Student-run Aspen Grille providing meals in the Durrell Center for the academic year

Meals on counterStory by Sylvia Cranmer and Ethan Dvorak

A Colorado State University on-campus eatery has a temporary new home and new name for the 2022-23 academic year.

The Aspen Grille has relocated from the Lory Student Center to the Durrell Center while the LSC undergoes renovations during the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters. Operating in the Durrell Center as “The Stateroom,” the temporary iteration of the restaurant is offering both dine-in and takeout lunch options, with online ordering for dine-in or pick-up through GrubHub Campus.

The Aspen Grille/Stateroom is operated by students in the Hospitality Management Program, which is under the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition within CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences. Students take a semester-long class in which they learn about restaurant operations. The restaurant is a working classroom for students where they earn credits rather than paychecks. Four days a week, students work in the kitchen, serve customers and participate in virtually every aspect of the restaurant’s operations, including management.

More student customers

The Aspen Grille/Stateroom has a made-from-scratch menu focused on local and sustainable ingredients. Business has increased four-fold since the move to Durrell. At the LSC location, the customer base was primarily faculty and staff. At the new location in a residential dining center, the customers also include many first-year students who live near the Durrell Center, who may not have made the trip across campus to the LSC for lunch. In partnership with Housing & Dining Services, The Stateroom offers a more student-focused experience and menu.

This increase in business has created an increased demand for the food offerings, particularly the popular food items such as the Birria Torta and the Salmon Poke.

“We have been selling out of our top sellers within the first 45 minutes of service, so if people want to eat the hits, you will want to put the orders in early,” said Ken Symsack, head chef and course instructor for the Aspen Grille/Stateroom.

Locally sourced

Close to 20% of the customers choose the dine-in option, utilizing reusable plates, bowls and silverware. In addition, every dish has a local component to it.

“The food is sourced from within 300 miles and focuses on Colorado’s agricultural heritage,” Symsack said. “We incorporate these ingredients into cool and exciting dishes that the students would enjoy.”

Students, faculty and staff who are on campus can download the GrubHub app, enter their CSU ID, and order online for takeout or in-person dining. This feature also provides access to all dining centers and campus-affiliated dining options. GrubHub Campus offers both mobile ordering via a personal device or in-person ordering via the kiosk located at the entry to the dining room. To order specifically for The Stateroom, look for the name under Durrell Center.

The Stateroom is serving lunch Tuesday – Friday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. For more information on The Stateroom and other residential dining options (including menus), visit the Housing & Dining Services website.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.