Tucked away in the front right corner of Alpha Delta Phi, The Star & Crescent Eating Club (known colloquially as S&C) has been on campus since the mid 1800s. One of two student-run dining options on campus—sharing that designation with Espwesso—the restaurant is known for its deluxe food and sophisticated dine-in experience. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the dining room is no longer open to visitors.
Instead, meals are ordered ahead of time and are strictly to go through a pick-up window at the side door of the restaurant. Students can order bundles through bit.ly/SnC-bundleform. Once students sign up for bundles, they will have access to the meal order forms sent out each week.
While the way that students are receiving S&C’s food is markedly different, the people behind the operation remain the same. All food is prepared by a full-time kitchen staff, which consists of students, professional chef Ryan Talbot, and stewards Lauren Stock ’21 and Sophie Penn ’23.
“As stewards, we are essentially the restaurant managers,” Stock explained. “We do both front-facing external work for the restaurant, like the actual food distribution and the promotion, as well as all the back end: finance, staff hiring, staff training, scheduling, logistic pieces.”
Stock noted that, even with the COVID-19 changes, business has been going surprisingly well.
“We now have over 600 bundle holders, which is about 25% of all students on campus, and have continued to have record-breaking numbers, selling out every meal in the last 2 weeks,” Stock wrote in a follow-up email to the Argus. “We expect to have sold over 3,000 meals by next week!”
Keizo Fish ’21, who has been working at Star & Crescent since his sophomore fall, also highlighted this semester’s success.
“This semester has been a million times better than last semester,” Fish explained. “I feel like there was a little bit of a learning curve when it came to how we were going to adjust in a pandemic and how we were going to transition to this to-go model.”
Fish also emphasized how, personally, he has liked working in-person again.
“I missed staff culture and workflow in that way,” Fish said. “I’m really a person who likes working with my hands. So after the summer, getting to work again and have a staff culture and working with other people was really nice.”
Fish isn’t the only one who has been enjoying operating the restaurant in COVID-times. Chad White ’23 just started working at Star & Crescent this semester and has found the experience to be very rewarding.
“I’m a tour guide, and that experience has been completely virtual, and so just being able to work with other people [has been great],” White said. “I also have no in-person classes, so any reason to leave the house for a couple of hours is a prime opportunity for me.”
White also mentioned how he enjoyed getting to learn the ropes at a time when the dining room hasn’t been flooded with people.
“I’m kind of scared for how it’s going to be past COVID, whenever we get there, just because sometimes I’ll be stressed out about the orders or whatever and everyone’s telling me ‘It’s much more hectic during normal [times],’” White explained. “For me, it’s kind of a benefit to be able to experience the calmness and know how things work and experience this in a calmer setting. When I’m thrown into the deep end, I’ll be able to be more adjusted.”
Aside from their various steward duties and training new workers like White, both Penn and Stock have been working hard to give S&C more of a presence on campus.
“Lauren made a great new menu, and [we’ve been] kind of trying to create more of a brand for S&C, especially because so much of the things we were known for on campus had to do with the actual [dine]-in setting,” Penn explained.
The two hope that marketing the restaurant this semester will pay off during future semesters.
“Our goal right now is to keep ourselves on the Wesleyan radar as a really great spot for food, knowing that when COVID is in a place where we can reopen the dining room, people will still come for the food and get the added bonus of the wonderful S&C atmosphere,” Stock explained.
Fish also emphasized this need to market Star & Crescent, as the restaurant tends to be more popular among upperclassmen.
“I would have eaten at Star & Crescent if I had known about it when I was a freshman,” Fish remarked. “Upperclassmen tend to know about it more so than the entire student body, and I think that everybody would benefit from knowing about it and being able to eat there.”
Hannah Docter-Loeb can be reached at email@example.com.