Stony Brook University (SBU) has introduced three new food options at Roth Food Court, along with a Peet’s Coffee location in the Alan S. deVries Center.
Now with the expansion, students can enjoy traditional Southeast Asian cuisine, authentic Indian dishes and American comfort food in the form of build-your-own mac and cheese bowls. Smash n’ Shake, an American style burger joint, Subway and Starbucks will continue to be served at Roth.
Dawn Villacci, the Faculty Student Association (FSA) Manager of Campus Dining, said that after reviewing student feedback her goal with the new concepts was to provide students with “authentic and craveable” menu offerings.
“As Long Island’s most awarded dining program, we enjoy providing exciting collaborative programs, services, learning experiences and opportunities that celebrate diversity and promote greater inclusion for all members of the Stony Brook University campus,” she said.
While Stony Brook offers Asian cuisine at multiple other locations on campus, FSA welcomes celebrity Chef Jet Tila’s Modern Asian Kitchen into Roth.
Tila’s family opened up the first Thai restaurants and markets in the country, all based in Los Angeles, California. He grew up learning the ancient traditions of Asian cuisine from his Cantonese grandmother and by working in the famed Bangkok market and Royal Thai restaurant.
Now Tila is a renowned chef, entrepreneur and television star. In 2013 he partnered with Compass Group, SBU’s food service provider, to launch Modern Asian Kitchen, a Pan-Asian concept with campus locations nationwide.
Modern Asian Kitchen will be open from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. from Monday to Friday. It will offer rice and noodle options with lean meats and vegetables. Entrees include Thai curry with tofu, Thai barbecue chicken and miso glazed sweet potatoes.
Tila will be coming to campus for a grand opening celebration on Sept. 22 later this semester, in which students can participate in a Teaching Kitchen, cooking competition and cookbook signing. For the cooking competition there will be two teams of students competing and Tila will be the emcee.
The second new concept at Roth Food Court is called Tadka, Essence of India, featuring traditional spices and ingredients from the five main regions of India. From Mondays through Fridays, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Tadka will offer a diverse Indian cuisine menu and will include vegetarian options. Dishes include lamb vindaloo, chicken tikka masala, coconut curry fish and samosa chaat.
Kenny Desai, a Stony Brook alumni who graduated last May, worked with CulinArt on fine-tuning the menu. She tasted the recipes and provided feedback and suggestions before the rollout.
“Food is the one thing, besides my family, I missed the most when I came from India to Stony Brook University,” Desai said. “So, when I got the chance to provide my input for the new Indian concept in Roth, I was excited to make Tadka authentic and create the familiar essence of India that my fellow international students are looking for amidst the new environment and represent our culture to the Seawolves through our food.”
The third new concept is Mac & Cheesyology, a place to buy American comfort food during the school week from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Students can customize their own mac and cheese bowl by choosing from a variety of pastas, cheeses, add-in veggies, proteins, toppings and sauces.
Careese Cezair James, a sophomore psychology major at Stony Brook, recently visited Roth to make her own bowl.
“It was really good,” James said. “I didn’t get a lot of toppings but I got the smoked gouda cheese and would definitely go back.”
The FSA gave samples of the new Roth concepts in the SAC Circle on Aug. 25, drawing in crowds of students with various reactions.
Amy Cheung, a junior biology major, said she enjoyed her free mac and cheese sample topped with beef, but would have to think about it before purchasing at Roth. “I liked it, but to be honest, it could have been better,” Cheung said.
Another new food location is Peet’s Coffee at the Alan S. deVries Center. During the week from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. students can choose from a variety of roasts and espresso beverages. Peet’s Coffee also offers tea, smoothies, bagels, pizza bagels and breakfast sandwiches. On Sept. 8, Peet’s Coffee will have its grand opening celebration with free samples, prizes and giveaways for all students.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the hours for Tadka, Essence of India, were from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. This has since been corrected, as the hours are from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.