The Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center (RCSC), the new home to Auburn University’s esteemed School for Hospitality Management, opens its doors this month, ushering in a new era for hospitality education with this groundbreaking facility. The Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, which houses a teaching restaurant and luxury hotel, is a result of a unique partnership between academia and the hospitality industry and will prepare students with operational knowledge creating a stronger and more competitive group of future industry leaders, while also offering unparalleled guest experiences. The commercial entities, open to the public and managed by Ithaka Hospitality Partners (IHP), will open throughout the month of August, starting with the Hey Day Market, Food Hall & Gathering Place on August 16, The Laurel Hotel & Spa on August 29, and 1856 – Culinary Residence on August 30.
Through this partnership between Auburn University’s School of Hospitality Management and Ithaka Hospitality Partners, students will graduate with not only academic knowledge but also with hands-on experience from real consumer-facing entities – a fully operating teaching restaurant, hotel, and spa – that they wouldn’t have access to throughout the school year otherwise. There is also a food hall, a brewery and micro distillery which will both open in March 2023, and regular events and activities that our guests and locals can take part in. Beyond the educational impact, our goal is for the RCSC to be an experience for the greater community and put Auburn on the map as a college town offering destination-worthy amenities for visitors.
1856 – Culinary Residence
“1856 – Culinary Residence” is an upscale teaching restaurant, named after the year of Auburn University’s founding, that anchors the first floor of RCSC. Students in Auburn’s School of Hospitality Management undergraduate program work under the guidance of a Chef in Residence to prepare and serve an à la carte lunch menu and tasting menu during dinner service. Each year, an acclaimed chef will work alongside Auburn University faculty and staff to create a unique restaurant experience, providing a one-of-a-kind, ever-changing culinary experience for students and restaurant guests alike. The inaugural Chef in Residence is Tyler Lyne, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who began his career in some of New York City’s finest restaurants before moving home to Birmingham to open Tasting TBL, a supper club, in 2020. The open kitchen invites diners to watch the culinary team in action, while a two-story wine room stocked with bottles from around the world provides a stunning dining backdrop for the private dining room. The wine program, service, and wine appreciation coursework is led by Master Sommelier Thomas Price. For students, 1856 – Culinary Residence provides an opportunity for unparalleled immersion in hands-on learning. Junior-level students perform lunch service while more experienced, senior-level students execute dinner service. Thought to be the first teaching restaurant in the world to offer a tasting menu, 1856 – Culinary Residence sets the stage in a dramatic fashion for students, faculty, and visitors to experience all that RCSC and Auburn’s School of Hospitality Management have to offer. Read more on the 1856 – Culinary Residence website.
The Laurel Hotel & Spa
An experiential teaching hotel located inside RCSC, The Laurel Hotel & Spa is Alabama’s most exciting new luxury hotel and spa, offering spectacular rooftop views of Auburn University’s iconic Samford Hall in the heart of campus. The Laurel Hotel & Spa is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts L.V.X. Collection, a group of renowned properties featuring the finest accommodations coupled with attentive, engaging, and exclusive personal service. Positioned as a haven for both visitors and locals alike, The Laurel Hotel & Spa offers hands-on learning experiences for students pursuing hospitality careers while providing exceptional service for its guests. The amenities of The Laurel Hotel & Spa include 16 luxurious rooms, 10 suites, six residences, a world-class spa, a fitness studio, rooftop pool, rooftop gardens, rooftop bar, and yoga pavilion. The spa will open at a forthcoming date and the rooftop experience will initially open for hotel guests and residents only. Read more on The Laurel Hotel & Spa’s website.
Hey Day Market
Hey Day Market is a multi-concept food hall at RCSC named for a beloved Auburn tradition known as “Hey Day.” Dating back to World War II, Auburn University’s student body pushed for a day that would unite the Auburn Family and promote a friendly atmosphere known as Hey Day. Each year, Auburn University carries on this tradition of handing out name tags and encouraging students and faculty to greet one another. At Hey Day Market, nine thoughtfully selected vendors serve crowd-pleasing meals that are prepared onsite with a focus on sustainable sourcing. True to the RCSC mission of fostering student growth and real-world opportunities, in 2023 one vendor stall will be a dedicated incubator where selected Hospitality Management students will develop business concepts and get their operations off the ground. In addition, a dedicated podcast studio within the hall is available for student use and creative projects. In addition to traditional forms of payment, Auburn students can spend their dining dollars and use their Tiger Club cards at Hey Day Market (block meals are excluded). Opening tenants include Khoodles, La Cubanita, Little Darling Burger Co., Loud Roots, Pizzeria Ariccia, Pokémen, Saint Bernardo Gelateria, and Wildchild. Read more about the vendors and see menus and hours of operation on the Hey Day Market website.