Athens, Ga. – UGA dining halls will showcase foods from several Athens cities in the U.S. and Greece in its “All Athens” dining event on Feb. 28.
“We’re going to highlight the uniqueness of the different Athens locales and what they’re famous for,” said Wayne Fair, manager of Bolton Dining Commons.
Every year, each of the university’s four dining halls plans a themed dinner to be held during spring semester. Bolton Dining Commons’ themeddinner, “All Athens,” will be held in conjunction with three other dining events. Two themed dinners-“Pirates in Port Dinner” at Oglethorpe Dining Commons and a “Harlem Renaissance Dinner” at Snelling Dining Commons-were held earlier this semester. The final dining event, “Dinner on the Greens” at the Village Summit, will be held March 18.
Bolton employees were responsible for planning the menu and decorations for the dining event, which will feature dishes from five different Athens locations. “We have a good range of menu items to feature among the four dining halls,” Fair said.
This includes Athens, Ala., which is known as the world’s chicken stew capital. “We contacted the Chamber of Commerce there, and they have graciously sent us a chicken stew recipe,” said Fair.
Athens, Tenn., corporate headquarters of Mayfield Dairy Farms, will be highlighted with the farm’s owner, Scottie Mayfield, and the company’s cow mascot, Maggie, attending the “All Athens” festivities. Mayfield will probably spend most of his time at Bolton, greeting patrons and handing out ice cream sandwiches, according to Fair. Other featured recipes include the side dish of broccoli with hazelnut butter, from Athens, Ohio, and vegetable soup and Saginaki flaming cheese, compliments of Athens, Greece.
Local restaurants will submit the recipes representing Athens, Ga. Weaver D’s, the Last Resort Grill, DePalmas Italian Café, Big City Bread, The Grit and Farm 255 all will donate recipes for one or two of the featured dishes.
“We try to do meals that are unique, educational and fun,” Fair said about the dinner. “It will be an interesting event.”
The dinner will be served at all four dining halls from 4 to 8 p.m., and while primarily geared toward those who participate in the meal plan, Fair said anyone is welcome. The cost for non-meal plan participants is $13.90. And there is no need to fear that the famous chicken stew from Athens, Ala., will be gone by the time late diners arrive. Fair said that each food item would be well-stocked throughout the evening.
Mike Floyd, food services director, came up with the themed-dinner idea more than 22 years ago while working at Valdosta State University. Floyd wanted to spice things up and created the events as a way to keep customers satisfied. “We try to do different things that eliminate monotony in our program,” Floyd said. “Because our food service program is totally voluntary, we have to be out on the edge, doing new and creative things to excite our customers to want to be our customers.”
Every year food services enters its creative dinners into a national menu contest, sponsored by the National Association of College and University Food Services. UGA has won 59 Loyal E. Horton Awards from NACUFS, including both a bronze medal and honorable mention in 2007 for the themed-dinner contest in the large-school category.