The Spice Box to hold ‘Friends’ themed dinner

By Faraz Mirza

The Spice Box, a student-run restaurant inside Bevier Hall, is launching a series of themed dinners on Friday, starting with “The One with the Spice Box Dinner” inspired by the hit TV show “Friends.”

Jennifer Gulas, senior in ACES and organizer of the “Friends” event, said the dinners serve as “senior capstone projects” and are required of all seniors majoring in hospitality management as part of their final grade.

“You run the restaurant for a night, so you come up with the menu, the meal, the theme, all the costing and purchasing, the decorations and you act as the restaurant manager for the night,” Gulas said. “Each senior has to do one, and we do them on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the spring semester.”

Although the Spice Box is student-run, students will not be able to pay using meal plans or credits from University Housing’s Dining Hall services.

“It’s just like a normal restaurant, so you pay cash or credit,” Gulas said.

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The dinner’s menu consists of a four-course fine dining meal with two primary options: the “Prix Fixe” option and the “Special” option. Each individual item on the menu alludes to different characters, events and jokes from the TV show.

The Prix Fixe is four courses, including an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert, while the special includes two to three courses with a different entree, and the dessert “A La Carte”. The dinner will also include a full bar menu and the “How YOU doin’” featured beverage.

Gulas admitted that she initially felt clueless about what to do for her capstone project’s theme; however, she knew she wanted it to be something fresh and unexpected.

“I didn’t want to do a particular food genre like Italian or Mexican,” Gulas said. “I wanted to do something that was kind of unique and that I really enjoyed and could do fun decorations with.”

As she brainstormed several possible ideas for a theme, Gulas recalled that she and a friend, who graduated from the University last year, spent most of college watching the show together.

Gulas said the project encompasses everything she learned throughout her time as a student in hospitality management, including food science and management.

“It’s kind of like our big ‘end of the year’ project,” Gulas said.

Gulas explained that the decorations in the restaurant would reflect different aspects of the popular sitcom, including a couple of windows decorated like the apartments of Joey Tribbiani and Monica Geller, as well as giant coffee mugs serving as centerpieces, hinting at the popular “Central Perk” cafe from the show.

Though the sitcom’s 10 seasons were added to Netflix on Jan. 1, Gulas said the timing was purely coincidental.

“I was going to do it no matter what, but it kind of worked out in my favor now that Friends just came on Netflix,” she said.

The event will take place Friday, with reservations available between 5 and 7:30 p.m.

Faraz can be reached at [email protected].