The Future of Food at Andover: Ryley Room Revamped

On March 29, PA students will meet Flavia. A coffee maker, Flavia produces about 25 different flavors of café beverages, from cappuccino to hot chocolate, and will appear in the refurbished Ryley Room. Paul Robarge, General Manager of Dining Services, said that the new coffee machine embodies some important goals for the room—variety and efficiency. “Variety is key [because] space is limited. It’s still not a large emporium.” Robarge and Allison Carr, Retail Operations Manager or the “Ryley Room Manager,” are aiming to retain Ryley’s old laid-back atmosphere and casual charm while incorporating new features. Robarge and Carr received 669 student responses to an online survey regarding Ryley food options sent out over break. An overwhelming majority of students wanted to see grill items, coffee, chicken wings, ice cream and fresh bakery items available at Ryley. However, survey responses indicated that students were either opposed or indifferent to Chinese, Japanese and Middle Eastern food options. Robarge said, “[Old Ryley] had a lot of fried items. We’re trying to keep the old items and solicit new items before the menus are finalized.” Carr said, “There will be sushi, fresh fruits and parfaits, flatbread pizzas…a variety of vegetarian options plus the old favorites.” Robarge said, “[The refurbished Ryley Room] is a very long room. There’s a stage on one end, one area with open seating and another area for high top table seating.” There will be also one plasma TV and a projector screen. “When we open Ryley, we’re going to make sure the equipment works, train people and concentrate on operating everything smoothly. It’s a short period of time that it will be open before summer,” Robarge said. He said that during the summer break the school and Ryley staff will assess the condition of the room and evaluate how efficiently everything is running. Robarge also commented that changes to décor will most likely be made over the summer. “There are no wall decorations right now. The interior is fairly simple. Over summer we’ll go in and jazz it up. We’re not in the position to spend any more money on that stuff right now,” he said. Programmable track lights will eventually hang from the ceiling. In terms of payment options, Robarge said that students will be allowed to pay using cash or the one-card key system. He said, “We just replaced all of the equipment in Ryley Roller to accept [one-card] keys. As far as we know, it will also be ready for new Commons.” Besides the one-card key system, new Ryley will boast another impressive technological upgrade. Carr said, “Before, [buying food] in Ryley was disorganized. In the new Ryley Room you order from the cashier. It’s a pager system so you’ll order, then hang out somewhere, and go back down to pick up your food when it’s ready.” Daniela Pimentel ’11 is excited for a new venue for students’ activities to open. “Since I only had one term with Ryley Room, I don’t think I got the full experience.”