Turner Place marks a decade of culinary excellence
Located in Lavery Hall, Turner Place kicked off its 10th anniversary celebration on April 10 with students and Virginia Tech Dining Services leadership.
Turner Place, the state-of-the-art dining facility in Lavery Hall, kicked off its 10th anniversary celebration on April 10 with students and Virginia Tech Dining Services leadership.
To mark the occasion, Turner Place hosted a celebration from April 10-14, featuring throwback favorites from the restaurants that have become staples of the facility. The anniversary week opened with leadership staff holding a public cake cutting. Over 250 students stopped by to participate and take pictures in front of a themed backdrop while enjoying a piece of decadent chocolate coffee cake produced by Dining Services’ Southgate food production facility.
Since its opening on the first day of classes in 2012, Turner Place has proven to be centric for the community and has provided exceptional dining services to students, faculty, and visitors alike. Turner Place can seat more than 1,000 people and holds eight dining facilities, including five original dining concepts that students and staff have come to love such as Origami, a Japanese sushi and steakhouse; 1872 Fire Grill, a chophouse with a wood fire grill; Dolci e Caffè, which includes an espresso bar, gelato bar, a crepe station; and a large grab and go section. The other three offerings are national franchises Jamba Juice, Qdoba Mexican Eats, and Bruegger’s Bagels.
The vision for Turner Place started in 2008, when Virginia Tech asked students for their help and thoughts on what kind of dining center they would like to see on the academic side of campus. John Barrett, current associate director of Dining Services, came on board a year before opening as the assistant director. The first hired staff member was Executive Chef Mark Moritz, who has continued to share his culinary ideas and talents. Using the input from students, Barrett and Moritz along with the rest of Dining Services' leadership brought forward the vision and perspective that has helped Turner Place maintain its popularity.
Once Moritz came on board, menu items were curated to bring the students the food and amenities they requested in collected feedback and research. Working within each restaurant's theme, Mortiz set up the menu to be nutritious and nurturing for anyone who stops by for a meal, testing out over 1,700 recipes before opening.
“Most people do not think of colleges having tasty or homemade food, but Turner Place does. A lot of students through the years have told me how comforting the food is here because it reminds them of home,” said Moritz, “We help feed students for their entire stay here. We don’t use processed food, and we try to use as much product from Dining Services’ Homefield Farm as we can. We don’t buy anything processed, and we cook from scratch.”
Supporting students in innovative and exciting ways also paved the path for Turner Place to win awards for its food offerings and convenience for students.
“We wanted to be and are unique in our offerings,” said Barrett. “Dining Services provides destination dining, meaning a variety of places to dine on campus, and Turner provides this experience just by coming in to have a meal.”
As the Virginia Tech community came together to celebrate the anniversary of Turner Place, the future looks bright for this beloved facility. With a commitment to community, sustainability, and culinary excellence, Turner Place is sure to continue serving as an important part of campus life for years to come.
“When the students are proud to show off our food or are excited to tell their friends or parents how good it is, that’s when you know you’ve done something good,” Barrett said.
Written by Eric Garner