Heritage Commons at Landon to Open August 23

Nestled among the oldest brick and mortar buildings Michigan State University’s campus, Landon Hall has been given new life. In May 2013, renovations began at Landon Hall, including Landon Dining Hall—the first major renovation at Landon Hall since it opened in 1947. After 14 months, the new Heritage Commons at Landon will proudly reopen its doors as MSU’s newest renovated residential dining facility August 23, 2014.

The fully renovated dining hall features three entrée venue stations, serving a variety of items:

Sizzle: An old-fashion diner offering a mixture of made-to-order and prepared sandwiches and entrées, vegetarian and fusion cuisine.

Landon Bistro: A rotisserie oven venue serving a variety of dishes including chicken, beef, pork and salmon, as well as sides.

Global Flavors: Casserole-style dishes with international flair and deli sandwiches.

Heritage Commons also features an entrée salad area bar:

Grains and Greens: Hot breakfast in the morning; salad bar in the afternoon and evening including an entrée salad and soup.

Landon venue photos

Throughout the process, architects SmithGroupJJR and Mesher Shing McNutt and The Hysen Group consultants worked to keep architectural integrity of the historic facility. The dining hall has been expanded to increase the serving area for dining pleasure and approximately 160 seats have been added to Heritage Commons, for a total of 350 seats. Heritage Commons extends through three easily accessible levels, each with its own theme and feel.  The specialty concept restaurants on the main floor offer a wide variety of menu selections to appeal to every palate. The second level showcases dining with a classic library setting paying tribute to Linda Landon as the university’s first female librarian. It will feature half-booth seating as well as tables and chairs. To embrace the ambiance of a library, hardwood bookshelves are prominent throughout this level. The second level also features the Ivy Room, a private dining room. The third level offers guests an intimate dining setting, which will be furnished with traditional tables and chairs. With all three levels combined, the seating has nearly doubled from 191 seats before the renovation, to approximately 350 seats.

Images of the three Heritage Commons dining levels

Heritage Commons will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. As part of MSU RHS’ commitment to sustainability, Heritage Commons is a trayless dining hall. Students will be able to get a complete meal at each of the venues, which will include an entrée and various sides. The Union Food Court will continue to serve North Neighborhood students as an all-you-care-to-eat late night dining option.

Heritage Commons is the sixth of seven major renovations since the 2009 Dining Master Plan including Brody Square, Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall, Holden Dining Hall, South Pointe at Case Hall and The Vista at Shaw. Akers Dining Hall is currently under construction and will reopen January 2015.

Landon Hall has received upgrades for its residents as well. Landon, a popular choice for music majors and students trained in the arts, now has four private, soundproof music practice rooms. A grand piano will be available for student use in each. More studying and gathering space has been added in the residential living wings. The building is now accessible with the installation of elevators and sprinklers were added to bring the building up to code with fire safety.  Wireless internet access has been installed throughout Landon Hall, and kitchenettes are on each floor in the living wings. Community bathrooms, carpet, lighting, paint, heating and vents, windows, blinds and furnishings have all been updated in the hall.

For more photos of the dining hall construction project, visit facebook.com/eatatstate


The Culinary Services Residential Dining, East Neighborhood team tested recipes this week for the new dining facility, which will open January 2015. MSU Residential and Hospitality Services team members taste tested menu items and provided feedback to the team to ensure quality throughout.

Unique to Akers Dining Hall, the fully renovated dining hall will feature tandoori ovens and a smoker for daily smoked meats.

This week, the team prepared several homemade sausages made with natural casings. “The new smoker station and equipment has enabled us to create our own sausages,” Executive Chef Jason Strotheide shared. “This way, we can control quality of ingredients that go into our sausage.”

The dining hall will also include a stir-fry/pasta station, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, salads, a breakfast nook and desserts. Additional menu items tested this week included a mac and cheese bar, smoked salmon, red beans and rice, a queso fresco torta, peach and berry cobbler, lamb shawarma, panzanella salad and more.

To view additional photos, click here.

Participants testing Akers food, and menu items.


By Peggy Crum, RD, Health4U Nutritionist

I can relate to Mr. McGregor. Rabbits invaded my garden and hardly let a feathery leaf sprout from the soil before gnawing it off. Fortunately other growers are more successful in getting carrots to maturity. They bring their abundance of just-pulled carrots to market in mid to late summer.

Unlike other seasonal produce, you may not yearn for carrots. Their season is obscured by the year-round availability of the carrots you find in plastic bags in your local supermarket. Bagged carrots come from refrigerated storage where a cool environment and an abundance of time allow their starch to convert to sugar. That’s why they taste so sweet. In-season carrots with their green tops still attached are less than three weeks from harvest. They are mildly sweet and have an intensely rich carrot flavor.

Look for firm, crisp medium-size carrots with a smooth exterior and void of soft or discolored spots. If the tops are still attached, they should be bright green. When you get them home, lop off the tops leaving about an inch of the green stems. Refrigerate them in an open-top plastic bag. They will maintain their quality and flavor for a week or two.

