Banyan Shokudo, a fusion of memory, culture and modernity, opens after 8 years of preparation


Overlooking the ground floor of BYU-Hawaii's new Banyan dining hall. There are tables and chairs in a circle,

After eight years of planning, the new Banyan Dining Hall was built to combine campus history, Hawaiian culture and modern design.

Photo credit: Pristine Shek

After eight years of preparation and construction, Banyan Dining Hall is a blend of community memories, Hawaiian culture and the diversity of BYU Hawaii in a modern setting.

David Keala, Director of Food Service, who has worked at BYUH for the past 20 years, said:

He explained that many contributors were involved in the construction of the dining hall, including architects, engineers, construction workers and food consultants.

“One of the highlights of this university is this beautiful dining establishment that serves so many people…and that was the goal,” says Keala.

BYU-Hawaii President John SK Kauwe and Academic Vice President Isaiah Walker stand in Aloha shirts and holding plates of food.

BYU-Hawaii President John SK Kauwe and Academic Vice President Isaiah Walker share a meal at the Banyan Dining Hall.

Photo credit: Pristine Shek

According to Keira, Banyan Dining Hall’s salad station was once a banyan tree. “Almost every Sunday or night after nine o’clock, people were cooking and eating together,” Marilou Lee said of the old banyan tree. Lee is the club manager of Food Services in the Philippines and a BYUH alumnus who has worked on campus for 25 years.

The diner’s executive chef, President Galeaay, explained that the banyan tree was just outside the old cafeteria. People used to have barbecues under the big trees, and clubs rented the space for their activities.

Lee said she and her friends used to get together on Sundays to grab lunch from the cafeteria and sit under a banyan tree to tell stories and eat dinner. He said he could hardly find a space and most people had to sit on the lawn.

Keala said customers can see banyan tree shards on some tables in the dining area.

Through a naming contest, Lee explained the name ‘Banyan Restaurant’. Many people voted for the name, so it was sent to the Presidential Council for approval and became the official name of the dining room.

Canteen employees work in the new facility's bakery department.

Canteen employees work in the new facility’s bakery department.

Photo credit: Pristine Shek

Freshness, Visibility, Natural Light

Keala shared that he and a group of others spent time researching and collecting data to build a state-of-the-art facility. He said he has visited schools from the East Coast to the West Coast to Canada and attended college trustees, presidents, vice presidents and student services.

Keira said freshness, visibility and natural light were key factors in designing the building.

He explained that he intentionally placed the salad bar near the main entrance so customers could see the freshness as they entered the building. Because it’s open, customers can see how the food is prepared, made and served from tall seats in the dining bar opposite the cooking station, Keala said. increase.

“The concept was a cooking area to the dining room,” says Keala. He said he wanted his dining room customers to be able to see, smell and feel the experience of dining in the building. He also shared that he is working to offer a variety of seating options, including outdoor seating with Laie views, booths, four-seat tables, and two-seat tables.

Keala talked about windows of different sizes and how natural light can fill the dining hall. He explained that there are large windows throughout the building, creating an open and bright atmosphere.

The focus, Keala said, was that people could walk in through the front door and see the beautiful silver facility and the cooks preparing the food in front of them.

The walls of the dining room are painted with Hawaiian landscapes.

Banyan Dining Hall is decorated with Hawaiian motifs.

Photo by Zane Saarns

Depicting Hawaii and Diversity

Keira explained that the blue screen above the main floor seating represents ocean waves, while the curve in the central dining area represents Maui’s fishhook from Native Hawaiian mythology. He and his committee wanted the seating in his main dining room to be curved, unlike what he’s seen from many of his campus dining establishments, which feature straight L-shaped table seating. he explained.

Lava Station in the dining hall cooks pizza, chicken, pasta, and desserts in a large wood-fired stone oven. According to Keira, the warmth of the oven and the red lamp next to it represent a volcano, and a mural on Hawaii’s Kona coast depicts the view from a local volcano.

Local stations also serve local dishes such as loco moco with mac salad, while world stations offer international dishes such as Thai chicken curry. “Ethnicity was important to us,” he said.

According to Keira, local and international cuisine, lava-inspired décor, and wave motifs are all brought together to represent Hawaii.

“Students and staff [as part of a whole new generation] I am blessed to be working in this brand new facility. ”

Due to the current staffing problem, Mr. Lee would like to hire 30 more employees for Food Services to manage the cafeteria efficiently. She said a sociable and hardworking person would like to join Banyan’s dining hall team.