May 26, 2024

Farmers Market & Craft Fair Coming to Campus, April 23

University Dining is hosting a Farmers’ Market and Craft Fair on Tuesday, April 23rd between 11:30 am and 3pm in Palmieri Plaza.  This event will feature an array of fresh fruits and vegetables from C & T Produce, along with lots of great munchies from a variety of food vendors. This year’s Fair includes returning favorite food vendors Poppin’ Jon’s Kettle Corn, Biscuit Batch, Great Harvest Bread, and Beth’s Mad Batter Baker, along with some new purveyors, such as Chocolate Moonshine, Agora Coffee, Selectos Latin Market, Kindred’s Kandies, and K & K Island Spice and Produce. There will be many gift and craft items available, too. A complete list of the vendors is available on the University Dining website.

New this year is a “Lunch & Learn” dining event featuring a variety of dishes made with honey and a presentation about the benefits of local honey and bee pollen from Rick Pound of the Blackstone Honey Bee Farm.  This event will be held in the South Living Room on the second floor of the CRUC at 12pm.  It is open to all, but space is limited!  Those who wish to attend should RSVP to Rose Benedict,, in order to assure a seat at the table!  *Note: For those with food allergies, please be aware that the meal includes peanut butter and other nuts.

Volunteers Needed for Late-Night Breakfast, April 29

University Dining is seeking a few volunteers to help serve the free Late-Night Breakfast that will be offered to all students on the first night of final exams, Monday, April 29th, between 9:30 pm and 10:30pm.  Several hundred students are expected to attend, so the Dining team could use some extra help to expedite service.  It’s also a lot of fun for the students to get their breakfast munchies served by members of UMW’s faculty and staff!  Volunteers are asked to arrive at 9:15 pm and serve until 10:30pm.  If you would like to sign up, contact Rose Benedict at

Free Lunch & Salsa Making Demo, March 11

Get a free lunch on Monday, March 11th! As their “Welcome Back from Spring Break” gift to UMW’s faculty and staff, University Dining is offering everyone a free lunch in the Restaurants at the Top of the CRUC on Monday between 11 am and 2pm. Just show the cashier your EagleOne ID card when you arrive, and then enjoy an all-you-care-to-eat lunch from a wide variety of cuisines.

As an added bonus, between 12pm and 1pm Brooke Tresch, the Regional Dietitian, will be demonstrating how to make healthy salsas.  The first five students, or members of the faculty and staff, to arrive and sign up to participate in the demonstration, will get to help make the salsas, and everyone will get an opportunity to sample them.

For those who have never dined in the Restaurants at the Top of the CRUC, this is a great opportunity to learn about the available options.  The menu can be viewed in advance by getting the Everyday by Sodexo app on your smart phone, and then searching for Mary Washington. If you would like more information, contact Rose Benedict,

Key Dining Updates for Faculty and Staff

The Restaurants at the Top of the CRUC have undergone some major changes that will be of interest to members of the University’s faculty and staff.

Rebranding of the Restaurants.  Except for Simple Servings, all the names have changed, and new, more modern, signs identify each location.

International Cuisine is Highlighted.  The new Showcase restaurant (formerly Serrano’s) will now feature a variety of global cuisines, which will include Hispanic as well as Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and many other ethnic foods.

“Simple Zone” is new and features packaged gluten-free and vegan breads, bagels, desserts, and other items that are available for self-service from open to close each day. Simple Zone is located at the back side of the new Mix Salad Bar, which has also been enhanced to include more meat proteins, as well as more vegetarian salads and salad dressings.

New Faculty and Staff Price: As part of regularly scheduled price increases, the cost for any meal at the Top of the CRUC for members of the faculty and staff will go up to $7 on February 1st.

Eagle’s Nest Change/Vocelli Pizza: The owner of Vocelli Pizza, who was a valued partner with University Dining for over 15 years, decided it was time to retire, and so Vocelli Pizza closed over the winter break.  We do have a new Italian restaurant coming on board, and more details about that concept and menu will be coming soon.  If all goes well, it will open in early February.

Major Dining Events for Spring: The calendar of special events is posted on the dining website every month, but here’s a snapshot of some of the more notable celebrations. All events take place at the Top of the CRUC.

