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UC’s CenterCourt Dining Center Awarded Grand Prize at National Conference

Already a gold-medal winner, CenterCourt sweeps all residential restaurants that matched menus in its category.

Date: 8/16/2006 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover

UC ingot  

More national accolades for one of the newest places to meet and eat along the University of Cincinnati MainStreet corridor. UC’s CenterCourt, the all-you-care-to-eat residential restaurant in the new $112.1 million Campus Recreation Center, was awarded the grand prize in the single stand-alone concept category at the 48th National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) convention in Toronto July 25-29.

CenterCourt Team
CenterCourt Team: (Front, left to right: Spyros Gravas, Steve Sayers, Todd Duncan (Back, left to right) John Hautz, Omar Rayan

The dining center, which kicked off its grand opening in January, was previously awarded the NACUFS Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards Gold Medal in the large school category of stand-alone concept dining. Grand prize winners, which are selected from the small, medium and large schools that competed in the category, are announced at the national convention, where Todd Duncan, director of UC Housing & Food Services, also accepted CenterCourt’s gold medal.

“Winning the grand prize for the CenterCourt entry is the capstone event of an exciting year,” Duncan says. “CenterCourt is getting rave reviews nationally and from the campus community since opening in January. To be recognized by our peers as the ‘best of the best’ is absolutely wonderful. I congratulate our talented and dedicated staff,” says Duncan.

The criteria for category consideration included menu and recipe ideas, variety of menu options, nutritional soundness, restaurant presentation and student input and feedback in the creation of the menu – which is at the heart of UC|21 goals to place students at the center of the university. The 393-seat CenterCourt features seven distinct taste stations including a Mongolian Grill, a brick oven for fresh-baked pizzas and breads, salad bar and vegan and vegetarian offerings.

Grand Prize Award
Grand Prize Award

Steve Sayers, associate vice president of Administrative & Business Services and director of Campus Services, says it’s an honor that CenterCourt continues to receive national recognition for providing top quality food service and selection to the UC community.  “We intend to remain focused on maintaining high standards in our food operations for students, faculty, staff and university visitors,” says Sayers.

“It’s a great honor to receive two national first-place awards for the quality of services offered at CenterCourt,” says UC/Aramark Food Service director Spyros Gravas. “Our diverse, yet nutritionally sound dining program is recognized as a cutting-edge food service operation that brings University Dining Services to a whole different level. CenterCourt’s multi-cultured culinary team and its stellar staff were able to adapt fine dining and international recipes to the students’ comfort-zone food, yielding increased customer satisfaction and providing students with an unparalleled value.”

CenterCourt’s grand prize places it first on the NACUFS list of national top performers.

Large School Category
University of Cincinnati – gold medal
Syracuse University – silver medal
Miami University – bronze medal
University of California-Santa Barbara – bronze medal

Medium School Category
Kansas State University – silver medal
Middlebury College – bronze medal

Small School Category
Hendrix College – silver medal
Phillips Exeter Academy – bronze medal


The National Association of College & University Food Services is a trade association for dining departments at institutions of higher education across the United States, Canada, Mexico and other countries. The organization dedicates itself to promoting the highest quality of foodservice and provides education, training, scholarships, technical assistance, information and research to its members.

CenterCourt’s Web site features dining hours and pricing. CenterCourt is open to the UC community as well as to campus visitors.

Related story: Dining Halls Going Extinct? Students Seek Different Lifestyle

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