Though Tech students are familiar with dining locations on the first floor commons and food court of the Student Center, fewer  students have experienced Ferst Place, a restaurant tucked away on the third floor of the Student Center.

Located across from the Student Center ballroom, Ferst Place is a gourmet eatery open during lunch hours to students, faculty and visitors of Tech. Dining options include a buffet, a salad bar, and a made-to-order station.

The restaurant is run by Sodexo, the same service that provides food in Tech’s dining halls. Ferst Place is different in that the atmosphere is slower-paced, with an emphasis on service and presentation.

“[Ferst Place] is our showcase area so when we have clients come in we can show them what we do for faculty and students,” said Graham Conner, Executive Chef of Catering at Tech.

Ferst Place changes its food offerings every day, with a daily menu available by phone. Typical menu staples are a balanced selection that includes vegetarian entrees. A salad bar provides seven composed salads and soups.

Although Ferst Place is primarily aimed towards faculty members, everyone is welcome to visit the gourmet lunch restaurant. Ferst Place is becoming more popular with students as they discover the third floor eatery.

“Student numbers have picked up,” Conner said of the restaurant’s growing number of visitors.

In recent years, emphasis on international cuisine has grown to reflect Tech’s increasingly diverse student body.

“Last month was Hispanic Heritage Month so we ran specials each Wednesday for the entire month so that we could showcase Hispanic food,” said Conner.

Similar such events include Pan-American, Asian, and African foods throughout the year.

Ferst Place also serves two holiday meals — one for Thanksgiving and another for Christmas.  This year’s holiday luncheon will be a choice between apple cider butter turkey with giblet gravy, honey pecan tofu with granny smith apple stuffing, carved garlic-studded beef medallions with cranberry demi glaze and assorted deserts.

Open only from 11am to 2pm, customer traffic goes up at Ferst Place significantly during lunch hours, so reservations via the Tech Dining Services website can be made up to a day prior to eating there. The eatery accepts Buzzcard or Ramblin’ Plans for the convenience of students, and invites them to come share the Ferst Place experience.

“I want everyone to know that the restaurant is here and everyone is welcome … I take plenty of time to make different menu items so everyone can try different types of food,” Conner said.