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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee-Knoxville College of Human Ecology has given the phrase “first class restaurant” a new meaning.

 Seniors in the college’s restaurant and hotel management program get class credit for operating an upscale restaurant in 102 Jesse Harris Building.

 Dr. Carol Costello, a UT-Knoxville human ecology associate professor, said students must create a new restaurant theme, decor and menu each week for the semester.

 Costello said students take turns managing, waiting tables, cooking, negotiating with suppliers, ensuring regulations are met, and other duties on $300 per week. Financial support is provided by the Lebanon, Tenn.-based Cracker Barrel restaurant chain, she said.

 “Students do everything from renting linens to scheduling musicians for entertainment to setting up decorations,” Costello said. “They get so much out of this. It really develops their organizational skills and makes them feel responsible.”

 Class-designed motifs include Irish, Southwestern, international, Cajun and seasonal themes, Costello said.

 Typical fare includes stuffed pork loin with apricots, pecans and garlic potatoes; asparagus spears in tarragon sauce, and baked meringue with fresh strawberries and raspberries.

 Once weekly, invited customers pay $6 for a full-blown dining experience. Patrons include the UT Board of Trustees, university administrators and local business leaders.

“The customers always get their money’s worth,” Costello said. “We’ve never had a failure. The students keep it within the budget and the food has been spectacular.

 “They have done a fabulous job and we are exceptionally proud of them.”


 Contact: Dr.Carol Costello (423-974-6241)