for students, faculty and staff.
Students now have more food options at the Atrium Food Court, which has been under renovation.
The Atrium’s new look was unveiled last week. The redesign aims to increase seating capacity and modernize the facility, located on the ground floor of the west wing of the D.H. Hill Library complex.
Chick-fil-A, Zen Blossom, Brickyard Pizza and Pasta, Delirious (deli and salad menu) and Wolfpack-to-Go (pre-packaged food items) are among the new food vendors.
Click here for photos of the new serving area. To learn more about the renovation project, read the Atrium construction blog.
The Brickyard Bubble will continue to offer indoor seating while the Atrium’s seating area is renovated this spring.
This is the first post from Chandler Thompson, a junior economics major from High Point. She’s one of four students who will be blogging for us this fall. Learn more about them here.
The Brickyard doesn’t look the same this year because there is a 4,000-square-foot rectangular structure positioned in front of the Atrium. This structure, also known as “The Brickyard Bubble,” will serve as a temporary seating area for the remainder of the school year while the Atrium undergoes renovations.
Currently, half of the Atrium is set up to temporarily serve food, and last week I went for lunch a couple times to check it out. Students can choose from a reduced Lil Dino’s menu, a wrap station and Chick-fil-A. But there are no waffle fries at Chick-fil-A!!! (They are only offering regular fries during the fall semester since the cooking area does not meet Chick-fil-A standards for waffle fries.) This is probably a good opportunity to keep off the “Freshman 15.” After picking what we want and going through the central check out stations, students have the option of eating outside on the Atrium patio, in the Bubble or on new tables under Harrelson.
As part of our story on campus dining in the Spring 2010 issue of NC State magazine, we asked the university’s executive chef, Bill Brizzolara, to put together a menu using ingredients that have an NC State connection, including scallops, pork, cheese and sweet potatoes. Here’s what he came up with, and here’s how you can make it at home:
Seared Scallop Medallion Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
slices bacon, thin sliced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 to 3 tablespoons or more of olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
18 large scallop medallions
salt and white pepper to taste
1 lb. fresh spinach, washed and any coarse stems removed
2 tomatoes, washed and each cut into 8 wedges
1. Cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain most of the bacon fat from the pan leaving only two tablespoons. (more…)
As we did research for the story about campus dining that appears in the Spring 2010 issue of NC State, we found some interesting correspondence in the library’s archives. Between the late 1950s and early 1970s, the Cafeteria Advisory Committee collected and responded to complaints from students who ate at campus dining facilities. Here are a handful of our favorites.
- I ate at one of your cafeterias this morning, and I have never eaten any worse food in my life. If I had been use [sic] to extremely fine food, it would be understandable, but I have been in the Boy Scouts, and I ate better then than students do at your cafeteria, and I cooked out on the open fire in the woods.
- Just got back from Slater where I got slickered out 30 cents. I bought a 45-cent cube steak that was so tough I could hardly cut it. So stringy, I did not get one good bite — sorriest meal I ever ate. . . . Tried chewing nearly all of the steak, but only swallowed five or six half bites. If you’re going to give such sorry meat, the price ought to be 5 cents per steak.
- I found a metal filling in my lemonade.
- Please have someone watch Mary Lois. Her servings are extremely small.
- Who dreamed up those beef turnovers? The only thing it can turnover is somebody in his grave! We may look like animals but we don’t have a gastronomic system like an animal.
- Take that weird manager and feed him this “food.” If he doesn’t turn purple and drop over dead, the food you serve has improved from lousy to only partially lousy.
- I don’t like hair in my food!!!
- The cooked apples were so bad that I couldn’t eat them. What did you put in them? A pound of salt for each apple used?
- Cashier No. 2 is very grouchy, dumb, ugly, poorly dressed, poor personality, and should be relieved of her duty or placed somewhere where she can’t be seen or heard.
- French fries — harder than diamonds and cold as liquid oxygen.
- Today Slater even messed up the KoolAid. It now has the world’s worst taste. We lose again.
- What about fruit in the pies?
- Get your clocked fix. It is five minutes slow.
- Kill beef before serving.
- Please leave the teabags in longer than .00001 seconds.
- Leftover food ain’t good.