Whether chomping on a freshly made calzone, digging
into an overstuffed burrito or sipping a cup of coffee
underneath an Andy Warhol print, one thing quickly becomes
abundantly clear: The dining experience at Levering will
never be the same again.
Sporting a new Manhattan-chic look, the eatery
formerly known as the Marketplace at Levering is now the
Levering Food Court.
What's new? In short, everything. This Homewood dining
facility has undergone a complete and radical
metamorphosis. In just 10 weeks, the location has gone from
a 1970s-style generic-looking cafeteria into a dynamic,
colorful, hip, mega sound system-equipped joint. Not only
has the space been gutted, however; so has the menu, which
now features a streamlined array of freshly made
The transformed food court, whose grand opening is
this week, is part of a larger effort to update and upgrade
the dining experience on the Homewood campus, in terms of
both physical appearance and food quality.
Susan Boswell, dean of student life, said that
Homewood dining was in sore need of an image makeover.
"Food options and the appearance and character of the
dining halls have been an issue that students have voiced a
lot of concern about over the years. They thought both
could and should be better," Boswell said. "The new
Levering Food Court is part of a real, concentrated effort
on food. In the coming months and years, we are going to
put tremendous resources into improving the dining
experience here at Johns Hopkins, and this is step one."
The Levering dining hall had undergone a number of
small alterations in the past, Boswell said, but the basic
look and feel had remained relatively unchanged. This time
around, she said, the rallying cry was, Let's go for it.
"We wanted to do something bold in terms of design,"
she said, "so that when people walk in, they simply say,
If there is one prevailing theme to the Levering Food
Court, it's color--and lots of it. Nearly every shade of
the spectrum is represented, from sage green-painted
columns and blue-tinted sconces to electric purple seats
and multicolored floors and hanging lights.
The space, which was designed by New Jersey-based
Rocco Mariannni and Associates, also features a myriad of
seating options, including diner-style booths, movable
tables and chairs, bar-style stools and counters and cozy
couches and chairs.
The walls are adorned with framed prints of works by
da Vinci, Matisse, Picasso, Warhol and other famous
H. Carol Mohr, senior director of
Housing and Dining
Services, said the goal was to create an environment
where students, staff and faculty would want to gather.
"We really wanted to update this space. People felt it
was very outdated both in terms of how you moved around it
and what was available," she said. "We hope this place now
becomes a destination, not just for lunch but [as] a place
that people will want to spend some time in between classes
and perhaps after work."
The Levering Food Court features four main retail food
stations--nationwide brands of Sodexho, the university's
dining-service provider--each of which has a signature
appearance, right down to the uniforms of the staff behind
The stations are:
Pete's Arena — Italian specialties like
traditional pizza, pasta, strombolis, salads and
Salsa Rico — Baja-style Mexican food including
one-pound burritos, taco salads, quesadillas and daily made
Sky Ranch Grill — a place for grilled-to-order
burgers and chicken, portabello and steak and cheese
Sub Connection — made-to-order subs with
garden fresh toppings, meats and cheeses.
There is also a grab-and-go station, which has
prepared foods ranging from tuna fish sandwiches to
Hours of operation have been expanded to provide
service through dinner on weekdays and during the midday
hours on weekends. Beginning today, Sept. 2, the facility
will open on weekdays at 7:30 a.m. and offer breakfast at
the Sky Ranch Grill and grab-and-go station. From 11 a.m.
to 2:30 p.m. all four food venues will be open. Each
evening, the grab-and-go station and one of the four
stations will remain open until 8 p.m. Saturday hours are
8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Sunday's, noon to 2:30 p.m.
In addition to the renovated dining hall, a coffee bar
called Jazzman's Cafe will open in Levering's lobby later
this semester. Jazzman's will offer specialty coffees,
teas, smoothies and some food items, including baked goods,
panini sandwiches and soup.
Now that the Levering Food Court is complete, up next
is the renovation of the Terrace Court Cafe in the AMRs
complex, which Mohr said the university is hoping to
complete during the intersession break. Like Levering, the
Terrace Court Cafe will be given a new dynamic interior and
revamped food selection.
"And then after that we will address Wolman Station,"
said Mohr, in reference to the dining facility located in
Wolman Hall, which sits on the corner of North Charles and
34th streets. "What we are focused on now is updating and
upgrading all of our dining facilities and resident hall
dining programs. We plan to continue this process over the
next year and a half."
Mohr said that she hopes the Johns Hopkins community
likes both what they see and eat.
"Over the past two years we have elicted a tremendous
amount of feedback from students and staff. We heard the
complaints. We really wanted to turn that around and become
one of the institutions where people say, 'Wow. The food is
really good here.' "