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Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
The Observer

Gipper’s ghost kitchen provides late-night dining on campus

Got a late-night craving? On Notre Dame's campus, a culinary revolution has been sizzling beneath the surface.

Gipper’s Late Night Kitchen is Notre Dame’s one-of-a-kind ghost kitchen. Although located in the heart of South Dining Hall, students would likely never visit the restaurant to indulge in the food. Breaking away from the traditional dining experience, Gipper’s operates employing the Grubhub robots only. 

Luigi Alberganti, the executive director of Campus Dining at Notre Dame, played a crucial role in the development of this concept. 

“We did a couple of trial runs in the summer,” Alberganti said. “It was heartwarming to see that one of the students actually remembered us from the summer. I was very very happy to see that Gipper’s was back on.” 

Gipper’s hours of operation line up with times of high demand, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

“It is programmed to be a late-night dining experience. You could be at your dorm or your friend’s dorm and you put it on your phone and something will be delivered to your dorm coming from this kitchen,” Alberganti said. 

Gipper’s Late Night Kitchen sought feedback from its main customers — the students — which Alberganti said was positive.

Even though Taco Bell is open on late nights, Alberganti said he felt “there was a void in student’s additional late-night foods.”

“Pizza, ice cream, wings and cookies all go together,” he said, referencing the dining options at Gipper's.

Often, students only hear about Gipper’s through word of mouth or if they spend hours on Grubhub.

“The concept of a ghost kitchen is not necessarily something that you promote a lot. It evokes curiosity,” Alberganti explained. “Part of the concept is not to promote it. It’s student-driven and just for the students. The word goes around in the community.”

Alberganti said the most sold item is the pepperoni pizza. Unlike other pizza options on the Notre Dame campus, the pizza that Gipper’s provides is Detroit-styled with crunchy edges and cheese. It is paired with homemade gelato and homemade cookies.

Currently, the operation of Gipper’s is being monitored by the Campus Dining leadership team. If the volume of orders warrants it, they plan to expand.

“The demand has been high. I think the concept is great and the quality of the product is really good, very unique,” Alberganti said. He added that Gipper's is a safer option as students prefer to order from campus rather than dealing with all the complications of an off-campus order.

Alberganti said word about Gipper's has spread within the dorms.

“When you see an order to a dorm, you’ll see another order to the same dorm, proving that they’re all talking to each other about Gipper’s,” Alberganti said. “It was fun to see.”