Fresh carrot flavor is enhanced by roasting or pan browning. Long, slender carrots roasted whole with the little green stems still attached make a pretty presentation. Scrub the carrots and cut away any blemishes. No need to peel them. Trim stems to ½-inch. Toss with olive oil and a little salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet or broiler pan bottom. Roast at 475°F for 20 to 25 minutes; shake the pan every five to 10 minutes for even browning. If your carrots have a larger diameter, roasting is still a good option. Just begin the process by cutting long diagonal slices about ¼-inch thick.

My experiment planting seeds for various colors of carrots—yellow, orange, dark purple, even white—was nipped in the bud. Evidently, the tops all taste the same to garden bunnies.

Join Culinary Services Corporate Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski from 12:10 - 12:50 p.m. on Wednesday, July 23, at the Demonstration Kitchen in Brody Square as he demonstrates his gingered carrots recipe during the Health4U Recipe for Health program. Try the carrots for lunch at Brody Square, Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall and The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips!



Michigan State University is one of 28 universities that have partnered with the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) to provide eight-week foodservice management summer internships. Kelsey Baumgarten and Macy Mears, MSU Culinary Services’ NACUFS interns, are on week six of their internship.

Baumgarten and Mears have had the opportunity to work hands-on in our dining halls, focusing on food preparations, inventory, ordering and supervision. In addition, they have visited other Culinary Services units, as well as the Spartan Hospitality Group, to learn about other opportunities in related areas such as Food Stores (purchasing) and MSU Bakers.

Baumgarten and Mears even developed and prepared a “Roots to Shoots" Southwest Salad served at Veg Out in Brody Square, a quinoa and black bean salad with avocado dressing featuring Student Organic Farm limes, pickled radishes and greens.

Thacker and Merriam are each blogging about their experiences as NACUFS interns with MSU Culinary Services. Learn more about their experiences and progress on their blogs!

NACUFS interns Macy and Kelsey
Photo courtesy of nacufsinterns2014.blogspot.com


By Gina Keilen, Culinary Services Registered Dietitian


If you found yourself working out during the winter and this spring, way to go! Now that it’s summertime, our schedules get even more hectic than normal and it can be hard to fit something in. I encourage you to try and squeeze at least something in when possible. It can be a long, hard journey to get where you want to be physically, but it doesn’t take nearly that long to lose all that hard work. 

It might’ve been easier to exercise before summer hit … you were in an air-conditioned, weather-controlled gym or the springtime air was fresh, cool and crisp. Summer can get warm and—depending on your routine—sometimes dangerously warm. That’s not to say you should stop exercising, but be mindful about what you are doing, how you are doing it and the time of the day it’s being done. 

There’s an adjustment that has to happen for a safe and positive summer workout in the heat.

  • Drink water – Water really is the best source before, during and after physical activity to rehydrate. The warmer it is, the more you’ll need to replenish. If you weigh yourself before and after a workout, you should drink two cups of water for every pound that you lost. Water will also help keep you cool.
  • Check the clock – When it comes to summertime, the safest times of the day are earlier in the morning or later at night when it’s cooler. If you go out midday, try going at a lower intensity or going to a gym.
  • Acclimate yourself – Gradually expose yourself to the heat in your workouts to help your body adjust and let you perform better and feel better afterward. Depending on your body, it can take between four to 30 days to start making it feel comfortable and safe.
  • Clothing – Light-colored and lightweight clothes will help your skin breathe the best (e.g., cotton or moisture-wicking clothes).

If you need to go out in the heat, it’s important to be smart and aware of the signs/symptoms of when danger looms. Heat exhaustion: headaches, heavy sweating, rapid pulse, nausea, cramps. Heat stroke: warm skin but you aren’t sweating, confusion, fever, nausea. Either way, be sure to get some fluids, a cool place and rest as soon as you can. 

It can be especially important to fuel your body the right way with foods before and after exercising in the summer heat. Eating the right foods will replace your lost electrolytes better than a sports drink could. Potassium, commonly lost during a workout, can be found in bananas, sweet potatoes, or avocados and it helps regulate your heart and blood pressure. The magnesium in raisins, peanut butter and nuts can help power your muscles. Most people try to avoid too much sodium, however, if you have a saltier snack before working out, it can help retain some of your liquids. Also, water-rich and juicy foods will help you stay hydrated, so stock up on your fruits and veggies.

 Gina Keilen pull quote from article.

Gina Keilen is a registered dietitian and culinary coordinator for Culinary Services. If you have food allergies or intolerances, or are required to follow a special diet, Gina can help provide you with resources and information to help you make safe choices while still having a great dining experience when you Eat at State. Gina can also help you to eat healthy – our dining halls offer an incredible amount of all-you-care-to-eat options. Since many of our platforms offer made-to-order dining, you are in control of what you eat and how much, and Gina can help you decide what is right for you.