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Release: June 8, 2000

UI's State Room will change format to focus on special events

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The State Room, the fine dining restaurant at the Iowa Memorial Union, will change its mode of operation beginning July 1. Instead of offering a lunch and dinner menu service, the restaurant will focus on special events, including a new prime rib buffet following Iowa football games.

The new format will offer a continuation of the popular Szathmary Culinary Dinner Series, along with special dinners for Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, Mother's Day, and a number of dinners preceding events at Hancher Auditorium. The facility will also be available for use for private banquets, parties and receptions.

"We are proud and honored that the State Room was able to achieve an excellent reputation for quality dining, but we have found that there is insufficient activity to support regular service," said Greg Black, manager of IMU Food Services. "This is the case with fine dining restaurants on campuses across the country, not just at the University of Iowa."

The State Room has seen a substantial decrease in the overall number of patrons served, Black noted. From 1998 to 1999, customer counts dropped by 45 percent.

The change in operations will save about $85,000 a year, Black said. "Given the current situation with university funding, we feel an obligation to contribute to reducing expenses. The surveys we've done over the past two years with faculty, staff and students indicate that this is a way to save money that also conforms with the kinds of service people want us to provide."

The change in operation will not affect catering services offered by the IMU. No jobs will be lost. The State Room's one full-time employee and all student employees will be absorbed into other IMU Food Services jobs.

"State Room patrons will be pleased to know that John Moloney, the State Room chef, will be remaining with IMU Food Services," Black noted. "John's culinary talents will continue to be enjoyed in the State Room's scheduled events as well as in the IMU's extensive banquet and catering operations."

The change in the State Room's format also follows the development of an IMU food service master plan, which is part of an overall plan for major renovations that will take place in the IMU over the next three to five years. As part of that renovation, tentative plans call for relocating the State Room's upscale food service in a more casual environment, possibly in rooms facing the Iowa River, Black said.

In its more than 30 years of existence, the State Room has been recognized a number of times as one of the best restaurants in Iowa City and in the state. Awards won by the State Room include

Best Wine List, National Restaurant Association Menu Awards, and the Restaurant and Institution Ivy Award of Distinction.

State Room
Calendar of Events


7 Thursday Szathmary Dinner Series -- Foods from India
8 Friday Pre-Hancher -- Cuisine of India
9 Saturday Football Prime Rib Buffet
15 Friday Pre-Hancher Zap Mama -- African/French Menu


7 Saturday Football Prime Rib Buffet
21 Saturday Football Prime Rib Buffet
28 Saturday Football Prime Rib Buffet


11 Saturday Football Prime Rib Buffet
16 Thursday Szathmary Dinner Series
17 Friday Beaujolais Country French Dinner
18 Saturday Beaujolais Country French Dinner


1 Friday Dickens Holiday Dinner
2 Saturday Dickens Holiday Dinner
8 Friday Dickens Holiday Dinner
9 Saturday Dickens Holiday Dinner


26 Friday Pre-Hancher Lincoln Center -- New York Menu
27 Saturday Pre-Hancher Lincoln Center -- New York Menu


14 Wednesday Valentine Dinner
23 Friday Szathmary Dinner Series -- Japanese Menu
24 Saturday Pre-Hancher Kodo -- Japanese Menu
27 Tuesday Mardi Gras


2 Friday Pre-Hancher "Chicago" Menu
3 Saturday Pre-Hancher "Chicago" Menu


12 Thursday Szathmary Dinner Series -- Return to the Bakery
13 Friday Pre-Hancher Joffrey Ballet
14 Saturday Pre-Hancher Joffrey Ballet


11 Friday Graduation Dinner
12 Saturday Graduation Lunch and Dinner
13 Sunday Mother's Day Brunch