Midtown Provisions modernizes Butler dining

A new and improved Midtown Provisions with a bright and colorful mural. Photo by Natalie Goo

MADDIE WOOD | OPINION CO-EDITOR | mawood1@butler.edu 

REECE BUTLER | OPINION CO-EDITOR | rmbutler@butler.edu 

Midtown Provisions — formerly known as Residential College (ResCo) Dining — has undergone a massive renovation, much to the student body’s appreciation. The project, which has been in development since 2019, was halted due to COVID-19. It includes aesthetic and functional improvements to the building. 

Campus executive chef Chad Melinger, who participated in the renovation alongside his Bon Appétit team, wanted to bring the space into the modern age of university dining. 

“It’s what you would expect if you walked into a convenience store,” Melinger said. “That’s the feel we were trying to [achieve], that hotel lobby [vibe]. I think the retail aspect … [is] a shock for [the students] as well.” 

Along with the new renovation came a new name. What was formerly ResCo Dining has been renamed Midtown Provisions to intentionally distinguish between the multiple uses of the space. 

“Having a new name to the space breaks up the monotony of [the building] just being a dormitory space,” Melinger said. “Now [ResCo] is a dining space and a dormitory space — it’s a communal [place] for the campus.” 

Photo by Jada Gangazha. 

Melinger also highlighted that the renovation stemmed from the impact on-campus dining has on prospective Bulldogs, as many prospective students prioritize the quality of dining options in their college decisions. 

First-year sports media major Ally White is a resident of ResCo, and explained that the reputation of ResCo dining and its food was what attracted her to Butler. She also shared her disappointment when she found that in her first semester, the dining experience was nott available at all. 

“I had heard of the ResCo bowls, so I was sad when I found out that [the dining hall] wasn’t going to be here [first semester],” White said. 

Photo by Jada Gangazha. 

There is an obvious visual difference between the former ResCo Dining and Midtown Provisions. Whereas the previous design felt more closed off due to sparse windows and dark paint, the new layout optimizes the student experience with an open-concept space that connects diners to the staff behind the scenes. 

The furniture has also been updated to include a more diverse variety of seating options including booths, bar seats and several lengths of more conventional table layouts. 

Matt Heitkamp, a junior choral music education major, and a resident assistant in ResCo, was pleasantly surprised at the change in aesthetics in the dining hall.

“It went from uninviting, gloomy and mass-produced, to more modern and hip,” Heitkamp said. “I think the mural is interesting; it’s a nice pop of color. I appreciate that it’s not so industrial.” 

As for the items available for purchase, there have been several changes made. Perhaps most noticeably, the market-style array of pre-made groceries and household items has been greatly expanded from previous years’ choices. Although Butler is home to an existing marketplace, Plum Market, Melinger said the selection offered on Midtown Provisions’ shelves is more catered to student cravings. 

“[We wanted to] give students what they were asking for in a retail setting, and give them a large array of [choices],” Melinger said. 

This retail setting includes items such as brand-name candy, chips, and gum.

Additionally, the made-to-order menu has deviated slightly from ResCo’s staples. The assembly-style burrito bowls and sub sandwiches remain a constant, while the pizza station has been revamped with a visible pizza oven that is able to be seen by students waiting for a fresh slice. In addition to the fresh pizza, students also have the option to grab the daily special pasta, salad and roasted vegetables — which can be used as a side to the slices for a Flex Meal. 

Photo by Jada Gangazha. 

One hiccup for many students has been the deviations between in-person offerings and items only available on Boost Mobile — Butler’s online ordering app for places like Starbucks, Plum Market and now Midtown Provisions. Namely, there has been some confusion over the availability of quesadillas. Quesadillas, as well as burgers, are ordered solely through the Boost Mobile app and cannot be requested in person. 

The renovation, while mostly completed, will continue to improve with the much-anticipated installment of a 24-hour pizza ATM, which is currently being manufactured and shipped from France. However, for anyone who has thoughts, questions or suggestions, Melinger encourages communicating with the Bon Appétit team to better enhance the student dining experience. Students are able to submit comments to the Bon Appétit team using a form on the Bon Appétit website



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