Dining With A View

Raised in Colorado, Rick Palmer, V.P.-Healthcare Services at Inman Foodservices Group, Nashville, Tenn., appreciates the vista from the servery dining room at Boulder Community Hospital near Foothills Parkway in east Boulder. It’s one of his favorite parts of the design of the new foodservice facility.

“You look right out onto the Flatirons—the mountains and snow,” Palmer says. “I love it there.”

Palmer, along with Billy Inman, President, led the team that designed the renovated foodservice facilities at the hospital, part of the Boulder Community Health system. Hospital administrators charged the designers with expanding an original first-floor servery and kitchen to accommodate an additional 70 patient beds, more than doubling the existing 60.

The team worked alongside James Lenhart, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, Boulder Associates, Boulder, Colo.

Equipment installation took place throughout the summer of 2013 and BCH administrators opened doors to the renovated facilities in October that same year.

Expanding Facilities
To accommodate the extra medical staff and visitors, the designers turned the original kitchen and a small servery with three serving stations into a 2,950-sq.-ft. retail dining area with 10 serving stations. Along the perimeter, they added platforms for exhibition cooking, pizza, entrées, a short-order grill, grab-and-go menu items and two beverage counters. In the center, they organized deli, salad and soup bars.

To serve the additional patients, the designers turned a basement, conveniently located directly underneath the servery, into a 5,800-sq.-ft. main kitchen, supporting the hospital’s fi rst room-service program. (Patients previously ordered through a traditional meal-service program.) Before construction, the basement was ancillary storage space. A dedicated elevator now joins the new kitchen and servery.

In the 185-seat dining room, the team worked with interior designers to create seating in the form of private booths and soft chairs and introduced warm woods and finishes. Architects bumped out an exterior wall and captured an existing covered patio area to add more indoor seating, overlooking a garden.

The project also included a 526-sq.-ft. lounge for physicians, who can enjoy buffet-style meal service twice a day, five days a week. Kitchen staffers transport product from the main kitchen to the lounge using insulated transport carts, then display menu items in hot and cold wells at a buffet counter.

Upscale Dining
Inspired by the stunning landscape seen through the dining-room windows, designers created a welcoming servery with curved serving counters, custom-made by BSI, and platforms supporting a fresh-food concept.

“The first thing you notice when you walk into the servery are the curved counters; there’s hardly a straight line in the place,” Palmer says. “Curves are more inviting than straight, hard lines. We even had the food pans at the deli and salad bars custom-made with curves.”

The serving counters come with fully-flexible food guards, allowing the department staff to switch the counters from full- to self-service. Food guards at several hot-food stations sport lights and warmers. Installers sent wires through the food-guard posts and mounted the components with hidden fasteners to make them discreet. Staff safely turns them off after hours via a remote switch.

Keeping with the fresh-food concept, Palmer and team outfitted the server with the pizza, exhibition-cooking and short-order grill stations so cooks can prepare menu items to order and in full view of customers.

“The Wood Stone pizza oven, surrounded with red tile, is really nice, and you can see the oven flame from any entrance point leading into the servery,” Palmer says. “It draws you in.”

Further down at the exhibition-cooking station, with three single CookTek countertop induction cooktops and an induction wok, plus a Star portable griddle, cooks have the ability to swap equipment throughout the day to accommodate a variety of ethnic cuisines. Two Randell dual-temp hot/cold wells also give cooks plenty of menu flexibility.

The fresh-food theme continues at the salad bar. “On an adjacent medical office building, we built a rooftop garden, and guests can enjoy vegetables grown there at the servery’s salad bar,” Lenhart adds.

At the grab-and-go area, medical staff can pick up prepackaged salads, sandwiches and desserts, yogurt and bottled specialty beverages from a Thermo-Kool merchandising cooler/freezer assembly and Federal display case.

“We’ve designed multiple serveries at hospitals in the area as well as statewide, and we always like to add a home-replacement-type station,” Palmer says. “On a snowy day, instead of stopping at a convenience store on the way home, staff can come into the servery and purchase milk or prepackaged foods.”

