Aramark will replace existing seating on the upper level of O’Donovan Hall with farmhouse-style tables and chairs by the start of the spring semester, allowing for an additional 70 chairs on the top floor.
“We took a look at current dining trends in food service operations on the national and local level and saw the rustic vintage look increasing in popularity,” Marketing Manager for Aramark at Georgetown Adam Solloway, wrote in an email to The Hoya, “Leo’s is meant to be a home away from home for our students and these styles provide a feeling of comfort and warmth.”
The round, large tables on the upper floor will all be replaced by smaller, square tables with a rustic style and walnut finish. Aramark will also add five communal high-top tables with a similar farmhouse style near the window, overlooking the Potomac River. Solloway declined to provide information about the cost of the new tables.
Solloway said that the purpose of these additions is to provide for a better eating experience for students.
“We’ve heard feedback over the years in regard to the large round tables not being student friendly and sometimes awkward if you’re not in a large group,” Solloway wrote. Many of the tables are at the point that they need to be replaced. … These new square tables give students the flexibility to add them together for various group sizes.”
Solloway said that at this time, Aramark does not have plans to update the tables and chairs on the lower level.
Nishita Dsouza (NHS ’15) said that she believes the new seating will provide Leo’s with a better ambience.
“I think that will definitely enlarge the space that Leo’s can accommodate and make it feel more homey to the students,” Dsouza said. “I think it might be an investment. I feel like it will be sustainable for the long run, especially for lots of the tables that are not structurally sound.”
Mikey Bannon (SFS ’18) agreed, and said that the current tables make socializing with a small group difficult.
“It’s probably a good idea,” Bannon said. “The big tables can definitely be way too big to have a conversation.”
Andrew Elam (SFS ’16), who first heard of the new seating after seeing the poster in the lobby, said that he did not know if the farmhouse tables were what Leo’s needed and that he felt the funds could be allocated differently.
“It seems like they’re moving the home line and changing the tables. I don’t know if there does need to be a big change,” Elam said. “I think it could be used toward some other purpose that could be better,”
Kajol Shrestha (NHS ’17) also said that she did not think that new tables are necessary.
“I think the tables now are fine. … I think [the seating’s] fine,” Shrestha said. Both thought that the money could be put to something better, such as food quality.
Breanna Bradley (COL ’18) agreed with Aramark’s concept of making the tables smaller.
“It makes it less awkward … if you’re eating by yourself,” Bradley said. However, she did not understand why more money was put into giving the tables a rustic feel. “Do [they] really need to be spending money to change the style of them?”