PLATTSBURGH — It’s no surprise that SUNY Plattsburgh hosts numerous academic programs, but the college is also home to something far less expected: a fine-dining establishment.
Located in Sibley Hall, Samuel D’s has been in existence for about a decade and is run by students in the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Program.
“I think it’s a little hidden gem in the community,” said Peter Ensel, interim chair of the department.
The participating students, all of whom are seniors, meet on Thursday evenings and open the facility up to the community.
“It’s a laboratory learning environment rather than a restaurant,” said John Parmelee, a lecturer in the management program.
Throughout the semester, students rotate their roles between the back and front of the restaurant and are responsible for everything from planning and costing out menu items to preparing the meals and serving guests.
“It’s a great practical learning experience, where they get to practice many different facets of the restaurant business,” Ensel said.
“One of the things that I think is a real positive attribute to our program is the fact that we have all state-of-the-art cooking equipment (and) technology in the dining room,” added Parmelee, who oversees front-of-the-house operations.
Samuel D’s generally hosts 12 dinners per semester, each featuring three different entree choices, all of which are served with a salad.
The meals range in price from about $10 to $15, which covers operation costs.
“We’re not making any money on this,” said chef and instructor Kim Emery, who oversees the back of the house.
While she sets two of each week’s menu items, the students come up with the third.
The students recently offered grilled chicken with a house-made salsa, a recipe crafted by Zuehailey Irizarry.