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A spirit that is not afraid

Hey Day Market open for dinner amongst raving fanfare

<p>The Hey Day Market next to the freshly opened Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center serves students for the first time on opening day on August 16, 2022.</p>

The Hey Day Market next to the freshly opened Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center serves students for the first time on opening day on August 16, 2022.

Burgers sizzling, people chatting, a bustling new meeting place; all of this can be heard and seen at Hey Day, which opened for dinner on Tuesday, Aug. 23, after a week of only conducting lunchtime service.

The food hall opened as classes began on Aug. 16. After a soft launch, they opened their doors for dinner to a packed house, according to Haley Carson, Executive Chef at Khoodles and Loudroots.

“I’m so busy I’m cooking at the same time [as I'm interviewing],” said Carson on Wednesday as she spoke while frying rice in a wok. “Yesterday, I think it never stopped."

Carson said getting staff hired and trained for such a busy space has been an early challenge. 

“I think that's the biggest issue we have right now, so until more people start to actually know and want part-time jobs, that will definitely be a difference."

Students have found the new space as a place to meet friends and try new flavors with their dining dollars.

McKay Parker, senior in public relations, said that despite the space coming in at the tail end of her college career, she uses it as a venue to socialize. 

“I feel like seniors will feel sad that it just came," Parker said. 

Parker says the convenience of the location and energetic environment makes it a great place to socialize. Parker elaborated that her second trip to Hey Day that day was to meet up with some sorority friends after a meeting.

“It's somewhere we can quickly go to eat and hangout," Parker said. "It's not just dinner, you're done, and go. It's dinner, you can have a drink, get some gelato, have a little meeting place where all of y’all can circle up, hang out, enjoy the vibe, just see people.”

Justin Perkins, 27, said that the food hall felt more like it should be in Atlanta or New York than in Auburn. 

"It doesn't feel like Auburn when you walk in here," Perkins said. "It's better than having Chick-fil-a or Steak 'n Shake as your options."

As a resident of Auburn, he says the hall now being open until 9 p.m. gives his family a variety of options to choose from.

Perkins, his wife and young son visited the hall twice in a two-day span, much like Parker. This phenomenon is not uncommon according to Marc Osier, Culinary Director of Restaurants and Food Halls at Ithaka Hospitality Partners.

“I just see the same faces over and over again, which means they didn't go somewhere else yesterday and then come here today, they came here twice in a row, three times in a row, a week in a row," Osier said.

Osier says that the space has quickly become a place for both members of the community and students to mingle and interact. Osier recalls seeing two students sitting with an older woman and later asking them if she was related to them, only to find out it was a member of the community who simply reminded them of their own grandmothers. 

“It was like a surrogate grandma-grandaughter," Osier said.

Osier said Hey Day holds value in being able to expose students to the quickly-growing hospitality management major.

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“Being part of the Tony and Libra Raine Culinary Science Center, I have the responsibility to represent hospitality to students, freshmen students, this is the first chance they're gonna get to see, what does it mean," Osier said. "So I would think that what experience they're gonna get here is going to be different than other places because we're aiming for them to show what hospitality is about.”

Hey Day is now open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Tyler Schmidt | News Writer

Tyler Schmidt, junior in culinary science, writes for The Plainsman news section. 

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