Be ready for a taste test when you step into Salmanson Dining Hall this year.
Bryant’s new culinary provider, AVI Foodsystems’ Resident Director David Parisi, and his staff are elevating Bryant’s dining experience; with fresh, made-from-scratch dishes built from an extensive recipe database, AVI Foodsystems has curated more than 60 years in the food industry. The Ohio-based company has customers in 45 states and serves a variety of tech companies such as Amazon and higher-ed institutions, like Wellesley College and Saint Anselm College.
Here’s the latest on what to expect.
In Salmanson, AVI puts its own twist on the menus while continuing to provide community favorites.
“At AVI, we focus on freshness and customization,” Parisi, a chef of 35 years, says. “We want to make sure we’re serving fresh vegetables and trying to find new and creative ways to serve them.”
This food hub includes 11 stations complete with homestyle comfort food, plant-based cuisine, deli sandwiches and salads, grilled options, and more. Salmanson is also equipped with a station free from the top nine allergens and a build-your-own area where diners can create omelets and smoothies.
Parisi adds that AVI is sourcing a variety of house-baked breads for the deli. Also new is a bowl station with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors: think harissa chicken, hummus, beans, grains, and roasted vegetables.
“I think that station is going to be really popular,” Parisi says. “We’ll have a few suggested combinations, but if people want to make their own bowls they can certainly customize.”
AVI has added a pastry chef and small team to make breakfast pastries and fresh, flavorful desserts. The company is also revamping Lemon Grass’s menu to be more plant-forward and increase its Vietnamese flair.
“There are still going to be some of the standards that people are expecting, but new flavors are coming as well,” Parisi says.
AVI debuts several concepts at Tupper’s in the Michael E. '67 and Karen L. Fisher Student Center.
Freshens, a contemporary concept, offers wraps, smoothies, rice bowls, grilled flatbreads, and salads. Meanwhile, Craft will act as an upscale burger and sandwich bar where people can create hand-pressed burgers with fresh toppings and classic sides.
“Instead of your standard hamburger, it’s going to be a burger with options like sauteed onions and mushrooms, gourmet cheeses and sauces,” Parisi says.
Parisi says AVI is also introducing a Latin concept eatery with burritos and taco bowls. A late-night offering, known as Crave Town, combines Freshens, Craft, and the Latin concept.
AVI will continue running The Exchange, which sells grab and go options such as sandwiches, salads, and packaged snacks. In January, the dining service plans to open a small convenience store between Tupper’s and Dunkin’.
Addressing allergies and dietary needs
For individuals with dietary needs, allergies, or food preferences, the AVI dining staff is here to help.
“I want students to come to us so we can get to know who they are and help them navigate their options,” Parisi says.
Parisi says students with allergies and dietary needs may feel left out because they don't know how to navigate the dining areas.
“Let us walk you through and show you where everything is,” Parisi says, adding that AVI’s dining menus have an icon system labeling food allergens and food preferences to keep guests in the know. “We are here to take care of students and guests.”
Variety is the spice of life, and Parisi says there is tremendous opportunity to incrementally improve the campus’ resident dining, retail dining, and catering and concessions offerings.
Whether it’s providing food and beverages at sports events to create a food truck festival atmosphere or emphasizing seasonal delights by having apple chutney on roast beef sandwiches, Parisi is excited for people to experience what AVI can do.
“I think there's an opportunity to really push the boundaries on some things,” Parisi says. “There are all these little details we can add to really elevate the experience.”