Students run restaurant for a night

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Chynna Miller

Kathy Rhodes, a former family and consumer sciences major and orginator of Pantera, jokes around with Nicole Sadecki, a senior family and consumer sciences major, during the Flower Power Pantera Meal Tuesday in Klehm Hall. Rhodes started Pantera in 2006. “I’ve always taught the theory to put things to practice and get experience,” said Rhodes, “I miss the students but I enjoy being on the otherside of this.”

Stephanie White, Entertainment Editor

The smell of fresh pineapple, tangy vinaigrette and other Hawaiian-themed foods greeted guests of Pantera Tuesday night as they entered the student-run restaurant.

Family and consumer science students take over Room 1418 in Klehm Hall every Tuesday and transform their class into a dining experience to practice their hospitality skills.

Nicole Sabecki and Allyssa Abybayyen, both senior family consumer science majors, were in charge of the restaurant this Tuesday; their theme was “Flower Power.”

Sabecki said she arranged the seating chart and people had to reserve spots for their party.

The students serving the food all wore flower headbands in relation to the theme.

The only person who worked Pantera that night who was not a student was Zack Walker, the guest chef from Dirty’s Bar and Grill.

Jim Painter, the professor of the course, said Walker has cooked and helped students in the past.

The food had a Hawaiian-Mediterranean taste, with pineapple being a staple of a few of the food items.

The restaurant was covered in bright and pastel colors, giving some of the guests a springtime feel.

A projection of 1960s photos flashed with quotes attached to them while music of that decade played in the background.

The students handmade the menus and tie-dyed their own chef coats to go along with the theme.

In the kitchen, students and chefs worked with one another, making the process in the back go as smoothly as possible.

Some of the guests wore clothing that went with the theme; one man wore a Hawaiian shirt and a few women wore floral clothing.

Many of the guests who came were people from the community who have been to Pantera before.  Others were first timers who wanted to try the food and friends of the students who were working.

A family of Eastern alumni came to Pantera for the first time.

Dana Deffenbaugh is the mother of the family and was an art student when she attended the university in the 1960s.

Judy James, Charleston resident and former biology professor at Eastern, said she has been to Pantera many times and likes the food served.

Katie Pacana, a senior family and consumer sciences major, said she came with a group to support one of her friends who was working that night.

“The food is very fresh and the bright colors that are all around give the reminder of spring,” she said.

Kathy Rhodes, a former family and consumer sciences professor, started this hands-on program in 2006.

She said the student dinner experience is to help them practice what they will be doing in the future for their careers.

Working at Pantera has made some of the students realize they did not want to work in a restaurant.

Sierra Weatherford, a junior family and consumer sciences major, said this experience made her realize just that.

“After experiencing this, I did not want to work in a restaurant in the future. I want to work more in hotels, but this experience is still helpful with learning to work with people,” she said.  “Plus in case I have a restaurant in the hotel I’m working at in the future, I know how to run it.”

Painter said throughout the semester, students in the class work in different positions.

“One time they will be running the place, another they will be the host and the next they will be a chef.  We do that so they get the experience with every kind of position so it is a well rounded, hands-on experience,” he said.

Stephanie White can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].