Mrs. E’s dining hall is revamping its services for spring semester

Most 19-year-olds don’t need a facelift, but after serving thousands of meals daily, Mrs. E’s is due for a makeover.

KU Dining will begin more than $3 million in renovations to the dining food court and dining room. The construction on the Engel Road entrance will begin during winter break and may continue over spring break, with the rest of the changes slated to begin after Commencement in May and should be completed Aug. 23.

Ashleigh Lee/KANSAN
Mrs. E’s, from the back.

“We’re looking at about 72 days to get everything done,” said Sheryl Kidwell, KU Memorial Unions assistant director. “It’s going to be a quick turnaround, but well worth it.”

But Mrs. E’s’ look isn’t the only thing changing. KU Dining is updating the menu, or zones, to add variety and inclusiveness.

A U-shaped bar will be for specialty diets, such as gluten-free, kosher, vegan or vegetarian, and it will include Islamic foods for a halal diet.

“We are making a conscious effort to make it all-inclusive,” Kidwell said.

But for Clay Center sophomore Shannon Livegood, the most exciting part is the addition of a carving station.

“I feel like I’m eating the same thing all the time,” Livegood said. “I’d like to see more turkey or beef.”

Another addition to the meat department is a BBQ smoker.

“When you’re this close to Kansas City, you’ve got to get in BBQ game,” Kidwell said.

Popular favorites like cereal and dessert bars will stick around, but the pasta bar, or “Noodle Niche,” will include pasta from around the world as well as stir fry, and students will be able to select their own ingredients.

“I think it would be good to have more options where you make the food yourself,” said Nora Walthers, a sophomore from Chicago.

The deli will change to include toasted sandwiches and Paninis.

And with Mrs. E’s being the busiest dining hall, serving about 3,400 meals a day, Kidwell said an expansion in the menu was needed to keep up with current dining trends.

Kidwell said they were trying to make the space more open and revamp how they do things.

“Most of the cooking and preparation will be done in front of students.” Kidwell said.

Mrs. E’s was named after Lenoir Ekdahl, a dining director for more than 30 years who helped plan the center. Kidwell said she was known for her dedication to staff and students.

“She’s been well-loved, but those of us who have been her 20 years know it’s time for a facelift,” Kidwell said.

  • Updated Nov. 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm
  • Edited by Stéphane Roque