"One" exposes the College to local restaurants, sees unexpected attendance levels

by Charles Chen | 1/30/19 3:00am

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by Paula Kutschera / The Dartmouth

“One” long awaited dining event occurred last night at the Class of ’53 Commons, starting at 4:30pm in the afternoon and running throughout dinner until 8:00pm. The dinner was designed to expose members of the College community to local restaurants and eateries through the addition of dishes from various local restaurant menus to ’53 Commons for the night.

A long line of students that had queued up for the event’s opening were greeted with green lights illuminating the entrance, the bright green DDS inflatable tube man, and a “ONE” sign at the entrance to ’53 Commons. Later on in the night, Hollywood-style searchlights were even turned on outside the building. Inside the dining area, tables were decked out with black and white tablecloths and floral arrangements. A “ONE” ice sculpture adorned the center of the food court. 

Each diner received a menu at the entrance which featured food from ten different local institutions. Seven of the ten slated restaurants were local eateries. The Skinny Pancake brought crepe makers and prepared its “SugarShack” and “Choco Nutty” crepes. Morano Gelato brought three flavors of gelato; Noodle Station brought its “Asian Persuasion” noodles; Pine brought short ribs with potato gnocchi; and Boloco brought mini vegetarian burritos. Each restaurant took over a different station at ’53 Commons, and workers from each restaurant was assisted by DDS workers.

DDS also purchased pastries from the Dirt Cowboy cafe for the event, but the restaurant itself did not attend.

Although Molly’s was listed on the menu as bringing mac and cheese and flatbread pizza, the restaurant did not attend the event. According to director of Dartmouth Dining Services Jon Ploznik, Molly’s dropped out at 11 a.m. on the morning of.

Jennifer Packard is in charge of marketing and public relations at Molly’s Restaurant and Bar, and said that due to numerous other responsibilities and events, the head chef was unable to fully commit to the event and decided to back out.

“They had approached us with interest, but we hadn’t committed 100 percent,” Packard said.

Roslin’s Asian Foods and foods from the College’s Courtyard Cafe and Collis Cafe completed the menu offerings.

Dhungjoo Kim ’19 attended the event, and said that although he enjoyed the food, the lines for the food were too long. Other students in attendance had similar thoughts, praising the food quality but complaining of line far longer than other food court events.

The line for Pine at the “Ma Thayer’s” station stretched to the entrance of the dining area. Other stations also had long waits. According to Ploznik, over 2,300 community members attended, nearly a thousand more than the forecasted 1,425 diners on a given Monday night. He added that it was likely a record number for ’53 Commons.

“We had such a huge outpouring of people at the event,” Ploznik said, adding that over 500 people came during the first half hour.

Food suppliers were unprepared for the number of patrons in attendance.

“The food went a lot faster than we anticipated, and we went through a lot of product,” Ploznik said. He added that the original plan also didn’t account for students waiting in line for every single menu item.

However, regardless of the unexpected attendance level, vendors were still pleased with the outcome.

“The participants from the vendors were very excited about feedback they received” Ploznik said.

Community sales and catering manager at Skinny Pancake Danielle Paro said that the event was a success.

“It went great! It was busy throughout the whole event and students really liked the food!” she said, adding that Skinny Pancake would be open to future collaborations with DDS.

Co-owner of the Noodle Station Samantha Chu said that she was pleased with the event and would also be open to future collaboration.

According to Ploznik, these events typically take several months to plan. The concept for “One” was conceived last November, when Jon Plonik and DDS staff dietitian Beth Rosenberger began reaching out to community members. He says that the name of the event “One” was initially inspired by the idea of a single dish from each restaurant.

Ploznik added that DDS was looking to repeat the “One” event next year.