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|The Purdy's chocolate mascot. Photo by Shayne Kempton|
_ _ The Rideau Centre held a VIP preview of their new food court on Wednesday evening. OttawaStart readers Shayne Kempton and Alejandra Miranda went to check it out and sent us their photos and thoughts. Thanks Shayne and Alejandra for checking it out! _
On Wednesday evening, a crowd of guests and media gathered to bid farewell to the Rideau Centre’s three-decade old food court while christening its brand new dining hall experience. Located in what was once the first floor of Sears, visitors were treated to a behind the scenes look at the new food court in Ottawa’s premier shopping centre, welcomed some brand new faces to the Nation’s Capital and took a tour of the new dining hall’s cutting edge green technology. When the Rideau Centre closes for business on July 31, the curtain will fall on the malls’ current food court and will rise on it’s new one the following morning at 11:00am.
At the new food court, servers offered visitors a selection of finger food and beverages as representatives from mall ownership thanked their numerous partners and boasted about the new dining hall’s features, all while construction workers ironed out the finishing touches in the background.
The Rideau Centre’s spacious new dining hall possesses triple the space its predecessor did and increases the seating capacity from 500 potential guests to 850. Diners will now have a choice of 16 eateries for their culinary satisfaction (up from the current 11), and while a number of favourites like Subway, New York Fries and A&W will be moving into new digs, there will be some new faces as well (MLT DWN, Big Smoke Burger, Tratton Taverre, Amaya), offering patrons a varied international selection. Purdy’s Chocolatiers opens their first Ottawa location in the new dining hall, serving a wide range of gourmet chocolates and other assorted treats to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.
The Rideau Centre spent a million dollars on reusable, high quality dishes, glasses and utensils to turn the new dining hall into a full scullery experience and cut down on waste. Guests will now be able to leave their used trays at a central station where staff will collect them and separate recyclables, organic compost and garbage, diverting tonnes of waste away from Ottawa landfills, and load the reusable cutlery into mammoth industrial washers.
Operations Manager Joe Bampton gave visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the operation, showing off the washing machine capable of cleaning up to 10,000 dishes per hour, the layout that insures dirty and clean dishes always use separate doors to prevent contamination as well as storage lockers for individual restaurants. Even the cooking grease will be recycled. Gone are the days of disposable paper cups, plastic utensils and paper liners. The Rideau Centre’s new dining hall will also include a hand washing station for patrons, sleek new bathrooms and complimentary charging ports for phones and other devices.
Representing the completion of the first stage of the Rideau Centre’s $360-million+ renovation, the new dining hall is bright, stylish and sharp, offering comfortable booths and tables of wood veneer to bring Ottawa diners into the 21st century. Don’t fret too much for the old food court, because as soon as the new dining hall is unveiled this Friday, work will begin on renovating the old court into the new location for Shoppers Drug Mart as well as the Rideau Centre’s LRT station.
With a handful of new retailers scheduled to open in the coming months, new fashion trendsetter Nordstrom coming this March and all of the mall’s renovations scheduled to wrap up by August 2016, the Rideau Centre now has a dining experience to compliment it’s rapidly growing and improving commercial hub.
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_ –Photos and text by Shayne Kempton _
** See also: ** Ottawa Shopping Guide
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