At both beverage counters, designers specified upscale low-profile ice and beverage dispensers with undercounter ice makers by Follett. The units extend only 22¼ in. above the counters. “We wanted to eliminate tall vertical pieces of equipment that could block any views,” Palmer notes. “The undercounter makers produce ice and send it through tubes to auto-fill the dispensers. Staff avoids any possible accidents or injuries from transporting ice from the back-of-house to the dispensers.”

In the dining room, designers requested a four-tier tray accumulator by Traycon that holds up to 96 trays. Before renovations, the department had only a tray drop-off window but, by adding the accumulator, designers were able to increase the amount of throughput into the warewash area without having an employee in the back-of-house constantly pulling trays.

Reflecting on the project, Lenhart says, one challenge was continuing to offer meals to staff and visitors during construction. “For two to three months, we used an adjacent conference room to open a temporary servery that we called Cantina,” he explains. “It was bare-bones, grab-and-go food; then crews worked as fast as they could to finish the new servery.”

The foodservice department trucked in meals daily from a kitchen at a separate hospital on campus to feed patients during construction.

Kitchen Backup
On the lower level, department staff members rely on the renovated main kitchen to provide the room-service menu to patients and to produce certain bulk entrée-type foods for the servery and catering operations, such as the physicians’ lounge.

Designing around low ceilings in the basement was a challenge. “Instead of 14-16 ft., the ceilings measured between 9-12 ft.,” Palmer says. “We worked closely with the engineers and architects to accommodate the HVAC system. We had to traverse duct work and utility lines.”

Beginning at the basement-level receiving dock, employees move product deliveries into a dry-storage area or Thermo-Kool walk-in coolers and freezers. From storage, staff transports product into the main prep area, which has separate stations for vegetables, cold prep and bakery. Key equipment includes 40-qt. and 20-qt. Hobart mixers and a slicer, plus a Robot Coupe food processor and Continental refrigerated sandwich prep units, among other ancillary refrigerated equipment.

Palmer added the department’s first blast chiller/shock freezer by Irinox to the prep area to ensure product freshness and safety. The unit runs operating cycles with temperatures between 185°F to -40°F. By pressing a button, employees can blast chill, shock freeze, thaw, regenerate, pasteurize or cook at a low temperature. The unit holds 24 steam-table pans or 12 full-size sheet pans.

In the cooking area, cooks use a Groen 30-gal. tilt skillet, 20-qt. kettle and steamer to produce bulk food items as well as a Montague convection oven, six-burner range, griddle and charbroiler to quickly turn out cooked-to-order items for the room-service menu.

Designers added two Rational SelfCookingCenters with 5 Senses, also a first for the department. The combi ovens sense, recognize, think ahead and communicate with the end-user. The units can grill, roast, bake, steam, stew, blanch and poach. They also specified two TurboChef fast-cook ovens for rapidly roasting, browning and broiling multiple types of foods using impinged air with microwave energy.

“The original kitchen was well equipped—not too outdated—so during the redesign, we just advanced the department by adding the combi ovens, fast-cook ovens and other equipment so they could more efficiently serve the increased number of patients quickly,” Palmer says. 

Kitchen staff transport prepared menu items to the patient-tray assembly area, boasting a Randell four well hot-food unit, Continental refrigerated sandwich prep units and Dinex induction plate heaters and base activators. Staff loads the patient-tray delivery carts and runners deliver meals using a bank of elevators that lead to the patient floors.

Designers equipped the warewash area with a Hobart flight-type dishmachine with a booster heater and a Traycon soiled dish table with a conveyor.

Rounding out the kitchen layout are spaces for pot/pan washing, storing clean ware and cart parking. Plus, employees trash, recycle or compost food waste at any one of five recycle stations, each with three Rubbermaid Slim Jim waste containers.

Looking at the overall project, Palmer says, designing within the constraints of an existing building was an obstacle. “You need to be flexible in your design,” he says. “Columns and certain other immovable objects may definitely cause you to rethink your design.”

