LeeRoy the Tiger sits with a group of students at booths in Mabee Dining Hall
Campus Dining Then and Now
Generations of diners find comfort at Mabee Hall, Student Center
Monday, February 1, 2016

Ah, college students. Smart. Creative. Ambitious. Hungry.

For generations, Tigers have dined together in Mabee Dining Hall between classes, after practices, and before exams. Memories made in Mabee have woven their way into commencement speeches and autobiographies, as students have gathered year after year to celebrate their most common bond: food.

Mabee Dining Hall is now an all-you-care-to-eat facility serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with an attached Provisions on Demand convenience store and grill. After conducting on-campus surveys and researching other university models, Trinity’s dining services adopted this approach to not only help students save money, but to also provide more options.

“Mabee had pretty much been in the same format since 1984, so we knew it was time to do something,” says Miguel Ardid, Trinity’s dining services director. The dining hall switched from the a la carte format in 2011, and over the past five years, Ardid has expanded Mabee’s services to add more vegetarian and gluten-free options, a build-your-own-pasta line, and themed dining nights throughout the semester.

“We have such a diverse group of students here, from different family and food cultures. We talk to the students to see what kinds of food they may want as part of a themed dining night, such as Vietnamese, Indian, or Chinese,” says Rachel Hernandez, marketing specialist for Aramark on Trinity’s campus. As part of a recent Chinese theme night, the dining services team created an authentic Chinese menu, down to a roasted suckling pig.

“The more students talk with friends about their countries’ foods, the more fascinating theme nights become,” Hernandez says.

Changes have also climbed Cardiac Hill to the Coates University Center. Gone are the days of “Coates Pizza” delivery to the dorm rooms: The Commons now features Einstein’s Bagels, Freshii, and Taco Taco Cafe—yes, that Taco Taco, bringing the No. 1 tacos in America straight to Trinity’s campus.

Swing dancers enjoy the music of the Jim Cullum Jazz Band.

Recently remodeled, the Skyline Bistro continues to serve lunch for faculty, staff, and students who enjoy a downtown view. With a chef-curated menu and sandwiches named after faculty members (try the Reuben Dupertuis or the Richard Burr-ger), Skyline has become an increasingly popular place for many across campus. Can’t make it for lunch? Stop by Skyline on the first Saturday night of every month for KRTU’s “Skyline Swing” featuring the world-famous Jim Cullum Jazz Band.

Every other night of the week, Java City Cafe is open for business, serving ecoGrounds coffee, smoothies, and late-night-study snacks. Nestled in a corner by the Coates Library entrance, Java City remains the go-to destination to relax or recharge.

One thing that won’t change? The incredible hospitality with which the dining services staff continues to greet students, faculty, and staff each and every day. Aramark has been a part of Trinity’s campus since 1972, and its staff continues to inspire memories for Tigers. “We’re basically in the people business,” Ardid says. “We have people in the kitchen who have been here close to 40 years.”

“We’ve had students tell us that they were having a bad day, but when they walked into Mabee Dining Hall, an employee turned it around for them.” Hernandez adds. “Our warm, open environment keeps students coming back. Food is definitely something special on the Trinity campus.”


Favorite Foods of Trinity Students

Tigers dish on their favorite campus foods and what keeps them coming back for more.

a white plate with meatloaf, yellow rice, and broccoli

Charles Clark '18
Business Analytics
Stillwater, Okla.

“I like the meatloaf from Mabee. It is usually my favorite thing they have because  it is their most consistent protein dish.”

a white plate with bowtie pasta, mushrooms, broccoli, and marinara sauce

Corina Mendez '19
Austin, Texas

“My favorite food on Trinity’s campus would be the pasta in Mabee because they serve it very warm. They make it full of love. They will customize it for you no matter what. I usually put bowties and then mushrooms and broccoli and use marinara.”

a pepperoni pizza bagel in a cardboard to-go box

Inka Boehm '18
Political Science
St. Louis, Mo.

“The pizza bagel from Einstein’s is consistently good. It is easy to get and carry around, which is important, especially when it’s still warm.”

maroon and red striped disposable coffee cup with lid

Alex Perkowski '18
Political Science
Spring, Texas

“I like the coffee here. It’s the only way that I stay awake during finals.”


Jeanna Goodrich Balreira '08 is the director for content strategy for Trinity University Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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