It’s been one year since UC Davis took over campus food service from vendor Sodexo, and now the catering end of the enterprise has adopted a new name, Olive & Vine, for better visibility, while also strengthening connections with campus and alumni farmers.
Dining Services is also making plans for bringing back beer and wine sales at The Gunrock, formerly known as Gunrock Pub and Grill, later this fall.
The catering division’s branding is now more prominent and distinctive, not only paying homage to UC Davis’ research in olives and wine, but also giving chefs and other staff more pride in the work they do, said Kraig Brady, director of Hospitality and Dining Services, part of Student Housing and Dining Services.
“We’ve allowed their passion to come out,” he said.
The caterer, which offers everything from casual breakfast buffets to formal, plated dinners, is also increasingly sourcing ingredients from the Student Farm and alumni-owned businesses.
“We support them by utilizing their food,” Brady said, pointing out that departments hiring Olive & Vine are in turn supporting on-campus efforts like the Student Farm and Russell Ranch. When possible, Olive & Vine uses olive oil, honey and vegetables produced on campus, as well as products from alumni-owned businesses like Rue & Forsman Ranch, a rice producer.
Even though Olive & Vine has a new name, it has history on campus, and can easily recreate previous orders, Brady said.
Olive & Vine employs around 40 students. Senior catering manager Christy Hansen ’94 was once one of those student employees, and stuck around after graduating largely because of her coworkers.
“I’ve always loved the people that I’ve worked with,” she said, adding that she tries to help student employees learn to succeed in the workplace.
Beer, wine and ‘Aggie Hour’
Brady said The Gunrock is partnering with Sacramento’s Capitol Garage restaurant for permitting of alcoholic beverages, a role previously filled by Sodexo.
He said he hopes to feature alumni-produced wines and beers, and invite brewers and winemakers to “celebrate their accomplishments” and discuss their creations when they’re being showcased.
He also hopes to make it clear the café is meant for students as well as faculty and staff with a welcoming atmosphere and an affordable, afternoon “Aggie Hour” menu of items like chicken wings, fish and chips, avocado tacos and more.
“It’s a simple menu,” he said. “Everything is under $10.”
The Gunrock is open from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with Aggie Hour from 1:30 until closing (Aggie Hour is only available Monday through Thursday). The eatery is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. Reservations are not required, but can be made online.