Our Place Dining Room Frequently Asked Questions
What is Our Place?
Our Place dining room is collaborative event between two classes in the Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts curriculums whereby food is produced and served for sale to the public during the class meeting times. Students who are cooking and serving are doing so as lab hours in two required courses. Some students are very new to the tasks they are learning to perform and others have more proficiency. Not every student is yet in a position to be hired to be a server (or even bus person) in a white tablecloth restaurant or to be cooking at their assigned kitchen stations. As they learn through their mistakes as well as their successes, the cost of the meal only covers the supplies used to create it. We ask that each guest fill out a comment card, rating their experience to assist student learning. Students in each class rotate through various positions including; server, student dining room manager, cashier, bus person, back waiter, chef of the day, grill, saute, dessert, soup, salad and dish room.
How do I make a reservation?
Please use our new online system accessible on the Reservations page of this website. This is a teaching tool for our students and timesaver for college employees. In prior years, the volume of phone calls tied up our instructors and the college switchboard to a point where we were less available for our students. Diners must have a reservation in order to be seated.
Why is it so hard to get a table?
Our dining room operates as a learning laboratory for students in our Dining Room Service and Culinary production classes; Classical or International and American Regional Cuisine. Due to our curriculum requirements, enrollment in other required courses and our desire not to operate in competition with local restaurants employing our students, we are only "open" to invite the public to "come to class"; one meal per week; dinner in the fall semester and lunch in the spring. Our students pay for the class and are entitled to leave when class is over. Each table is "sat" only once in order to finish on time. Some students have a class following this one or are scheduled for work at paying jobs. We are grateful for your interest and enthusiasm about our students and in our programs.
When are reservations available?
We are open on Wednesdays only. In the fall, our Classical Cuisine class prepares dinner and in the spring our International and American Regional Cuisine class prepares lunch. We are open about twelve times each semester as indicated on by our online reservations link. A few of those twelve times, we are closed to the general public as we are serving private parties of college donors or board members in thanks for their generosity.
How much does it cost and what forms of payment are accepted?
Lunch is $10.00 per person and dinner is $13.00. We take cash or check made out to Cape Fear Community College. Payment is accepted at the cash register by our student cashier. We are sorry, but we are unable to accept credit card payment.
May we tip our student server?
Students are not allowed to accept individual gratuities. They are after all, earning college credit for their Dining Room Service course, however donations to our student club, The Pineapple Guild, are gratefully accepted at the cash register. The club raises money for student scholarships, performs community services and earns an educational field trip to the National Restaurant Association Expo in Chicago each May for students who contribute significant time to club initiatives. Diners who find themselves particularly interested in helping a student further their education may contact the CFCC Foundation.
May I reserve the entire room for my group?
Groups wishing to learn more about ways they can support Cape Fear Community College students may contact the college Foundation. They direct us in closing the Dining Room to the general public to serve a private party.
I have food allergies and/or special food requests. Can those be accommodated?
As we are not a "real" restaurant, but a classroom, the menu is dictated by student learning objectives. If it possible to omit an ingredient, we will be happy to, but if the ingredient has already been cooked into an item, or a cooking technique is specified by the day's lesson, then we must adhere to our lesson for the day.
What kind of jobs do students get when they graduate?
The Tourism industry is very strong in North Carolina; particularly here at the Cape Fear Coast. It is also a community where people come to retire, be educated and for medical treatment. Graduates find that there are more jobs than prospective employees available to fill them. Culinary Arts graduates have gone on to become chefs at area restaurants, private clubs, and institutional contractors such as Aramark which provides food service for UNCW and Cape Fear Memorial Hospital. Graduates of the Hospitality Management include restaurant owners and operators, of entrepreneurships and franchises as well as Food and Beverage directors, Rooms and General Managers of Hotels. Some students have left the area, with the furthest known cooking for over one thousand international employees of a research station in Antarctica. Our graduates have a 100% employment rate. The new Convention Center has also provided entry and management level opportunities for our graduates.
Where is Our Place Dining Room located?
We are in the Emmart building on Water Street between the Coastline Convention Center and the Hilton Riverside. The room number is W018, with the entry door located in the elbow of the "L" formed by the two buildings.
Where do I park?
Our parking attendants will direct you if handicapped or visitor's spaces are available. During the daytime, diners use metered parking spaces and the downtown parking deck as most college spaces are numbered and paid for by full time employees or reserved for students with disabilities. The CFCC parking deck may only be accessed with an activated CFCC student or employee ID card. Students and employees pay for this privilege.
Is alcohol served and, if not, can I bring my own?
We do not have a license to sell alcohol or allow brown bagging. We recommend that guests avail themselves of one of downtowns many fine establishments prior to or following their meal. The Fortunate Glass, Olive Tree, and other Front St establishments sell wine by the glass or bottle. Closer at hand, Paddy's Hollow in the Cotton Exchange or the lounge at the Hilton Riverside or Ruth's Chris might be considered. The Cafe Phoenix on Front St has long been a favorite of Wilmingtonians. A number of other establishments along the river walk serving alcohol include; The George, La Catalan, Elijah's and Pilot House. On Water Street, Mixto Restaurant and Union Station are located on or near the intersection with Market Street.