Rafskeller undergoes major facelift
The Rafskeller has been one of the favorite campus hangouts for years, a bond that is shared between Transylvanians young and old. But let’s face it—it was a little dark and dreary in there.
Not anymore. The Raf received a major makeover just in time for the return of students to campus in September, and while the nostalgia of the old Raf is missed a little, most students agree that the new one is brighter, more welcoming, and offers much better food.
Sodexho, the company that manages Transylvania’s dining services, provided capital funds for the renovation, which involved removing all of the barn wood; putting in a new floor and tables, chairs, and booths; adding flat-panel televisions; and installing new food vendors. The Raf now offers World of Wings and SubConnection, both of which have already been big hits with students stopping in for a meal or a quick bite.
“The food is a lot better,” senior Laura Bauer said. “They have more options, and taste-wise, it’s still good.”
“It’s nice, and the food is awesome,” senior Katie Martin said. “The veggie burgers are amazing.”
Both students said they missed the uniqueness of the old Rafskeller, which was characterized by its signature barn wood and its cellar feel.
The Raf was nearly stripped bare during renovation.
“We wrestled with the barn wood because it was historic and traditional,” Marc Mathews ’80, vice president for finance and business, said. “But it was also in very poor condition. As the workers took it down, most of it disintegrated. So there are places in the Raf where some of the barn wood was put back, paying homage to the past, but we were not trying to recreate the same look.”
The Student Government Association had a committee do campus surveys and visit Bellarmine University in Louisville, which also has its food service managed by Sodexho, to see how its campus eateries looked and what foods they offered. They looked at menus to ensure that no food choices would be lost and settled on the two vendors in there now. The look of the Raf was approved by former President Charles L. Shearer.
“We’re very pleased with the look of it,” Mathews said. “It’s bright and inviting, which were things we were going for, and it has a modern menu with everything prepared to order.”
Mathews said that while the number of students visiting the Raf has been approximately on par with last year, sales are up due to students buying more food instead of just stopping in for a drink or snack.
The familiar Transylvania University sign serves as one of the focal points of the newly renovated Rafskeller.