Now Open in Wurster Hall…Rice & Bones!
Photo by Tony Tieu
Award-winning culinary innovator, Charles Phan, has partnered with the College of Environmental Design to launch his newest endeavor — Rice & Bones — at the west entrance to Wurster Hall. Phan is the founder and executive chef of the famed Slanted Door and sister restaurants Out the Door, OTD and Hard Water, and a former student of architecture at CED.
Opened in October 2017, the new café is a radical change from its previous incarnations. Designed to serve the whole of the campus community, from students to faculty and visitors, it will not only feature an affordable menu of fresh, seasonal items, but will do so in a beautifully renovated setting, featuring the use of stunning recycled materials.
Lundberg Design collaborated with Phan on the interior, and PGAdesign, led by Chris Kent (M.L.A. ‘93), brought the new expanded outdoor plaza to fruition, with the support of the campus and a generous gift from CED alumnus Ong Tze Boon (B.Arch. ‘91). Bob LaLanne (B.Arch. ‘78) led planning for the project. “We’re so grateful to our family of CED alumni — like Charles, Chris, Bob, and Boon — who enable these kinds of wonderful collaborative endeavors that make CED such an excellent and remarkable place,” said CED Dean Jennifer Wolch.
Tales regarding the founding of the original Ramona’s abound, with little documentation to support them. But all who were there agree that it was a tumultuous time when the civil rights and free-speech movements had empowered voices, and the campus was newly ignited by antiwar activism. The ground-floor silk screening studio in Wurster Hall became an antiwar poster factory. Down the hall, in what is now the café space, students took over a space originally designed for exhibits, for use as an alternative classroom and all-hours meeting space where demonstrations, marches and other protest actions were planned.
To fuel these all-nighters and meetings, coffee became essential. According to CED alumna Gyöngy Laky (M.A. Design ’71), she and Barbara Williams (B.Arch. ‘70), Hayden Valdes (B.Arch. ‘74), Topher Delaney (B.A. Landscape Architecture ‘73), and others mobilized to supply a constant flow of caffeine. Donuts soon followed, and not long after, hundreds of egg salad and tuna sandwiches were being sold to nourish the growing numbers of student organizers, protesters, designers, and printers.
Dean Wolch couldn’t be happier about the opening of the cafe. “Rice & Bones has been planned by Charles Phan to embody the spirit of the college: an affordable, sustainable, and welcoming place to nourish body and soul — in a beautiful environment where students can fuel up before studio, faculty can wind down on the patio after a long day of lectures, and alumni can reminisce over a glass of wine and nosh on something even more memorable than egg salad sandwiches.”