New Dickey Hall Eatery Nourishes a Community


New Dickey Hall Eatery Nourishes a Community

by Gail Hairston and Andrea Richard

In 2011, the College of Education sent out a survey to students asking what they could do to improve the student experience. 

Students responded with "a dining facility." Their second response was better utilization of outdoor space. Committed to ensuring education students a positive experience, Mary John O’Hair, dean of the College of Education, went to work developing a café. 

With the help of Jeff Francisco, director of development in the College of Education, and Scott Henry, executive director of dining services, the vision for a dining facility became a reality this semester. In October 2012, renovations to the college’s student lounge began. Ten months later, the facility opened. 

ED-UK-ATE Café was built with the goal of uniting education students and encouraging collaboration between professors, staff and students. Francisco says that has been accomplished. 

"The second week of the semester I was coming in the front doors of Dickey Hall around 11:45," he said. "There were eight students sitting on the steps eating lunch. I stuck my head in the café and saw that every chair was filled. I went out in the breezeway between Dickey and Taylor and all of the tables were full out there too, and there were students sitting in circles in the grass behind Dickey Hall. I ran and got Dean O'Hair and took her outside to show her all of the students having lunch together all over the grounds. It is exactly what she wanted the café for to begin with." 

Dean O’Hair said student education and experience is of the utmost importance. 

“As a result, we created the ED-UK-ATE Café with the help of our UK student senators and the College's Council of Student Leaders," she said. "Now, students, faculty and staff can enjoy not only great conversations together, but great food too.” 

Henry is also pleased with the new café. 

"This collaboration with the College of Education is enhancing the living and learning environment for students, which is a big part of UK Dining Services’ mission," he said. 

Sophomore Claire Leoni, a pre-social work major, works at the ED-UK-ATE eatery. 

Comparable to Ovid’s Café at the William T. Young Library, Leoni said the new facility is different because of the focus on soups and sandwiches. When asked the entrée she recommends, Leoni said the café’s honey bacon club sandwich is very good. 

The College of Education has also fulfilled student requests to better utilize outdoor space by more than doubling their outdoor seating, thanks to patio furniture Gatton College provided while undergoing construction.   

ED-UK-ATE Café has become so popular that Dining Services recently extended the restaurant's hours of operation. The café, located in Dickey Hall, is now open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. The menu includes made-to-order breakfast and lunch items with dine-in or to-go options.