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With the return of Classroom to Table this semester, participating restaurants are welcoming the increase in groups of students and faculty members flocking to their Harvard Square businesses.
Classroom to Table provides money for groups of three to five students and a faculty member to dine over lunch or dinner. The program encourages students to have one-on-one conversations with their professors over a casual meal rather than a traditional classroom environment.
Due to insufficient funding, Classroom to Table ended early in spring 2017, and the Office of Undergraduate Education implemented a cap on the number of reservations and a new funding amount per person. After the reinstatement of the program, students can participate a maximum of four times per semester and each person can spend up to $30 per reservation.
The six participating Harvard Square restaurants include Grafton Street, The Hourly Oyster House, Legal Sea Foods, Park Restaurant, Russell House Tavern, and Temple Bar. Five of the six restaurants are owned by Grafton Group Hospitality, with Legal Sea Foods being the exception. Since the restoration of the program, restaurant staff have noticed an increase in customers.
Henry E. McCauley, a manager of Russell House Tavern, said that the program allows more people to come to Harvard Square restaurants.
“I think it’s great. It brings a lot of new people in who may not always get to come out and experience the dining,” McCauley said.
McCauley, who has worked with the company for about a year, said business will continue as usual even with the increase in customers. He said that Russell House Tavern will still do everything they can to ensure their customers have a good experience.
Morgan E. Carney, the bar manager of Grafton Street, said he observed a difference in sales after the reinstatement of the program.
“It’s been a noticeable boost in terms of our business, and it’s been a great boost in mingling Harvard with local businesses,” Carney said.
Carney, who has been tending bar at the restaurant for over 11 years, also said he thinks Classroom to Table helps “students and professors engage with each other in a different environment.”
“It’s something I wish they had when I was in college because it’s kind of cool to see the professor-student relationship outside of the classroom,” he said.
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