University of Pennsylvania Hill House Wins NACUFS Award

Penn students holding cookies

Penn students feeling the sweet school spirit at Hill House

Each year, the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) recognizes outstanding initiatives from its membership through the NACUFS Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards program. Named for a NACUFS founder, past president, and highly regarded innovator, the awards celebrate exemplary menus, presentations, special event planning, and new dining concepts, and provide an avenue for sharing ideas and creative presentations in campus dining services. Winners are chosen for gold, silver, and bronze recognition (plus honorable mentions) in five areas, with awards given in small-, medium-, and large-school categories.

Book cover

The coffee-table book submitted to NACUFS

Together, Bon Appétit and the University of Pennsylvania submitted a beautifully designed 90-page coffee-table book about the newly renovated Hill College House Dining Café, with lots of eye-catching photos, menus, and carefully crafted details about the food program. And they won a Silver Award in the Residential Dining Concepts category for large schools!

Hill College House, designed in 1960 by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen (responsible for the Gateway Arch in St. Louis), is considered a significant architectural landmark. Saarinen’s design was grounded in the idea of a small village — self-sufficient, inwardly focused, and protected.

Although located in a freshman residence, the café draws students from across campus, expanding the small-village concept to the global university. The renovation is a blend of historic and modern, maintaining Saarinen’s philosophy with design elements throughout while introducing dining options that Penn students want.

As the application detailed, different stations create variety — whether it’s breakfast for dinner at an “Eggs All Day” station; a dedicated vegan and made without gluten-containing ingredients area called “Very Veggie”; a daily seafood dish at “Catch”; a new Mongolian grill; or perennial favorites like burgers and pizza made with local Jersey-grown tomato sauce. The space has flexibility to open areas as needed, enabling it to offer late-night dining and additional study or communal space during off hours. The book summarized the Bon Appétit team’s commitments to sustainability and responsiveness to specialized dietary needs (including launching the University’s first Jain program), and examples of community engagement such as the Quaker Kitchen cooking classes (see page TK).

The Silver Award was terrific recognition for all the “wow” factors that the new Hill House has to offer.

—Submitted by Beth Bayrd, Marketing Manager