The Hilltop Pub opens for the first time since construction began

The new Hilltop Pub opened on Aug. 19. (Ciara O'Brien / McDaniel Free Press)

On Aug. 19, the new Hilltop Pub opened for the first time since the renovations of the student center. Although the pub’s location remains the same, most of the similarities seem to stop there.

“We added new items to the menu but kept the favorites,” said Kevin Laster, Resident Director for AVI at McDaniel.

Some of those menu items include healthier options such as smoothies, rice bowls, salads, flatbread, and wraps, and pub classics including quesadillas, burgers, grilled cheese, and chicken tenders.

The pub will now be serving Freshens Fresh Food Studio, which centers around a “healthy ‘fresh casual’ concept,” according to their website. The chain has 450 locations, most of which are located at airports or colleges and universities.

In order to comply with COVID-19 regulations, the pub has implemented several new ways for students to get their food safely, including via mobile ordering, limited seating options, and take-out. “We take safety very serious[ly] and have implemented a vast amount of protocols to keep students as well as team members safe here at McDaniel,” Laster said.

AVI is following strict rules for keeping food services safe on campus through the acronym BACK: Begin, Act, Communicate, and Keep Up.

The first step, Begin, states that “one of the first steps in reopening your operation, is thoroughly cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing.”

Act means to act with proper training, protocols, and procedures to protect all of the McDaniel community. This entails wearing a proper face covering, washing hands frequently, and completing a daily symptom check to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Communicate is a comprehensive plan to check in with pub team members, clients, and guests alike. Lastly, Keep up with updates and guidelines. “Our COVID-19 Response Team continues to remain active and vigilant in ensuring we provide the most accurate and up- to-date guidelines, standards and policies to our team members,” AVI wrote in their reopening guidelines. The mobile ordering app was experiencing technical difficulties at first, and students were not able to utilize it for the first few days of opening. “We are working through some IT related issues with the app and kiosk but will have it ready soon,” Laster said.

If a student would like to order food from the pub using their phone, they should download the “Transact Mobile Ordering” app, select McDaniel College, and begin ordering.

The hilltop pub will be open from 9:30 a.m.-12 a.m. from Monday to Friday, and 6 p.m.-12 a.m. on weekends.