When you feed a student body of over 3,000—along with faculty and staff—and serve everything from macaroni and cheese to delicate hors-d'oeuvres, you need a top-notch, efficient kitchen and serving space.
It doesn’t hurt if the design makes it easy for chefs to whet diners’ appetites with delicacies that defy most preconceived notions of cafeteria food.
Mary’s Kitchen, located on the ground floor of the Christine E. Lynn University Center, is a gleaming, modern yet comfortable area for serving food—but also for cooking.
"Most of the cooking will be done in the front of the house, in display cooking stations,” said Tom Heffernan, director of construction and sustainability.
“Exhibition cooking” stations, where food is prepared in front of the diner, delight the senses. The sights and sounds of chefs combining fresh, colorful ingredients entice diners in a way that traditional buffet service can’t.
While some of the stations will be familiar to current patrons, others will have a new twist.
“We decided to go back to an old-fashioned brick pizza oven,” said Heffernan. College students and pizza go together like tomato sauce and cheese, and pizza is an ever-popular choice at Lynn."
Like the rest of the university center, the kitchen helps unite the campus community. This allows open access to the dining area, not only for those purchasing their food but for students or staff bringing a packed lunch or takeout from other cafes on campus, such as Christine’s on the second floor. Commuter students can now easily join residential students for lunch.
The design features a new system to manage purchases: diners will pass through checkout lines on their way out. Four checkout lines will allow faster service for a steady flow of diners.
Mary Perper and her late husband, Harold, have been friends and benefactors of Lynn for many years. The Perper name appears on facilities as varied as Lynn’s newest residence hall, the intramural field, the library coffee shop, and the student mailroom, now located on the south side of the university center's first floor.
Perper family gifts
Mary and the late Harold Perper have made an impact on the quality of campus life over the past 28 years.
Their gifts include:
- Mary’s Kitchen in the Christine E. Lynn University Center
- Perper Women’s Lacrosse Locker Room at Bobby Campbell Stadium
- Mary and Harold Perper Residence Hall
- Mary Ann and Harold Perper Intramural Field
- Mary Ann and Harold Perper Grandstands at Bobby Campbell Stadium
- Perper Tennis Complex
- Mary Ann and Harold Perper Orchestra and Mezzanine Seating in the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center
- Mary and Harold Perper Plaza
- Perper Mailroom
- Harold and Mary Perper Testing Center in the Institute for Achievement and Learning
- Perper Coffee House in the Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn Library
- Perper Communication Center
- Scholarships and annual gifts