PUBLISHED:August 27, 2008

Law School's cafe opens for business

Aug. 27, 2008 — The Law School’s new Refectory Café opened for business on Monday. The eatery complements the Law School’s newly completed Star Commons and fully renovated Goodson Law Library.

Bon Vivant Catering was selected by a committee of faculty, staff, and student volunteers to run the café. The company also runs the award-winning Refectory Café at Duke’s Divinity School.

Bon Vivant met or exceeded all of the committee’s expectations, including a willingness and ability to provide catering for Law School events and the capacity to provide healthy food to students living on budgets, said Gael Hallenbeck, associate dean for Finance and Administration.

The Refectory emphasizes fresh, healthy food made from ingredients produced by local farms and suppliers with sustainable farming practices, said Bon Vivant owner Laura Hall. Her company also advertises its commitment to providing living wages and benefits to employees.

Hall tries to cut down on waste by providing reusable plastic trays and “eco-friendly paper” rather than disposable plates, and encouraging customers to buy and reuse non-disposable beverage bottles.

“We also have food for every dietary option, whether it is vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, or low-fat,” Hall said.

The Refectory is operating with a limited menu as construction details on the facility are completed. Once it is fully operational — its “grand opening” is scheduled for Sept. 8 — all food will be made on-site, reducing preservatives and ensuring freshness. “All of our baked goods will be fresh out of the oven in the mornings,” said Hall. “And an advantage to this site is that, unlike in the Divinity School, we have the equipment to make hamburgers — made from local, sustainable beef — right here.”

Menu highlights, available today, include vegan chili (winner of the Bull City Chili Challenge in 2007), Indian dal, daily salad specials made with locally grown seasonal produce, and The Refectory’s signature baked oatmeal, made with rolled oats and cage-free eggs. » View the menu