Black History Month Events: Several events will be held in February, each highlighting a different cuisine representing various Black cultures. Menus were planned in partnership with the Black Student Association, the African Student Union, the NAACP, and the JFMC.  The kick-off event is a Southern Soul Food lunch on Thursday, February 1st, from 11am to 2pm.  That’s followed by a Caribbean Dinner on February 8th, a Mardi Gras Creole Lunch on February 13th, and an African Dinner on February 22nd.

Lunar New Year Celebration Week: February 5-9.  Popular Asian dishes will be served every day, plus Dragon Dance performances will take place at lunch on February 9th.

Health & Wellness Fair: Providers of goods and services that promote physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness will be on hand with demonstrations, free samples, and lots of information.  The Fair will take place on April 3rd in the Chandler Ballroom between 11 am and 3pm. Participation as an exhibitor or vendor is open to anyone, including UMW departments and student groups.  Spaces are free.  For more information, contact Rose Benedict at

Farmer’s Market & Craft Fair.  This outdoor event will be held on Campus Walk from Lee Hall to Monroe Hall on April 23rd between 11:30 am and 3pm.  Local farmers, crafters, artisans, bakers, and other small businesses are invited to participate at no charge. For details contact Rose Benedict at

“Eat Local” comes to University Dining

University Dining is launching an “Eat Local” promotion this week that will bring a variety of new culinary experiences to dining guests and also help support local businesses. Once or twice a month, a local restaurant or local provider of food and beverages, will serve some of their most popular items in the Restaurants at the Top of the CRUC as part of the regular meal service. The Dining team reimburses the local business for the products served, and also provides a little bit extra to help cover some of the labor costs.  The restaurant prepares the food in their own kitchens with their own staff so that the dishes will be a true representation of the food they serve in their restaurants. They’ll then be given a platform in the dining room where they can serve their dishes and talk with guests about their food and dining establishments.

Many local eateries are hidden gems, just waiting to be discovered by our University community. The “Eat Local” promotion will help them get noticed! It will also bring some new and very distinctive tastes and flavor profiles into our campus dining program.   The first “Eat Local” event is Thursday, January 25th, and features Better4You Juices, owned by Claudia and Patrick Barnes.  Patrick’s personal experience with serious health issues inspired Claudia to experiment with a variety of cold-pressed juices, until she came up with all-natural juice blends that would meet Patrick’s nutritional needs, be easy to swallow, and, most importantly, taste great! Her juices were so successful that they eventually decided to open a business so they could share their Better4You juices with everyone.

Claudia and Patrick will be serving several of their juice blends at the Showcase station at the Top of the CRUC between 11am and 1pm on Thursday.  The next “Eat Local” event will be on February 21st, featuring Cool Cat Cupcakes during lunch. Several other local eateries will be coming to the Top of the CRUC throughout the semester.  Details will be available on the Dining website, or by contacting

Thanksgiving Celebration Meals, Nov. 15

University Dining will be hosting their annual Thanksgiving Lunch for members of the University faculty and staff and their guests on Wednesday, November 15th in Chandler Ballroom between 11:30 am and 2 pm.  All your favorite Thanksgiving dishes will be served, along with a nice selection of vegan and gluten-free options, too. The cost for faculty and staff is only $7.50. The costs for other guests, the complete menu and details on pre-purchasing admission and making table reservations are available on the University Dining website at: Faculty & Staff Thanksgiving Lunch for web site (  You may also pre-purchase tickets from Rose Benedict between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm weekdays at the Dining Concierge desk, which is located on the 2nd floor of the CRUC near the entrance to Panera. This is always a very popular event, so while walk-in guests will be admitted on a space available basis, everyone is encouraged to purchase admission in advance.
Volunteers are needed for the Thanksgiving Dinner!  The dining team will also be serving their most popular and highly attended event of the year – the annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the students – on the same day as the faculty and staff lunch!  They expect approximately 1,000 students to attend the event, so they need lots of extra hands to serve the meal.  It has been a long-standing tradition that members of UMW’s faculty and staff volunteer to help serve at this fun and festive event, and the students really enjoy seeing their professors and other University staff in chef hats handing out the Thanksgiving goodies!  You can volunteer individually, or as a group.  The more the merrier! Anyone who volunteers to assist in serving will also get the meal for free, either as a dine-in or take-out option.  If you want to volunteer, please use the link to the Google form, or call Rose Benedict at 540-654-2169, or e-mail her at

Harvest Festival and Farmer’s Market Coming October 19th

University Dining is hosting a Harvest Festival and Farmer’s Market on Thursday, October 19th from 11 am to 4pm on Campus Walk between Lee Hall and the fountain in Palmieri Plaza.  The festival will offer an abundance of fresh produce, kettle corn, fresh juices, bakery items, jewelry, crafts, and information tables hosted by various student clubs and UMW departments. Free hot cider will be provided for all guests, courtesy of University Dining.

