The Barn welcomed diners for the first time in two years Monday, reopening to students, staff, and faculty members eager to see the renovated and expanded facility.
Manjing Gao, a sociology graduate student, was among the first customers to order food. She said the Barn was a regular hangout for her and her fellow students before it closed for the improvements.
“It’s amazing,” she said of the changes. “I like the renovations, the new space, and the outdoor space.”
As part of a soft opening, the Barn is only open for takeout and outdoor dining in line with state and local guidelines requiring social distancing.
The 18,500-square-foot facility, triple the size of the original Barn, has two outdoor patios with plenty of dining space where a lunch crowd enjoyed menu items including smoked salmon, Hawaiian barbecued chicken, burgers, and fried chicken sandwiches.
The Patio Bar, which features a walk-up window, served beer and wine, including two signature citrus-infused craft beers brewed with citrus picked from the Givaudan Citrus Variety Collection at UCR. During happy hour, from 3 to 6 p.m., its Barn Bites appetizers will be half price.
For some visitors, the opening provided an opportunity to return to campus for the first time in months and visit a favorite dining spot.
“It feels like ages ago,” said Flip Tanedo, an assistant professor of theoretical physics, who was joined for lunch by his colleague, Michael Anderson, an associate professor of physics instruction.
Tanedo said he’s looking forward to seeing live music performances at the Barn.
The expanded facility has an outdoor stage that will host concerts and other events when it is safe to do so.
Ted Garland, a professor of evolution, ecology, and organismal biology, said it’s been a long wait for the reopening.
“It’s great to have it open again,” he said. “A lot of good campus happenings take place after work hours here and I think it’s good for the campus.”
The Barn is open 11:30 a.m.- 7 p.m. during the summer. Paid parking, purchased through the ParkMobile app, is available at Lot 4, which has 40 spaces near the Barn. For more information go the Barn website or check its Instagram feed @thebarnucr.