Rathskeller Lounge replaces City Diner, students respond


Deeya Patel and Brian Thometz

Chicken tender lovers shed a collective tear this semester. City Diner, pilgrimage site for intoxicated students, is no more.

According to Heather Seaman, director of the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, Dining Services, Campus Services and the Division of Student Affairs were all involved in making the decision to convert City Diner into the Rathskeller Lounge

Rathskeller Lounge in original City Diner space

The space will hold events and Tulane After Dark programs such as movie nights featuring films just out of the theater as well as drag queen bingo. 

“We’re in our first year of [The Rathskeller Lounge] being a new space, so we are learning as we go in terms of how people envision that space and what needs need to be met,” Seaman said.

Seaman said there has been an increase in attendance in programming, citing over a hundred students attending trivia during orientation. 

“Every week we’ve still seen high attendance in programming, so in that aspect there’s been success there,” Seaman said.

Along with regular TAD programming, there is the possibility of opening the space up as a place for students to showcase their creativity on Sundays. 

“Sundays are also open lounge night, and that’s where we’re probably in the most development right now, just securing what types of activity we want to have down there,” Seaman said. “Whether it’s open-mic night, slam poetry, an acoustic artist night so a variety of things we can offer throughout the year on those Sunday nights.”

As for late-night dining options, Dining Services has introduced several options, some of which are still in the works. Right now, Zatarain’s in the LBC food court and food trucks provide options to students late at night. Zatarain’s is open Saturday through Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., and the Roulez food truck next to Pocket Park will be open from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday through Friday. 

“It’s hosted at Zatarain’s, but it’s not the Zatarain’s menu, which I think Sodexo and Dining Services is talking about to try to make even more clear. That it not just a repeat of the food court menu that’s in there during the day, but they have an exclusive late menu,” Seaman said. “I know from speaking with them that they were going to launch a late-night dining program and just see what resonates with people.” 

Students have been working to adjust to the change in dining options and say goodbye to City Diner. The Undergraduate Student Government has created a special committee designed to address late-night dining options on campus. 

“I enjoyed going there. It was the only late-night place that was open. And they had good stuff. The mozz sticks, can’t beat them,” sophomore Remy Molaison said. 

As for what Molaison turns to now for late night cravings, he has a homemade solution. 

“I make sandwiches. There’s nothing really on campus. I think Zatarain’s is open now. But it’s very random stuff, and you never really know what it’s going to be.” 

Sophomore Josh Prager said he thinks the closure of City Diner was a result of logistics. 

“It was always super packed, and they would constantly have to deal with a giant influx of kids,” Prager said. 

As students navigate new dining options, administrators are optimistic about the changes on campus. 

“I think it’ll be an interesting year to explore the Rathskeller Lounge as multipurpose programming space. Obviously we’ll have built-in programs that’ll already be happening in there, but we want usage of that space to grow,” Seaman said. “We want to find the missing piece for student organizations in terms of a programming space and offer something different. I’m really excited about the space.”  

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