Eastway gets revamp over spring break, introduces new Indian food station


Anthony Scilla

Choolaah, a dining location new to Kent State, offers Indian cuisine to Eastway diners April 21, 2023.

Nico Crespo, Reporter

The Eastway Dining Hall had a revamp of signage and a new station put in over spring break 2023. The new signage came with the recently renamed dining stations like Flash Grill, Flash’s Pick and Piece Of The Pie. The dish return wall wrap also has been replaced by a newer design as well.

Celia Martin, student multimedia designer for housing and culinary services, was in charge of designing all the new signage and the dish return wrap. The idea to rebrand came in the beginning of 2023, with trying to get it all finalized in late February, early March. This was so the actual work could be put into place around spring break.

“We wanted to do it over spring break, so that we had a week with no students and to be able to do the install and then the students came back with something new,” she said.

A sign for Sweet Treats hangs above the dessert station in Eastway April 21, 2023. (Anthony Scilla)

When designing the signage, Martin said that it was a long and extensive process to get everyone on board and everything cleared.

“It started off trying to come up with new names and that honestly probably took the longest because so many people have so many ideas,” she said. “I wrote all of them down and I made a Google survey that I sent out to all of the staff involved and other marketing students that I work with. Then we probably did that three or four times before we were able to settle on names.”

The new signage and names gave the stations an identity, said Laura Roach, associate director of operations for University Housing and Culinary Services.

Even though there were names on the televisions, it was not as noticeable to students and those on tours, Roach said.

“When groups such as DKS, admissions and other tours come through they can easily identify the types of foods we offer at each station,” she said. “The branding will help students identify menu items quickly and know where they want to go when they are looking at our menu online or visiting Eastway.”

Along with new signage, a new station was added in where the transformation station was and across from the dessert station at Eastway over break. Choolaah is a partnership with Kent State University.

Jacob Keuhn, senior director of the University Culinary Services, said Choolaah was chosen to be brought in because it was an authentic, Indian cuisine.

“We had conversations [with Choolaah] last year and we had them for an event as a pop up event in the DI hub,” he said. “We had conversations throughout the summer and through the fall with pop up events.”

Keuhn said that it was ultimately his choice to bring Choolaah in but it was important to have student feedback from these events.

Choolaah serves white basmati rice, yellow lentil baal, tikka masala, chicken and samosas April 21, 2023. (Anthony Scilla)

“We want authentic food, food that is high in flavor, it really resonated with me and the product service model,” he said. “ Go to Choolaah in Orange Village and then go to the Choolaah on campus, it’s pretty phenomenal how they figure it out to produce quality product consistently.”

Choolaah is also gluten friendly, with the ingredients being gluten free. The feedback from Choolaah has been greatly positive, Keuhn said.

“We love Choolaah,” he said. “We’ve had a greatly positive message, we’ve had a lot of positive feedback and there is always a line there.”

Once the University Culinary Services found out about Choolaah, they wanted to make sure that the stations in the dining hall matched it, Martin said. They did not want it to “stick out like a sore thumb,” Martin said.

Along with the expansion of Choolaah, Martin said that they are looking at expanding the other stations as well.

“We are eventually planning on building out these plans of each of the stations to make it match Choolaah a little bit more,” she said. “So, this definitely isn’t done. There is a lot of development that can still be done.”

Nico Crespo is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].