MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA Interested students browsed potential designs and food at a forum introducing Bon Appetit as the new vendor for the pub in HFSC.
Interested students browsed potential designs and food at a forum introducing Bon Appetit as the new vendor for the pub in HFSC.

Bon Appétit Management Company will manage the pub in the Healey Family Student Center, replacing Mason Inn owner Fritz Brogan, who backed out of the project in December, the university announced Tuesday.

Bon Appétit currently services over 500 restaurants and dining halls, including those at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, Google and eBay. The company will develop a menu specific to the pub, which is set to open along with HFSC in the fall.

“Bon Appétit offers a robust program, and the committee reviewing pub vendors really thought the program they offered would enhance the current on-campus food offering for students the most,” Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Business Services Joelle Wiese wrote in an email. “I know I speak for many when I say we all want the pub to be successful — this is an exciting time for students. The pub will provide many wonderful memories for students and be a part of the campus for generations.”

The university had multiple criteria for a pub vendor, including late-night hours for students who are 18 years or older, a carry-out window, openness to student employees and engagement in student opinion, according to Wiese.

“These were all factors in the selection of the pub vendor, along with design and concept ideas, menu input and overall approach to the restaurant business,” Wiese wrote. “There were many great vendors that were part of the process, and we thought that Bon Appétit was the best match for the students of Georgetown.”

While Brogan’s original plans for the HFSC space included a restaurant, the switch to Bon Appétit puts the pub in the hands of a vendor with a markedly different background. Bon Appétit is better known for its food, often in dining hall settings, while Brogan came to the project with a background as a local bar owner.

In planning forums over the summer, Brogan presented a vision for the pub as a gathering space for Georgetown students that would remain open until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. on the weekends, with late-night food also available. Brogan even floated the idea of staying open 24 hours if encouraged by student demand.

Under Brogan’s plan, the pub would also have served brunch, including mimosas and Bloody Marys, on the weekends, and included a catering arm for both food and alcohol. Brogan described the restaurant as relying on “Chipotle-style service” in August.

Bon Appétit’s background, by contrast, is more similar to a traditional large-scale food vendor, focusing on “corporations, universities, museums and specialty venues,” according to its website. Chefs customize menus for their customer base at each location, and the company’s focus is food rather than alcohol.

The university hosted a pub showcase Wednesday in Sellinger Lounge and the Leavey Program Room, where students could see pub designs, sample Bon Appétit food, apply for jobs and vote for names, designs and themes for the location.

“The pub showcase was held to provide students the opportunity to experience the pub as much as possible at this point in the process,” Wiese wrote in an email. “The student pub is for ‘the students,’ if you think about it, how could we not do the pub showcase?”

Emily Herman, a freshman at Johns Hopkins University, eats food provided by Bon Appétit almost every day in her dining halls.

“Although it’s not perfect, I think Bon Appétit does a pretty good job overall with providing many fresh and healthy options,” Herman said. “I love that they often serve seasonal, local vegetables. Also, the baked goods here have been so good recently that the baker has his own cult following.”

Grace Memmo, a freshman at University of Pennsylvania, said she enjoys the customization and variety that Bon Appétit provides to her dining halls.

“They’re very big on getting locally grown food, and we compost, so that’s good too. Also, they can have delicious specialty items and good pasta and salad bars and make customized food,” Memmo said.

Architects from Buell Kratzer Powell, who are collaborating with Bon Appétit to create an ideal space for both groups, spoke to students at the showcase. Darrell Kratzer and Caitlin Daley, architects for the group, said that they tried to give the pub a community atmosphere.

“We really wanted a pub feel, a place that felt almost like a local bar that you really want to go to and spend some time in and meet your friends,” Daley said.

The architects decided to use natural materials, including a thick distressed wood bar top.

“We like natural materials,” Kratzer said. “We looked at some materials that are in the great hall [Healy Hall] and we will be incorporating some of that in the bar, like stone and wood and a very thick wood bar top.”

Both architects said that their favorite element of the pub is a wall constructed of kegs, which will also serve as a room divider. The wall will create the “Blue Room,” a separate space designed for student rental for parties and events.

“We’re both really excited about the keg wall,” Daley said. “We think it’s a really unique design element and something that people can really look back on and say ‘Remember the pub? Remember how great it was?’ It’s great because it does provide that functional element to make a space for the Blue Room. We’re pretty pumped about it.”

Kait Wilde (MSB ’17) attended the showcase to learn about the plans for the pub.

“I like that the student body is encouraged to get involved in customizing the pub by selecting fabrics and choosing a name,” Wilde said. “I can see myself going there with friends on the weekends and expect it to be both welcoming and successful. For me, the Nutella milkshakes sealed the deal.”

One Comment

  1. “I like that the student body is encouraged to get involved in customizing the pub by selecting fabrics and choosing a name…” a phrase never uttered when the Pub was around in the 1970’s.

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