The Secret Garden

Denise Wright

Schwebel Garden Room is a tucked away treasure

The Schwebel Garden Room on the third floor of the Student Center is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every weekday. Students can use their FlashCash, but not their dinning plans at the restaurant. Heather Stawicki | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Walking off the elevator onto the third floor of the Student Center, one can easily notice a stained glass panel advertising the Schwebel Garden Room. But the picturesque exterior is dull in comparison to its even more charming interior.

“When I first started (working here), there was wicker furniture and old cloth ’70s pictures,” said Helen Hathaway-Goddard, supervisor of the Schwebel Garden Room. “We’ve obviously modernized it a bit.”

A sea of tables flows across the room, each complete with a mini stained glass lamp, perfectly placed dinnerware and neatly folded napkins. Potted plants decorate the room while landscape portraits line the walls.

Vines cascade down the window from neutral-colored wooden fence panels hanging from the ceiling. Through the window, which covers the entire length of the restaurant, one can see white antique-looking outdoor furniture sitting on a patio.

Diners can choose–and even reserve-tables on the patio, which overlooks Risman Plaza.

After choosing a place to sit, diners are greeted by friendly student servers who inform them of that particular day’s special. The sit-down restaurant boasts a $7.95 buffet that changes daily but always includes a vegan dish.

Lisa Necas, cook at the Schwebel Garden Room, said while the restaurant’s most popular item is salmon, the staff is open to making almost any special order.

“If we have the ingredients, we’ll make it,” she said.

For the most part, however, Necas said she tries to stock the menu with “Grandma’s recipes or things Mom would cook.”

Lauren Strohl, student server and sophomore international relations major, said the home-cooked food is one of the things she likes most about the restaurant.

“It’s something a little different from the Hub,” she said.

Lauren Mangeri, student server and senior crafts major, agreed adding that the food is also reasonably priced for the quality.

“You don’t get that anywhere else on campus,” Mangeri said.

Margaret Misra, senior database analyst in IS Operations; Paul Albert, executive director in Information Services; and Barbara Boltz, project director of Enrollment Data and Support Services, all agreed they enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the restaurant while eating lunch there earlier this month.

“It’s nice to sit down and relax, as opposed to waiting in line and scarfing your food down or taking it to the office,” Albert said.

Misra said the Schwebel Garden Room is Kent State’s “hidden gem.”

Supervisor Hathaway-Goddard agreed, saying it’s truly a dining “experience.”

“There’s a difference between dining and eating,” Hathaway-Goddard said. “In our society, we don’t dine anymore, we eat.

“With the hustle and bustle of campus, you can come in and let your problems dissipate for a bit. It’s so close with being on campus, but it feels further away.”

Schwebel Garden Room is open to everyone from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every weekday school is in session, including summer sessions. Students can pay with FlashCash but not with their dining plan.

Also, anyone can apply to work with the restaurant, no matter what field of study they’re involved with.

Hathaway-Goddard said reservations are not required, but strongly recommended. To make reservations at the Schwebel Garden Room call (330)672-2583.

Contact features correspondent Denise Wright at [email protected].