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LSU Dining Offers More Options at More Hours

LSU Dining sees that there is never a dull moment at any of their locations.  Each semester they host events like Sushi Night, Caribbean Carnival, and the Chancellor's Late Night Pancake Breakfast. For the Chancellor’s Late Night Breakfast, LSU students are served by the Chancellor’s Office and other campus departments one evening during finals study period.  The dining halls remain open until midnight so students can get a midnight breakfast of pancakes with all the toppings, sausage, coffee, juice, and milk at Highland and Pentagon dining halls. 

LSU students, however, will no longer have to wait until finals for late night meals on campus.  The new 459 Commons will support a Taco Bell and Pizza Hut that will remain open until 2:00 a.m. to better serve the students. 

“The future of LSU Dining has to address our generation of students, the Millennials,” said LSU Dining Director David Heidke.  “A focus on fresh and authentic foods, healthy options, wellness, and unparalleled customer service will be at the core of program changes and offerings.  We need to combine that with facilities that provide restaurant quality experiences, are interactive, and create community gathering space across campus.”

The 459 Commons is finishing construction and will feature a private dining room for student meetings, flat screen televisions, and restaurant-style seating such as booths, café, and four-top tables.  There, students can watch display cooking from our Culinary Institute of America-degreed chefs, choose vegetarian or vegan menu options, create their own entrée, or customize their Panini or waffle at the Baker’s Crust or My Pantry sections of the commons. The 459 Commons will also offer baked lasagna, crispy calzones, and made-to-order pizzas with the newly installed woodstone pizza oven.

Highland Dining Hall is one spot that will feature display cooking by University chefs Jon Jackson and Mark Sakowski, both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America – the world’s premiere culinary college.  Using French knives and a Japanese slicing machine, they prepare pepper-seared Amberjack, Asian stir-fry, and midnight pancakes with a passion.  On any day you will find Cajun baked catfish, rotisserie chicken, caesar wraps, dijon roasted potatoes, sautéed yellow squash or made-to-order omelets.  Ask Jackson or Sakowski their favorite dish to prepare, and it will be fresh Gulf shrimp or crème brule. 

With more than a decade of combined experience, the LSU chefs are University alumni or Baton Rouge natives. 

“A friend named Tommy Thompson got me started cooking when we were in Delta Tau Delta together. The only inspiration was to validate the cooking career with education, certifications, and knowledge, and there also was a love of food,” said Sakowski. 

The love of food and fresh ingredients translates to their catering, another convenience on campus. 

Alicia Duersel, Union Catering director, caters for campus departments and operates the Magnolia Room. She has assisted the Dean of Students office with many on-campus events such as S.T.R.I.P.E.S., Groovin’ on the Grounds, and several others.  Duersel enjoys working for LSU because the students allow for ‘out of the box’ events such as International Week, featuring cuisines from the more than 120 countries represented on LSU’s campus.

“My favorite thing about catering at LSU is that we get to work with a very diverse group on campus. It’s never a dull moment,” Duersel said.

“LSU Dining is trying to create a place for people to want to visit and have a dining experience,” said Heidke. “We are accomplishing that by providing multiple seating options, technology, but most of all, a variety of food options.  We want to offer students choices, whether it is at a resident dining hall or retail location.  Students can choose from lemon pepper chicken, shrimp and zucchini fettuccini, or boneless bar-b-que ribs at the Pentagon or Highland Dining Halls. Or (they can) choose from an Angel Food smoothie at Smoothie King or sushi at the Tiger Lair.”

Nancy Little | LSU Office of Public Affairs
Fall 2007

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