Divinity Refectory Re-opens

The new managers, veterans of the Refectory, pledge to provide healthy, sustainable meals.

The Divinity Refectory will reopen on Monday, July 30, and will be operated by Pat Eder, owner of Core Catering Inc., Duke Dining officials announced Friday.

Eder and partners Monica Vaughan and Core's executive chef Danielle Mitchell have more than seven years of combined experience at the Refectory.

"We're thrilled to be back," Eder said. "We are dedicated to providing the best foods to our customers, the best recipes, along with stellar service. From my previous experience here, I understand the clientele. We are resolute to sourcing local foods and to providing healthy, nutritious meals, and are unwavering in our commitment to sustainability."

Since leaving Duke in 2010, Eder has been working on sustainable projects. Core Catering also supports the newly formed South Durham Farmers Market. "We are ecstatic to not only have a farm across the street from our kitchen, but a farmers market just down the road," Eder said.

Mitchell, the lead executive chef, said she is actively working on expanding the menu.

"We'll keep some old favorites like grilled cheese and tomato soup, but we're going to add a lot more to the menu, and try some new things," Mitchell said. "I've had time to research and test out more vegetarian and vegan options as well as gluten-free recipes. Also, be on the lookout for Core's vegan energy bars -- a healthy, nutritious snack."

Vaughan, who has held a variety of positions in the restaurant and catering world, will be stepping in as director of event planning.

The Divinity School established the Refectory in their building six years ago, and school representatives are pleased that the Core Catering team will be running the eatery.

"We are delighted about the vision Pat and Danielle bring," said Laceye Warner, executive vice dean and associate professor of Duke Divinity School. "Their commitment to high quality, sustainability and affordability are widely shared."

Students were involved in the selection process.

“We looked at a lot of potential vendors, tasted some great food and asked many questions of each group," said Robert Mason, Divinity Student Council co-president. "Pat and Danielle are committed to student concerns, such as sustainable practices, local sourcing and to keeping prices affordable. Most importantly, they are dedicated to creating an eating and fellowship space for both the Divinity and larger university community. We are excited to welcome them."

So are Duke Dining administrators.

"We went into the bidding process knowing we wanted a home run," said Robert Coffey, Director for Duke Dining. "Core Catering knows campus, knows the students, knows the sustainable market in the area, and are committed to it all. The Core team is going to make a big impression on even the most hard to please."