While the Trail Room, affectionately referred to as the Troom, has remained closed for the 2020-21 school year, new reports have revealed that, in conjunction with Bon Appétit, the Trail Room has actually been in the process of being transformed into a Rainforest Cafe.
“It is our intention that by the end of this school year, the Trail Room will be completely renovated, as a Rainforest Cafe is being built to fill the space,” a March 29 email from Bon Appétit head Cat Griffin read.
The decision came as a result of a partnership between Lewis & Clark and Rainforest Cafe. In return for allowing a restaurant to be built on campus, Rainforest Cafe is willing to provide live animals in the rainforest displays. The hope is that the restaurant will allow students to connect with wildlife in their everyday lives.
“With many study abroad programs up in the air, we really wanted to make sure students would still have some way of experiencing ecosystems outside our campus bubble,” Raven Blanchard of the Overseas & Off-Campus Programs office said.
Students have expressed a mix of concern and excitement about the new restaurant.
“I am not sure it is super ethical to keep an elephant in the same enclosure as a gorilla and a crocodile, all while inside Templeton,” Birdie Connor ’22, a biology major, said. “But, I digress. I will miss Troom pizza, but anything’s better than burgers every single day.”
Leonard Geoffreys ’24, a student worker at the Bon, was allowed a special opportunity to tour the construction site. According to him, “there were tree frogs everywhere.”
“Hopefully now I will be able to eat something other than beans from the Bon,” Geoffreys said. “And I can do it in the comforting ambiance of a rainforest. It is like a perfect little escape on campus.”
Other rumors suggest that when the restaurant opens in Fall 2021, President Vim Vievel will greet students while wearing a frog costume, and the animal enclosures will function as a petting zoo. Nothing has been confirmed, though the mailroom reported that a package from Adult Costumes Inc. was delivered specially to Vievel’s mailbox.
The news has raised questions regarding meal plans, and the potential concern that the Bon will not be able to keep up with the competition, leading to a potential loss on Bon Appétit’s part.
“Unfortunately, given that the Rainforest Cafe is a third party company, dining is not supported by Lewis & Clark meal plans,” Griffin said. “However, students can purchase Jungle Points, in bundles of 50 points for $50, that will allow them to eat at Rainforest Cafe up to two times a week.”