Today in NC State History: Walnut Room offers exotic tastes

February 5, 2013
By Chris Saunders

blog_series6It was a far cry from the selection an NC State student sees today, but even in the 1970s, campus food went well beyond the flattened grilled cheese sandwich or the cold soup often found in elementary school cafeterias.

And to help usher in that culinary variety, the Walnut Room opened in the University Student Center (now Talley) on this day in 1973. Students could spend anywhere from 65 cents to a dollar for an entree. They could add 25 cents for each choice of vegetable they chose as a side.

The Walnut Room in the 1970s.

The Walnut Room in the 1970s.

“Entrees will vary from the ordinary, such as chicken and ham,” a 1973 issue of the Technician reported, “to slightly more exotic choices such as spare ribs, chow mein, and various specials.”

But NC State spared no expense for that exoticism to extend to the Walnut Room’s ambiance. Larry Gilman, Union food services director at the time, hired musicians that first semester the Walnut Room was open to come in on Sunday nights and bring a coffeehouse feeling to campus.


3 Responses to “Today in NC State History: Walnut Room offers exotic tastes”

  1. David says:

    My favorite place to eat in the 70’s!

  2. Sara Spayd (1974) says:

    Considering there were no cafeterias left open at the time and popcorn poppers were the culinary utensils of the dorm, it was very different. I do not remember the last time I ate Rice-a-Roni (likely sometime in 1974 before I graduated)

  3. Suresh Sus says:

    My first job, while attending the University in the late seventies, was serving Blueberry Muffins to the Walnut Room lunch crowd. Pleasant memories. Learned a lot here.

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