University of Minnesota – Pioneer Hall

This renovation was part of a larger partial preservation of the historic Pioneer Hall. Outdated by several decades, the existing space did not make a positive impression for incoming freshmen and could not support an expanded resident population. Formerly avoided, the new marketplace-style kitchen and serving area is now a destination spot.

The initial design challenge was of capacity; the renovated dining hall would serve three surrounding residence halls. Additionally, it was important that foodservice could be provided at street level, rather than the pre-renovation underground setup. A solution was found in the former courtyard. “We filled in what would have been the south courtyard with dining. This meant everything—from back-of-house support and storage areas to servery and seating areas—could be on one level,” Pellegrino says. To match the bright and open aesthetic of the surrounding space, an open floor plan with floor-toceiling windows, skylights, and high ceilings was implemented in the dining hall.

Pioneer Hall’s eight supersized dining destinations were designed to provide the capacity to serve 800 or more guests at a time and place the majority of food production in full view. At the Homestyle station, batch cooking is out front, supported by a charbroiler, ranges, and fryers. In back is everything with a longer cooking cycle: smokers, combi ovens, convection ovens, kettles, and tilting skillets.

Rippe also incorporated multiple serving points and ample cold storage. Depending upon the time of day, the Deli can be made-to-order or self-service. The Saute station has three ordering points for custom orders, and uses a preset menu during peak times. As it is difficult to get enough cold support for a servery this size, especially for the salad bar and deli stations, walk-ins have become a standard for our university projects.


Location: Minneapolis, MN
Opening Date: August 2019
Equipment Cost: $3,816,365
Foodservice: 16,326 SF



“frk has had the good fortune to with Rippe Associates for more than 20 years on many projects together. Our focus is the K-12 market and we have always appreciated the deep knowledge base, attention to detail, and extensive experience the team at Rippe Associate provides for educational design. We have also greatly valued the professional, yet personal approach, their designers take with our clients. When working with Rippe, we are always confident the project will be a success!”

Thomas C. Wollan, AIA, LEED AP

Partner at frk architects + engineers

“When it comes to dietary planning, Rippe is always first on my list when team building. They have a strong understanding of all the issues, are creative problem solvers, and are consistent with their execution.”

Daniel J. Rectenwald, AIA, ACHA, NCARB

Vice President, Principal at HGA

"The development of Elmhurst Hospital’s replacement campus was complex. The Rippe team supported our vision to transform healthcare foodservice. The result was exceptional reviews from our patients and staff, along with a facility that supported efficient operations."

David E. Reeves

Past President of the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF)

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