Mix of problems delay DDS' 'Blend'
When planning started last spring for the new smoothie bar in Thayer Dining Hall, all construction was slated to end Sept. 10 in the hopes of holding a grand opening early in Fall term.
As many students have already noticed, work on "The Blend" has not gone according to plan, and the space still stands dormant.
The failure of outside contractors to meet deadlines and delayed deliveries are responsible for the setback, Dartmouth Dining Services managers said.
"Tile, plumbing and electrical work have all set us back. In fact, we are still waiting for some of the electrical work to be finished," DDS Assistant Director David Newlove said.
Several of these finishing touches are important safety concerns. For example, as it stands now, turning on the lights would cause the awning to catch fire.
The Blend already has all the necessary operating equipment, Newlove said.
"If everything fell perfectly into place by next week, we would be up and running for the week between Thanksgiving and winter breaks," DDS Director Tucker Rossiter said. He added, however, that this outcome is unlikely, so The Blend will probably be ready for its grand opening when students return from winter vacation.
"Like any new restaurant, we still need to fine-tune the recipes and equipment, so even if we don't open before winter recess, we will still be testing between now and then," Newlove said.
As it stands now, the menu includes fruit, milk and soy-based smoothies, as well as milkshakes, sandwiches, wraps and an assortment of pastries. Daily and weekly specials will be offered in addition to the regular menu. There will most likely be one full-time employee and three student workers serving customers. The planned hours of operation are weekdays from about 10:00 or 10:30 a.m. to around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m., but according to Rossiter, "the hours are open to adjustment."
Rossiter said that while he hopes The Blend will alleviate some of the lines at Collis Center's smoothie bar, he is not sure what the extent of the impact will be because The Blend offers a different product.
"At Collis you can pick and choose your own ingredients, while at The Blend there will be set menu items, so it might cater to a different crowd," he said.
Collis smoothie-bar faithful Rose McClendon '06 says that she is "satisfied with what Collis has to offer" but that she "doesn't know much about The Blend and will check it out when it opens."
Registered dietician Beth Rosenberger will supervise The Blend in addition to her responsibilities as manager of Home Plate. According to Newlove, Rosenberger has worked hard to create a balanced menu, not one of just sugary and sweet smoothies.
"She has created a great mix of things on the menu. Our hope is that this will provide a quick meal option for kids on the run who would otherwise not have time to eat a meal before their next class," Newlove said.
Rossiter said that DDS has not yet received any complaints about the delayed opening. In fact, most students seemed oblivious to The Blend, he said.