Grilling up Northrop

The smells of hot dogs, bratwursts and hamburgers fill the air as the hazy summer sun beats down on Northrop Mall.

People studying, throwing flying discs or simply basking in the warmth scatter across the mall and music fills the air.

Summer’s arrival presented a welcome change for the Northrop Grill, the University Dining Service’s hot dog stand located on the north end of the mall.

The cool, wet spring not only took its toll on summer-lovers’ tans, but also hurt the grill’s sales. According to Steve Nitzberg, UDS operations manager, sales have decreased 35 percent from last year.

“In the good weather, we’ll have people lined up all the way back,” said UDS employee and education graduate student Emily Dahlquist, pointing to the steps leading up to Northrop Auditorium.

“The past few weeks, though, it’s mainly been the regulars, usually staff and faculty who come every day, no matter what weather,” added fellow UDS employee David Goretski.

But bad weather takes its toll on sales, Dahlquist said.

“We don’t have a very steady line when it’s chilly,” she said.

The Northrop Grill is open an average of 17 to 18 days a month and does not operate in rain. So far this year, the number of days UDS has operated the stand has been consistent with last year, Nitzberg said.

The grill’s hours of operation coincide with the free music offered by the summer Northrop at Noon concert series.

“I come for the free music and the grill,” said Ryan Black, a recent graduate and summer research assistant in the political science department. “I walk all the way from the West Bank for my biweekly brat fix.”

Dahlquist said the grill is busiest during concerts, which are moved indoors if rain threatens. Despite June’s wet weather, all 11 of this summer’s concerts have been held on the outdoor stage.

Cat Crosby, an English junior and Northrop Grill employee, said she doesn’t mind the cooler weather, especially on busy concert days.

“It can get really stuffy under the tent, especially when the grill is on and we’re serving lots of people,” she said.

But with the recent arrival of warmer, drier weather, the tables surrounding the stage are full and the auditorium’s steps are crowded.

A steady stream of people keeps the Northrop Grill busy, and customers devour brats and burgers as quickly as they are grilled.

Summer has finally arrived for the Northrop Grill.