Artisan bread is a staple

What better way to start the new school year than by breakfasting on steel-cut oatmeal, Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts–or by nibbling on a fresh-baked muffin, a French-toast croissant, or a hot frittata? All this while enjoying a cup of Red Barn Coffee, a fruit smoothie, or…the list goes on.

Harvard Divinity School’s revamped Rock Café, in Rockefeller Hall, offers a lot, including:

  • Hot and cold breakfasts and lunches
  • Menus with plentiful choices for omnivores and vegans
  • Ever-changing weekly specials (two at breakfast, two at lunch)
  • Freshly prepared food for eating in or taking out

Two varieties of hot soup, all-beef hot dogs on the grill, rice-stuffed heirloom tomatoes, pasta, and more

And the good news for non-students is that the bright, shiny café with vast windows, intimate booths, and outdoor seating is open to all.

Pierre Berastain and Maritza Hernandez are all smiles because “everything tastes great!”

How’s the food? we asked MDiv Candidate Pierre Berastain and HDS Associate Dean for Enrollment and Student Services, Maritza Hernandez.

“Can I have the recipe for the falafel?” quipped Pierre.

“I’d like all the recipes,” Maritza smiled.

Feast your eyes on ‘fresh’

Because ‘guilt-free options’ are just as appetizing as ‘guilty temptations,’ it’s as easy to crave super-healthy food as it is to indulge. The problem is, how to decide?

Three types of fresh-baked muffins are offered daily, as are bagels, fresh fruit, and assorted premium teas.

 

Time it right and you can pluck up a cookie still warm from the oven. Fancifully decorated madeleines and fresh-baked pastries are offered, too.

 

Ready for lunch? The Mediterranean Salad Bar (just 50 cents/ounce) features–among other really cool items–hummus, taboulleh, vegetarian grape leaves, and tzaziki.

 

In a hurry? Freshly prepared breakfast and lunchtime offerings are always at the ready in the Grab ‘n’ Go display.

If you’re grabbin’ and goin’, be sure to check out the wrapped sandwiches. Though composed of nutritious ingredients, they are really, really fatand fresh!

For those who crave salty snacks, mixed nuts and homemade potato chips are irresistible.

All this is just a mini-sampler of what’s now available at the Rock Café

A café manager who knows the meaning of ‘fresh’

We know all about Jules Catering’s commitment to fresh food and superb service, but we were eager to better acquaint ourselves with José Lopez, the fellow who will be managing the café.

“I grew up in very humble family in a town on the south-central coast of El Salvador,” José told us, “on the Bay of Jiquilisco. It is a beautiful place. My father was a farmer and a fisherman. He grew corn and beans and rice–and he caught whatever he could get: red snapper, queenfish, swordfish. But what we liked most of all was when he would bring home the special types of crabs that grow and live in the mangrove forests. Those crabs were good!”

Lucky you, we observed. You’ve known fresh food from birth!

“Everything was always fresh,” José confirmed.

Rock Cafe Manager Jose Lopez relishes the opportunity to be part of the HDS community

You’ve been working with Jules Catering for 20-plus yearsTell us what’s special about this new venture.

“One challenge, which we are happy and able to meet, is that we are providing food for many palates. In keeping with Harvard Divinity School’s diverse population, we are respectful of and sensitive to all dietary requirements. And we are so happy to have the opportunity to do this and to serve clients who have such a strong sense of community. We feel honored to have been invited to be part of their daily lives.”

What else should we know about you, José?

“Maybe that my mother was a great cook who passed along her philosophy to me. She said, “It doesn’t matter what you are cooking or even if you are just following a recipe–at least half of the ingredients must be love.”

And if you cook with love–?

“Everything will taste awesome!”

Why a fresh start?

HDS Operations Coordinator Cathleen Hoelscher

Cathleen Hoelscher, HDS Operations

Replete with great food and good vibes, we checked in with HDS Operations Coordinator, Cathleen Hoelscher, to ask this very question:

“We were eager to distinguish ourselves by offering something different. Our hope is that by bringing in a new vendor–Jules Catering–we will provide incentive for people to make the journey from the center of campus over here, to the Rock Café, in Rockefeller Hall.”

A quick look back…and ahead

Ralph Waldo Emerson

No story about food at Harvard Divinity School would be complete without at least brief mention of:

Have we piqued your curiosity?

Well, this post is running long so the story is to be continued…but not ’til July!  (If you can’t wait, click here for the popsicle connection and read–at the very least–paragraph 5.)

 

The Rock Café is located on the first floor of Rockefeller Hall, 47 Francis Avenue, between Kirkland and Museum Streets.

 

Photo Credits:
Rock Café food and portraits: Liz Muir
Eastman Johnson’s 1846 portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson: Wikimedia Commons