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Dairy Bar to Close End of Week

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
December 12, 2007

After more than 30 years under the management of the Thompson School of Applied Science, the Dairy Bar, housed in the old train station near the Whittemore Center, will close its doors Friday so renovations to the building can begin.

When the eatery reopens sometime late winter, it will be as part of Dining Services. The building will also serve as the new train station for the Downeaster passenger train.

As a way of thanking customers who have frequented the Dairy Bar throughout the years, this has been declared “Customer Appreciation Week.” From now through Friday there will be special sandwiches and other bargains harking back to the early 1970s, when the Thompson School first became connected with the restaurant.

“We want to thank all of our customers for 34 years of loyal patronage,” says Regina Smick-Attisano, director of the Thompson School.

When passenger train service first came to Durham in 1841, the ticket station was located north of where DeMeritt Hall was. In 1912, the railroad dismantled an old station in Lynn, Mass., and moved it to the current location next to the tracks.

Work on the outside of the building has already begun. Interior renovations are set to start Dec. 18. While the inside isn’t being completely gutted, it will look very different when it reopens, Smick-Attisano says.

For one thing, the counter will be gone as will the wait staff; the new Dairy Bar (the name stays) is going to offer what Dining Services calls “grab and go” food. Ice cream will still be served but the hours will become more seasonal.

Most of the new seating will be in the passenger waiting area, being built off the back of the building. A second door will provide access to that area, which will be fully enclosed. That’s where the ticket machine will be located, along with an ATM machine and new restrooms.

“The addition is going to allow train customers to stay out of the weather,” Smick-Attisano says. “And with the tickets and the restrooms there, passengers will have access when the restaurant is closed.”

And Thompson School students will still be able to use the venue so they won’t lose out on the academic experiences that have existed when the Dairy Bar was part of their program. In fact, Smick-Attisano says, partnering with Dining Services may allow for even more possibilities.

The restaurant known for its ice cream and homemade food at reasonable prices will close Dec. 14 at 4:30 p.m. Construction should be completed sometime in February with reopening set for around March 1.

“It was very sad at the meeting when they announced the changes that were going to take place but the reaction of the employees was wonderful,” Smick-Attisano says. “Most of them are students and they were more worried about the changes than having a job. It was nice to see their connection to the place. They had a sense of place.”

The one full-time benefited employee has found a new position with UNH Dining. The other 14 hourly workers—predominately students—were also offered jobs with Dining Services.

The Dairy Bar is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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