Radical renovations for USD café completed

By Katelyn Montero

As one of USD’s most popular dining locations for students, La Paloma was famous for its gourmet sandwiches, egg scrambles, long lines and limited seating. However, after spending months under construction, the popular café officially reopened for business on Aug. 31 with an entirely new floor plan, atmosphere and menu.

The new layout of the popular dining location features an open concept design that permeates from the ceiling plan to the floor plan. The ceilings feature exposed beams and the floor plan allows customers to see the entire preparation and cooking process of their food as they wait.

The café also features freshly painted walls, an updated color scheme, new furniture and decorations.

The new remodel of La Paloma was led by the company Design Perspectives. The CFO of Design Perspectives, Tony Adamo, is a USD alumnus who graduated from the school of business in 1980. He is also no stranger to working on design projects on Marian Way, as his company was the design team behind both La Gran Terraza and O’Tooles. Adamo runs Design Perspectives with his business partner and wife Tina Marie Koch.

“We wanted to convey the interior to be warm and inviting for students and to let them come around all year,” Koch said She hopes that by providing more electrical outlets, updated wifi and additional seating, students find the new La Paloma both functional and inviting. The remodeled interior now offers over 40 additional seats for customers.

“The main concept of the design was to bring the kitchen to the front and really bring the school’s vision to the table by highlighting both the sustainability process as well as the use of whole, fresh foods,” Adamo said.

Koch and Adamo were approached with the project in the Fall of 2012, with the intent that construction would begin immediately following the last day of Spring classes.

Both the design team and the construction team worked on a fast-tracked schedule in order to complete the project in time for the beginning of classes on Sept. 4.

When the school approached the team with the project they had three main goals for the new version of La Paloma: to improve wait times, increase seating and create a kitchen that can accommodate a seasonal, evolving menu.

“Because of the healthy, fresh foods that the kitchen will be using, everything will be done to according to seasons,” Koch said.

In accordance with the university’s goal to increase sustainability on campus, Dining Services announced that the food served in La Paloma will be sourced from as many local and environmentally friendly vendors as possible.

According to the university’s website, these sources will include organic and sustainable farms, meats that are certified as hormone and antibiotic free and fresh seafood.

The design of La Paloma is not the only thing that has changed either, as the larger and state of the art kitchen features a Mongolian barbeque station. Customers will be able to choose from a variety of new dishes that range from beef and noodles to jidori chicken. The café will still offer a handful of it’s old gourmet sandwiches and popular menu items, as well as seasonal specials.

For Adamo, designing the remodel was much more than just a job at his alma mater; it was a change to help create spaces for new students to enjoy the school in the same way that he did as an undergraduate.

“It’s just special to be back home again,” Adamo said. “Tina and I are business partners, we’re husband and wife, and we were actually married here on campus in Founder’s chapel.”