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Gourmet Dining Is Served

by Kamil Santana

Gourmet Dining (GD) is Montclair State University’s new dining vendor.

Based in New Jersey, the company is run by brothers Michael and Anthony Frungillo. The brothers inherited the family business and it has been in operation since 1987.

Michael (left) and Anthony (right) are the owners and operators of Gourmet Dining, LLC.

Michael (left) and Anthony (right) are the owners and operators of Gourmet Dining, LLC.
Kamil Santana | The Montclarion

Michael is the president and CEO and Anthony is the executive vice president. GD has worked with many other universities in New Jersey including Rowan University, Seton Hall University, Kean University and Rutgers University.

They joined students on Monday, April 24 at the Student Center Ballrooms for a launch party celebrating their partnership with Montclair State. Students got to taste food from GD partners Chick-N-Bap, Juicy Platters and La Cocina.

GD created a website where students can read about what new changes to expect for the campus dining experience.

Anthony said he appreciated the opinions coming from students attending the event.

“I mean we were extremely excited to see the excitement on the students’ faces and the interaction and the positive feedback of some of the things we’re looking for next year based off our ideas has been tremendous,” Anthony said.

Anthony spoke about the change coming for meal plans and what local partners will bring to the table.

“I think the neatest thing is being able to expand the meal plan variety and the meal plan options or on the meal plan swipes itself is one of the biggest impacts you see from day one,” Anthony said. “[We want to showcase] the local businesses, the local restaurants in this area because we have some dynamite food in this area that we would like to bring to campus.”

George Kuzma is GD’s vice president of business development. He spoke on the vision GD has for the food to be served to students and where they can enjoy it.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to focus on fresh, clean ingredients, clean eating and a lot of authentic cuisines,” Kuzma said. “And really mixing in between the resident dining program and the commuter dining program, trying to meld them as one and encouraging commuters to come into the all-you-care-to eat-dining. And encouraging [them] to come socialize on campus, trying to create spaces that are great for everybody to hang out, whether it’s outdoors [at] the student center, outside Blanton or anywhere in between.”

Kuzma said students will have the opportunity to work with dietitians on campus to create a meal plan that is tailored to their needs and goals.

“We’re also focused on having a strong dietitian program, so we’ll have campus dietitians,” Kuzma said. “They’ll also have dietetic interns and nutrition interns and they’re available for students, faculty, staff, administrators and athletes just for pre-workout, post-workout and any dining needs. They’re there to work with the chefs on the menu.”

Anthony and Kuzma gave a presentation on the plans to elevate the dining experience across campus in places like the Student Center, Blanton Hall and Freeman Hall.

Hours of operation at various locations will be extended.

Blanton Hall will have an Amazon Go convenience stop where students will be able to swipe, buy and go. Another addition is a virtual kitchen with food from different national chains that will allow students to simply order and pick up,

An outdoor dining space is also planned for Blanton Hall.

The Student Center’s Rathskeller will be redesigned into a pub-style space.

GD envisions a pub-style renovation at the Student Center Rathskeller.

GD envisions a pub-style renovation for the Student Center Rathskeller.
Photo Courtesy of Gourmet Dining

Freeman Hall will have cooking classes for students to learn how to make various dishes. Students will be allowed to use kitchen spaces to make cuisines that they enjoy making at home.

Clove Rd. will see the addition of a Panera Express and another Dunkin’ Donuts or possibly a Starbucks location. Much more is to come according to GD’s plans.

Terry Dickerson is a junior journalism and digital media major. She is also the director of student affairs under the student government association.

She took on a big role as a student advocate being the only one to vote for a new dining vendor.

“My role in this was in the month of February, I was the only student on a committee that was working to select the new dining vendor,” Dickerson said. “We reviewed other companies’ proposals and things like that, but the main thing that we really wanted to do was make sure our students’ needs were being met and making sure that they felt heard in the process.”

Dickerson said the change in dining vendor will be what students are hoping for.

“I can say that I think we can expect a completely different dining program here at Montclair State,” Dickerson said. “We are going to completely rebrand to have people have a positive experience with dining and have everybody from different dietary restrictions, walks of life, different lifestyles, be served with this new dining contract. And I think students can expect things that they’ve advocated for. They can expect to have a say in what’s going to be served in our dining locations and things, and just really be a part of the experience and expect more of a community sense around our dining as opposed to what we’ve seen in the past.”

University president Jonathan Koppell spoke about the new dining vendor at this semester’s student media roundtable.

President Koppell spoke to student media about his excitement of GD's integration to campus.

President Koppell spoke to student media about his excitement for GD's integration to campus. Kamil Santana | The Montclarion

Koppell said GD will meet the student’s wants and needs.

“So we’re very excited about the company Gourmet [Dining] that ultimately won the request for proposals and they are enthusiastic about doing innovative things on campus,” Koppell said. “So that includes food options that we think address student wants: healthier options, halal options.”

Koppel hopes that dining at Montclair State will be a pleasant experience and something students will enjoy.

“The biggest thing is we want dining to be an asset of the campus, something that brings people together, something that draws people to campus and keeps people on campus as opposed to a way to get calories so you make it through the day, right?” Koppell said. “So it should become a positive part of the Montclair [State] campus experience and we’re pretty confident that students are going to be really excited about what they see.”

Students who attended the launch party are excited about the new dining experience.

Students gather to enjoy the food served at the launch party.

Students gather to enjoy the food served at the launch party.
Kamil Santana | The Montclarion

Brandon Primus, a sophomore computer science major, noticed the diverse food options showcased at the event.

“Yeah, the food is great,” Primus said. “I’ve seen a lot of different foods for everyone’s different cultures and I like that. I like the change.”

Jamie Hamilton, a sophomore exercise science and athletic training major, thinks it does not compare to the current meals being served on campus.

Hamilton (left) and Primus (right) are excited for what GD will be offering next semester.

Jamie Hamilton (left) and Brandon Primus (right) are excited for what GD will be offering next semester.
Kamil Santana | The Montclarion

“I love it. The food is good,” Hamilton said. “It’s a big change from what we’ve been eating at Sam’s [Place] or Freeman [Hall], so I love the change right here.”

Both students are residents and are players on Montclair State’s football team. From what they had tasted so far, they said it was great fuel for their diets as athletes.

“As football players we need to eat a lot of food, all this right here is a change [that] we need,” Hamilton said.

GD’s contract will go into effect this summer.

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