In the event of rain, the Harvest Festival will take place in the 2nd floor lobby of the Cedric Rucker University Center.  For additional information, contact Rose Benedict at or call 540-654-2169.

Dining Offering $100 Visa Card Survey Incentive Through Oct. 7

University Dining is anxious to get your feedback on their dining services in the Restaurants at the Top of the CRUC and in their Panera Cafe, so they are offering a $100 Visa card to the winner of the prize drawing, which will be held at the conclusion of the survey.

The survey is open to all members of the University faculty and staff through October 7th.  The information being  gathered is for informational purposes only. The dining team will use your responses to help guide their training, menu planning, and overall programing. No one will try to sell you anything, and your contact information will not be shared with any other group or business.

This is your chance to let your voice be heard! The survey takes about ten minutes to complete, and your responses will definitely assist the Dining team as they plan for the future. To access the survey, simply use this Survey Link, or click on the QR code below.  For additional information contact Rose Benedict, 540-654-2169 or



Vendors Wanted for Harvest Festival and Farmers’ Market, Oct.19

University Dining is hosting their second annual Harvest Festival and Farmers’ Market on Thursday, Oct. 19, on Campus Walk and Palmieri Plaza from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Last year’s festival was a huge success, and most of those vendors, along with a few new ones, will be participating this year, including:

  • Poppin’ Jon’s Kettle Corn
  •  C & T Produce
  •  Better4You Juices
  • Biscuit Batch
  • Fika Studios

However, there is still room for a few more . . .

  •    Food Vendors
  •    Crafters, Artists & Artisans
  •    Service Organizations
  •    Interest Clubs
  •    University Departments
  •    Anyone who wants to sell or promote goods, services or activities!

Except for a few space limitations, there is a place for everyone at the Harvest Festival and Farmers’ Market! Rain location is the 2nd floor lobby of the CRUC. If you would like to participate, please use the Harvest Festival Registration link or QR code to register.  Registration closes on Tuesday, October 3rd. For further information, contact Rose Benedict,, 540-654-2169.

Special University Dining Events, Sept. 5 and 6

Beef Bulgogi Bibimbap Bowl

Beef Bulgogi Bibimbap Bowl

Half Price Lunch

University Dining is offering a Faculty and Staff Appreciation Half-Price Lunch on Tuesday, Sept. 5, in the Restaurants at the Top of the CRUC.  All members of the University’s faculty and staff may enjoy lunch between 11 am and 2 pm for only $3.25, – 50% off the current faculty and staff rate! Please remember to bring your faculty and staff ID in order to get the discount.

If you would like to know what we’ll be serving, you can view the menu in the Everyday by Sodexo App. Download the app and search for Mary Washington, or you can check the University Dining website,, click the menu button, then select Top of the Cedric Rucker University Center.

Free Kodiak Flapjack Sampling

University dining invites everyone to come on over to the CRUC patio on Wednesday morning, Sept. 6, to get some awesome Kodiak flapjacks, samples of their snack bars, and lots of swag!  This is a great way to start you day, and everything is free!  We’ll be serving between 9:30 am and 11:30 am on Wednesday, September 7th on the patio.  In the event of rain, the event wll move to the lobby of the CRUC (2nd floor).

Bulgogi Beef Bibimbap Globowl Dinner

We’re kicking off our new series of gourmet Globowl Dinners on Wednesday, Sept. 6, with the ever-popular Bibimbap Bowls! For those who have not heard about Globowl Dinners, they are gourmet meals served in bowls and prepared to order for each guest by our Executive Chef in the Restaurants at the Top of the CRUC.  Globowl Dinners are offered twice a month, and each one features different international cuisines. Globowl Dinners are served between 5 and 7 p.m., or until we are sold out. The price is $7.99, in addition to the regular price of admission for dinner.

For more information any of these Dining events, contact Rose Benedict, or 540-654-2169.