Cooking up quality
Barron’s Restaurant opened for the spring semester Tuesday at lunchtime.
Located between the Hilton UH, Moody Towers and neighboring Cougar Grounds, it’s one of the only two student-run cafes at UH.
Everyone — service staff, cooks, managers — is a hotel and restaurant management student because Barron’s Restaurant is a combination of two courses, Foods 2 and Advanced Foods. All HRM students are required to take both, so every semester, the restaurant opens with slightly different faces.
Kristi Baker, the courses’ instructor since 2012, says the course gives HRM students hands-on experience in every aspect of the restaurant scene. The Foods 2 students rotate weekly between being servers, cooks and hosts, while the advanced students rotate manager positions.
“By working in Barron’s, students get a real-life perspective of how a restaurant runs. They also get a better understanding of what is expected by the guests as well as what is being done in the industry,” Baker said.
Along with the changing staff, the menu sees a few changes every semester.
This semester’s new additions are chicken tossed in buffalo sauce on Texas toast, an appetizer sampler and a few desserts, which — along with the soups — rotate every week. Also, specials will be added to the menu after the first week.
The everyday prices are low, and all items on the menu are less than $8. The six-sliced pizzas that are made in-house are only $7.50.
Michael Gullo, a graduate student who worked at Barron’s two years ago as a Foods 2 student, will be a manager this semester. Gullo said Barron’s is the campus’ five-star restaurant because of the service and the fact that most of the food — excluding items such as ice cream — is made in-house, all fresh and made-to-order.
“They try to treat this like a restaurant. They go above and beyond. The waiters ask if you’ve been here before and will follow up on stuff like that and make it like a real restaurant experience,” Gullo said. “It’s personalized service. You feel like you’re getting taken care of.”
Jesse Nagelberg, a sophomore Foods 2 student who started his own catering company in New Jersey, said he’s excited to see this side of food service.
“It’s one of the reasons I chose the Hilton College in the first place — because it’s really, really hands-on, and this is just another aspect of that,” Nagelberg said.
“We have these really incredible manuals that teach us everything we have to do, but it’s really just from experience. You can practice a hundred times in your head, but it’s nothing to interacting with the guests in real life.”
Barron’s is open from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays to Fridays until April 11. To get the scoop on all things Barron’s, find the restaurant on its Facebook, Twitter, Vine and Instagram pages, which are all run by the students.