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Alcohol Service Returns to Campus Eatery

By Cody Kitaura/Dateline on April 2, 2019 in University

A campus eatery is continuing a theme set forth with its 2017 remodel by adding more affordable dishes, policies meant to create a relaxed atmosphere, and now: beer and wine service.

The Gunrock, the restaurant and bar in The Silo, has been overseen by Dining Services since the campus in 2016 decided it would run its own food operations (most everything except the ASUCD Coffee House), instead of contracting with Sodexo. Formerly known as the Gunrock Pub, it reopened in September 2017 with brighter flooring, modern decor like a living plant wall, and a menu that changes quarterly to feature seasonal and campus-produced ingredients.

Now, The Gunrock is focused on telling people its doors are open to everyone.

“We want to get the word out that students are welcome here,” said Mary Schertzer, assistant director of retail dining with Dining Services.

In fact, The Gunrock hosts a wide variety of customers, from departments entertaining special guests (AggieTravel purchases accepted), to students bringing in outside food and joining friends at the bar.

The latest change comes behind that bar: beer and wine service. The Gunrock at this time has nine beers (on tap and in bottles), a hard cider and two kinds of wine. All of the alcoholic beverages are local save for one beer and the cider, and two are produced by alumni: Dunloe Brewing’s Hazy IPA and Super Owl’s Mr. J.

“From the first day we opened we had people coming in here and asking, ‘Can I get a beer?’” Schertzer said. “Restaurants and alcohol service go hand-in-hand.”

Afternoons at The Gunrock are more relaxed — the restaurant switches to a fast-casual, “counter service” style, where you order and pay at the register, and food is delivered to your table. An “Aggie Hour” menu features pub-style dishes.

The 14 student employees — all of whom have worked there since the 2017 opening — help set the afternoon tone, trading collared shirts for T-shirts and taking turns choosing music for the eatery. One student is a fan of funk music, for instance, while another prefers Spanish flamenco, said Keith Luke, manager of retail restaurants.

“We want it to be an open space for students to hang out,” Luke said.

Schertzer and Luke added that The Gunrock is also meant to be a place for faculty and staff to unwind after work. Previously the eatery was open only for lunch; it now stays open until 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 4:30 p.m. Friday.

A group eats in The Gunrock.
Lunchtime at The Gunrock. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Other food news: Coffee, boba and burgers

  • A coffee kiosk outside California Hall is nearing completion and will open later this spring. The small outbuilding will serve Peet’s Coffee, as well as breakfast burritos and sandwiches, panini and other food items.
  • Boba is being offered at more eateries on campus. Both the Peet’s cart inside the International Center and the Spokes Grill in the Silo now serve the drink. Segundo Market also offers a single flavor.
  • Spokes Grill is using a new method to move people through more quickly during the lunch hour. Patrons who choose the “On the Left” line can order from a limited menu, with no substitutions. The name “On the Left” is in keeping with the eatery’s bicycle theme — that’s what riders say when they are passing other cyclists.

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