New Auburn University culinary science center opens with luxury hotel, food hall, restaurant + more

Auburn University Rcsc
Views from the new Rane Center rooftop. (T2 Photography, Thomas Boutwell)

Football isn’t the only thing Auburn University (AU) has to look forward to this month, thanks to the opening of the state-of-the-art Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center (RCSC), featuring a luxury hotel and spa, restaurant, coffee shop, brewery and food hall. Read on for all the details.

A stunning new facility

A new era is about to begin for hospitality education with this groundbreaking facility that allows students to gain operational knowledge through hands-on experience.

Serving as the new home for AU’s esteemed School for Hospitality Management, this 140,000-square-foot facility is a game changer for students and Auburn residents alike. The Hey Day Market, Food Hall & Gathering Place opened earlier this month, with The Laurel Hotel & Spa and Culinary Residence to follow by the end of August.

The partnership between AU’s School of Hospitality Management and Ithaka Hospitality Partners allows students to graduate with real consumer-facing experience. The facility includes a fully operating teaching restaurant, hotel and spa that would otherwise be unavailable to them throughout the school year.

Coming up soon is a brewery, micro-distillery and food hall which opens in March 2023 and plans to feature events and activities that Auburn residents and guests can participate in.

3 things to expect

1. 1856—Culinary Residence

Auburn University Rcsc
Gaining lifelong experience. (Mason Erwin)

1856, named after the year of AU’s founding, is an upscale teaching restaraunt on the first floor of RCSC. Here, students in the University’s School of Hospitality Mangement work under the guidance of a Chef in Residence to prepare and serve an à la carte lunch menu and tasting menu during dinner service.

The inaugural Chef in Residence is Tyler Lyne, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who began his career in some of New York City’s finest restaurants before moving home to Birmingham to open Tasting TBL, a supper club, in 2020. Additonally, a wine program, service and wine appreciation coursework is led by Master Sommelier Thomas Price.

2. The Laurel Hotel & Spa

Auburn University Rcsc
A brand new luxury hotel & spa. (Heidi Geldhauser)

The Laurel Hotel & Spa is a brand-new experiential teaching hotel located inside RCSC. It’s a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts L.V.X. Collection, a group of renowned properties featuring the finest accommodations coupled with attentive, engaging and exclusive personal service.

The amenities of the hotel and spa include:

  • 16 luxurious rooms
  • 10 suites
  • 6 residences
  • World-class spa
  • Fitness studio
  • Rooftop pool, gardens + bar
  • Yoga pavilion

The spa will open on a forthcoming date, and the rooftop experience will initially open for hotel guests and residents only.

3. Hey Day Market

Auburn University Rcsc
A food hall for Auburn. (T2 Photography, Thomas Boutwell)

Hey Day Market, named after the beloved Auburn tradition, is a multi-concept food hall at RCSC. Here, nine vendors serve crowd-pleasing meals that are prepared onsite, with a focus on sustainable sourcing.

In 2023, one vendor stall act as a dedicated spot where selected Hospitality Management students can develop business concepts and get their operations off the ground. In addition, a dedicated podcast studio within the hall is available for student use and creative projects.

Opening tenants include: 

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Gabby Gervais
Gabby Gervais
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