By Hank Bedingfield
Wild Sockeye salmon and prime rib warmly sit in quiet, delicious desperation as Bon Appetit hopes to reverse the ever-fluctuating and scrutinized reputation of the dining hall you love to hate: Rastall.
“We want food to be spiritual. There’s a right way to break bread,” said Bon Appetit regional manager and Colorado College alumnus, Brian Wilbur, now revisiting his alma mater on a culinary crusade. After an underwhelming visit six months ago with a culmination of frustrating disappointment, Wilbur is emboldened to raise the standard for Rastall Dining Hall.
Rastall Dining Hall, through its recent renovations and second semester debut, has taken on the allure of a revived culinary carnival. Students and faculty alike can be spotted wandering the reformatted, rejuvenated buffets of the hall with the glassy eyes of awestruck children, ogling an expanded selection of fixings which appear to promise bitefuls of satisfaction.
“We’re really trying to focus on presentation and variety. You eat with your eyes,” said District Manager Buzz Hofford, echoing the Bon Appetit-wide standard. The cafeteria, once dominated by clunky stainless-steel serving dishes and awkward ceramic salad receptacles, now seduces salivation with cast iron pans and various small wares.
As for variety, one new section, labeled “Comfort,” offers greasy, deep-fried decadence sure to smother a hangover, regrettable test score, or possibly even unreciprocated love. Its counterpart “On balance” gives calorie-counting students a nutritious oasis from our processed, factory-fattened American dream. Back to dreaming, students can also enjoy a heaping spread of freshly baked pastries and desserts, including warmed chocolate chip cookies known to liberate childhood nostalgia from the subjugation of collegiate stress.
While initial reactions to these changes seem to be positive, skeptics and nostalgic romantics have formed ranks, revealing the polarity of this dining hall even in its so-called “New Culinary Experience.”
“Rastall’s has failed us before, and may fail us again. I will wait no less than one month before making any concrete claims regarding Rastall’s long term success.” Speaking from a place not unlike that of a distrustful former love interest, Andrew Hildenbrand ’22 views these culinary efforts with wary optimism.
Despite undeniable changes and improvements to be enjoyed in this dining hall, at least one student takes comfort in the continuity which survived rebranding renovations.
“When I left Rastall’s last semester, I had the unmistakable feeling of a gaelic throwing stone magically lodged deep in my intestines — about the size of a Curling granite. As I left Rastall’s today, despite its swanky upgrades, I took comfort in the agony of that same feeling.”
Chili Hopkins ’22 has come to revere — with nostalgia and a dose of self-loathing — the morbid pleasure Rastall Dining Hall seems to offer.
Rastall Dining Hall is that ex-lover you may want to take a second look at. Through sheer quantity of good food and better intent, Bon Appetit is spearheading legitimate efforts to improve our beloved ugly duckling of a dining hall: Rastall’s.