The Roost, Reinvented

The Roost, Reinvented: There hasn't been much activity on the third floor of Slayter over the last few years, but suddenly there's a crowd, which probably has something to do with the spot's new look -- and the mac and cheese…
issue 01 | spring 2015
UnCommon Ground - The Roost, Reinvented

Tom Krieger ’15 has always wanted his name on a menu“It’s been a dream of mine since my first sandwich—shoutout to Mom!” says Krieger, as he bites into his eponymous chicken avocado melt, The Krieger. “This is going on my résumé.” Jackson Wu-Pong ’15 adds that a “1 a.m. cheesy meal order—The Jackson 5—is an appropriate legacy. Even better than a bench with my name on it.” For those of you who reach for the stars. Krieger and Wu-Pong did, and they were the fortunate co-winners of a “Rename the Roost” poll.

As of March, “The Roost” is now “The Nest,” and it’s open and serving every night on the third floor of Slayter. The walls of the bar have come down, and you no longer need to be 21 to take in one of the more excellent views of campus while you read, talk, study, hang, and, after 8 p.m., eat.

The menu, like the concept of The Nest and its execution, has been driven by student input at every step. Comfort food, with a healthy-ish edge, is one way to describe it, from the ultimate manna—mac and cheese (plus many options)—to flatbreads, sandwiches, soup, vegetables, and yes, gluten-free vegan sugar cookies.

The project began with a proposal from the Dining Committee to renovate The Roost space and open up a study area/smoothie bar. Denison Enterprises, a new student group hoping to foster student businesses, saw an opportunity to develop the plan further. Their aim was to launch a fully student-run operation, following the model of the Bandersnatch.

The best arrangement, in the end, was to collaborate with the campus food service, Bon Appétit. “They’ve been great,” says Dylan Parson ’16. “We took on a leadership role in everything from deciding the hours to what would be served.” 

Denison Enterprises has also ensured that the majority of the staff would be students, and there’s a plan to create a student manager position. “This is a student-led project and will continue to be,” adds Parson. Omar Vargas ’16, Dining Committee liaison on the project, is pumped about the warm, open feeling and the appreciation for the great food. “It reminds me of the atmosphere from some of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles. The aesthetic of The Nest screams comfort,” he says. “I believe this is the beginning of greater student input to what we want our campus to be.” Jenna McDevitt, director of administrative services, agrees. “The 12-foot reclaimed barn-wood table is so popular that the Dining Committee asked if we could add similar ‘community tables’ in Huffman and Curtis too. I love that this collaboration is creating momentum for other positive changes around campus.” A fireplace and student artwork are on the way to make it even better. “What sets The Nest apart from its previous incarnation is the level of student involvement, and I’m proud of that,” says Parson. “So many Denison students now have a stake and a say in what The Nest is, and what it will be, and that’s an awesome thing.”

Published July 2015
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