A diverse array of food options will populate the first floor of the newly renovated Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center (SCC), which remains on track for its grand opening later this year.
“Food and drink play a central role in bringing people together, and I am pleased that members of the Harvard — and Harvard Square — community will have so many options when the Smith Campus Center reopens,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “It is exciting to imagine the kinds of conversations and collaborations that will be sparked in the new venues, and I am grateful to the many, many people who provided input and made this important project possible.”
During the past several years, planners have met with hundreds of people — including multiple groups of students, faculty, staff, and community members — to hear suggestions and develop guiding principles for the types of amenities that should be included in the project. An overwhelming consensus emerged: potential vendors must be simultaneously sustainable, local, healthy, and diverse, and have significant experience running successful food venues.
The criteria gave the project’s planners a clarity of mission.
“When we were developing the food program for the Smith Campus Center we sought to engage and work with food operators who were excited by the idea of partnering with Harvard in a way that was more than just signing a lease,” said Meredith Weenick, vice president for campus services. “The selected vendors are as committed as we are to the bigger picture, and their goals align with ours — goals of being sustainable, welcoming, and an integral part of the wider Harvard community.”
The University required that the restaurants sign green-building leases, ensuring that their practices align with the standards outlined in Harvard’s Sustainability Plan.
The focus groups also requested that the atmosphere of the new space be casual and comfortable. With hearty, “feel-good” fare throughout the day, and more than 800 indoor and outdoor seats, the new space will meet that criteria.
“We’re excited to be part of the Harvard community and Harvard Square as a whole,” said Eric Papachristos, owner of Saloniki. “We feel the diversity of the neighborhood, young and old, residents and tourists, students and professors … it’s the perfect cross-section of what is going on in today’s world — and we are honored to be able to feed this community
“We believe that our focus on culture, service, and integrity of our food will be a great addition to what is already happening in the Square,” he added.