“We’re calling it a renew, not a remodel, honestly, because we didn’t do any large structural renovation, but mostly cosmetic and aesthetic renovation. We really wanted Monte’s to be a hang out for students with that old classic, California coastal vibe: surfing, burgers and shakes. It’s what we envisioned when we set out to redevelop Monte’s,” said Jerry Carter, Catering Manager for A’viands and in charge of Monte’s.
Monte’s located inside of University Center has been closed for most of the summer and the beginning of the fall 2018 semester, as it was undergoing a small facelift and developing a new menu due to the change of catering companies. A’viands has taken a new approach to the old sports bar vibe that Monte’s once held.
Although, Carter says that the sports bar vibe is not completely gone, “We still have five TVs and a sixth is being installed and there will be some sports on them from time to time. The feedback we heard is that we needed to make it more inclusive to everyone on campus: teachers, faculty, staff , students all alike, guests visiting, needed to feel included. Not everyone is into sports.”
A’viands is working to separate themselves from Sodexo as much as possible. It was not unheard of for students to avoid Monte’s because of its long wait times and poor customer service. Many students, faculty and staff found that driving off campus to local shopping centers and eateries was time better spent than waiting for a check at Monte’s.
However, Carter says that this will be changed along with the renovation, “When we set about doing this [renovating] we were very serious about the feedback that we received. Regarding the way it was before we arrived, and one of those was the wait times. One of the first and most noticeable differences [to Monte’s] is when everyone enters, they enter to a counter where they actually order off the menu and prepay everything.”
“So, everything will be prepaid and sent with a number system so food will be brought directly to the table. That’s going to expedite the whole check process so that you’re not waiting for a server to come over and pick up your check.”
Carter also shared changes in the Monte’s menu that will assist them with faster wait times. Carter expressed that the previous menu, with so many different options, made it difficult for chefs to push out food at a decent rate. A change in the menu, making it more homogenous, will assist Monte’s in putting out food in a quicker and more efficient way.
Carter shared that along with having a different menu comes an allergy-conscious and food-restricted diet friendly menu, “Since I am the catering director, I have been very in tune with vegan needs and vegetarian needs, and any allergy specific needs, like in the dining commons, we are very familiar. That is who we are as a company and how we want to basically cater to all those things. There will be a wonderful amount of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options.”
Carter shared A’viands takes food allergies very seriously, “That wasn’t just a one hit wonder, that’s who we are as a company. We’re a burger joint but any of our burgers can be made with a vegetarian patty, vegan bun or a gluten free bun. We have specific side dishes as well like our buffalo cauliflower which is our version of a buffalo chicken wing, but vegan by using cauliflower, which is wonderful, we also have tempura battered avocado fries. And in addition to the burgers, we have a variety of salads that are very delicious and allergy friendly as well.”
As many students are aware, Monte’s is known on campus for being the only dining service that caters to a 21 and over crowd. Monte’s has been regarded for their on tap beers and strawberry daiquiris. With the switch in catering companies, Carter ensures that not only are they keeping the 21 and over service, but they are expanding their drink menu entirely.
“We really wanted to be new and set ourselves apart and be inclusive, we know that not everyone here on campus drinks [alcohol] and we didn’t want to promote just that environment. So, we’re adding a couple things like on tap kombucha, and a local root beer company will also have a tap here. Of course, the milkshakes that everyone talks about will continue, but with a twist.” Carter shared that with the new change in menu, the milkshake menu was changing as well. Monte’s has added a Filipino style, vegan Avocado shake.
Along with the expanding non-alcoholic drink menu, the beers on tap will also be shaken up. “There will be seven different beers on tap, we’re excited to bring in a local beer called ‘The Mad Otter’ since we are here at Monte’s and then of course, keeping with the surfer theme, other beers include ‘Big Wave’, ‘Big Sur’, other local names, and we’re also bringing ‘Dos Equis’ on tap. There will definitely be some beer specials going on in our time here as well, but those are still in development.”