Combining their decades of experience, Palmer and Inman met the challenge, equipping the foodservice department to effectively serve patients, staff and guests at Boulder’s main acute- care hospital.

Boulder, Colo.

Opened: October 2013
No. of Beds: 130
Facilities: Servery and Main Kitchen
Hours of Operation: Weekdays: 6:30-10 a.m., 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 5-7 p.m.; Weekends/Holidays: 6:30-10 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Servery Stations: Expo, Pizza, Entrée, Grill, Deli, Salad, Soup, Grab-and-Go, Drinks
No. of Seats: 185
Cost of Project: $69 million; Foodservice Equipment Budget: $1.7 million
Director-Food and Nutrition Services: Thomas Ingalls, Boulder Community Hospital, Boulder, Colo.
Foodservice Design Consultants: Billy Inman, President; Rick Palmer, V.P.-Healthcare Services; Inman Foodservices Group, Nashville, Tenn.
Interior Designers: DiAnn Sherk, ASID, Principal/Interior Design Director; Lydia Brown, Interior Designer; Boulder Associates, Boulder, Colo.
Architect: James Lenhart, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, Boulder Associates, Boulder, Colo.
Construction: John Wyatt, Project Manager; Mike Redmond, Project Coordinator; Wyatt Construction, Boulder, Colo.
Foodservice Equipment Dealers: Brad Lancaster, President; John Daniel, Project Director; Johnson-Lancaster and Associates, Clearwater, Fla.


Main Kitchen
Irinox blast chiller/shock freezer
Hobart/ITW FEG mixers, slicer, flight-type dishmachine
Robot Coupe food processor
Montague range, charbroiler, griddle, oven
Pitco/Middleby fryers
Groen/Unified Brands tilt skillet, kettle, steamer
Halton exhaust hoods
Rational combi ovens
TurboChef/Middleby fast-cook ovens
Alto-Shaam cook-and-hold unit
Traycon warewash tables, soak sink, soiled dish table w/conveyor
Dinex/Carlisle base activator, induction plate heaters, mobile dome carts
Randell/Unified Brands 4-well hot food unit
FWE air-screen refrig., tray delivery carts, tray return carts
Continental roll-in refrigs., refrigs., refrig. sandwich prep units, roll-in hot boxes, refrig. equipment stand, freezer
Thermo-Kool/Mid-South Industries walk-in cooler and freezer
Salvajor TroughVeyor, disposer
Spray Master remote wash station
Rubbermaid waste containers
Power Soak/Unified Brands pot/pan wash station
T&S Brass hose reels, pre-rinse unit
Metro/Emerson heater/proofer, shelving, dollies, racks, utility carts
Custom prep tables w/sinks, baker’s table, landing tables w/overshelves

BSI serving counters, food guards, food guards w/lights/warmers
Randell/Unified Brands dual-temp hot/cold wells
Montague charbroiler, griddle
CookTek/Middleby induction cooktops, induction wok
Star/Middleby portable griddle
Pitco/Middleby fryer
Halton exhaust hoods
Wood Stone hearth oven
Hatco heated sandwich/pizza slide
Alto-Shaam carving station w/holding cabinet
Equipex/Sodir panini grill
Wells/Middleby drop-in soup wells
APW Wyott/Standex plate and bowl lowerators, toaster
Follett ice/beverage dispensers, ice maker, chute
Continental freezer, refrig. prep units, roll-in hot box, refrig. equipment stand, roll-in refrig.
Thermo-Kool/Mid-South Industries merchandising cooler/freezer assembly, merchandising shelving, merchandising glass-door refrig.
Federal/Standex grab-and-go case
Cal-Mil bakery display case
Hoshizaki ice maker, bin
Cambro mobile ice bin
Hobart/ITW FEG dishmachine w/booster heater
Traycon soiled dish conveyor/accumulator, rack shelf, dish table, soak sink
Salvajor TroughVeyor
Metro/Emerson shelving, mobile pan racks, dollies
Custom refrig. equipment stand, refrig. pans, pot/pan soak sink

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