TYPE OF RESTAURANT
Best Menu Items
1000 Chastain Rd MD #4000 TC 40
Kennesaw, GA 30144
The Commons menu is dynamic and ever-changing. Based on a farm-to-table philosophy and small batch cooking, guest are enticed with seasonal dishes that are always fresh and delicious. Menus change daily and sometimes mid-shift. Family recipes are often served as students submit their favorite dishes from home.
Not your typical restaurant, the Commons dining area of the Institute for Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality at Kennesaw State University is truly a must-see. This unique program led by Dr. Christian Hardigree is the integration of culinary development, food service and hospitality management with an emphasis on Equity, Environment and Economics.
KSU Culinary Services oversees the Commons and eight retail establishments and is the most amazing college food service establishment I have ever experienced. This teaching lab is divided into food stations that are guaranteed to tempt your eyes and taste buds alike.
Students work with trained chefs to prepare all items from scratch. I had the opportunity to witness the assembly of deep-dish lasagna made with farm-raised heirloom tomatoes and hand-selected beef. Perfectly browned, Mozzarella cheese just melted and dripped down the side, enticing you to eat more.
Next, I enjoyed the fresh salads made from fruits, veggies and herbs grown on the 65+ acres of organic farms the school owns or operates. Students are educated to grow hydroponic lettuce using reclaimed rainwater, in coconut fiber - right in the Commons area! Yes, and students even learn grow labs work great for lettuce (and it’s legal).
I did not stop there. This farm-to-table-to farm “mecca” is filled with aromas and ingredients that make a chef want to work there. From making aged cheese, to growing mushrooms, to roasting an entire pig, to portioning fresh red snapper, students learn what food is and what it is not. Chef-de-Cuisine, Gary Colteck, focuses on made to order, small batch cooking from local and sustainable sources, where possible. KSU serves over 5,000 students every day- no prebreaded chicken nuggets here! Baked goods are made from scratch, and grits are stone ground with the school’s gristmill. The Commons is not biased; it’s comfortable Southern cuisine is balanced with a wildly popular wok station. Fried chicken has to compete with burritos.
Most impressive was the desire to educate students and partner with the local community. The school “practices what it preaches” having one of the largest LEED certified facilities in the nation. The floors are made from flax seed and recycled concrete. They compost 60,000 pounds of food waste per month and use their wastewater to irrigate the farms. One farm uses the cardboard boxes from the dining hall to control weeds between the crops. They also grow heritage apples, shitake mushrooms on white oak logs and strawberries in recycled tires. Free Range chickens keep down bugs and help fertilize the crops. Oh, and the 42 honeybee hives get into the action as well. Honey on those fresh buttermilk biscuits is a must!
All around the Commons, students are educated via informational signs about techniques and practices. Students come into the school wanting burgers and fries and leave loving sushi and grilled Indonesian eggplant.
Top it all off with a fresh cup of coffee or glass of homemade wine or brew and you can call this “one school worth visiting” (or sending your kids to).