Friday, October 7, 2011

Rex's Den: Past, Present & Future

Hi! My name is Malcolm Wong and I am currently in my fifth year at UTSC. Instead of telling you a long-winded albeit true story of how I became what I am today and why. I'm going to keep my mini-autobiography short and sweet. Basically all you need to know is that I am a huge proponent of Campus Life and seeking the ultimate university experience. I’ve been termed a social butterfly and loved being engaged in people and the community. If you want to know more about me or have the latest updates follow me @malcolmwong1 on twitter! Each week you can expect a post about my own personal experience and insights to the university experience and campus life.

The Bluffs. Most of you are thinking "what?" - I assure you I'm a professional and I know what I'm doing. It was the name of our campus restaurant before it closed and reopened as Rex's Den. The Bluffs is a name that only a few students even remember and fewer remember actually eating there. There were 3 things that stood out about the Bluffs - The emptiness, the not-so-student-friendly prices and the food. Getting a table at the bluffs was never a difficult task as the restaurant was usually empty and sitting there was free - although eating there was another story. If you were willing to spend the money you got a very good meal. When I say "a very good meal" I really mean the food was divine. Despite the great food, it failed to attract students which led to its demise.
When the restaurant was reopened under the name Rex's Den it only did slightly better than the Bluffs because of the lower prices despite the drop in food quality, poor customer service and the lack of alcohol. Needless to say Rex's Den was a work in progress and it very much still is. I can still remember a time when Rex's Den was just another food option on campus if you were tired of eating Subway.
I give a lot of credit to the Rex's Den managers, the past Vice-President Campus Life Matthew Zajch and other student leaders for really working hard on promoting and changing students’ impressions and attitudes towards the restaurant. I really believe if it wasn't for their hard work Rex's Den wouldn't be what it is today. With the addition of pool tables, beer on tap, cheaper prices and better food quality Rex's Den has come a long way from the dismal years as the Bluffs.

Now, I wouldn’t go ahead and say that Rex’s Den is not a bona fide student hangout or a hub of student activity nor would I say that it’s “just another food option”. I’d say it’s in transition from the latter. There are many problems that plague Rex’s Den from completing the transition. For instance, the service in a word-- sucks. The kitchen is slow and the wait staff is inattentive at best. I’ve seen students leaving the restaurant in frustration after 40-60 minutes because their food hasn’t arrived or contemplating dining and dashing because they’ve been waiting 30 minutes for their bills (I’ve personally experienced this).  

Please note: I’m not a hater – I’m just calling as I see it. I do give credit to the Rex’s Den for recognizing this problem and working hard to remedy the situation through hiring more staff for the back of house and the front. Despite their hard work, it's true what they say: You only get one chance to make a first impression. But don’t despair Rex – people love a rise to glory more than a first impression! 

Let me end of this post by saying that Rex’s Den has come a long way but still has a ways to go. With its redeeming qualities such as free pool, fresh delicious food in a generous quantity and an average bill of $7, Rex’s Den is well on its way to becoming the place to be on campus and not just another food option. Not to mention the variety of daily specials and special events by students that take place at Rex’s Den. It is because of these qualities that I find myself at Rex’s Den everyday – literally, just ask the staff.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself there more and more as the school year progresses.

In the comment section below let me know your thoughts, experience at Rex’s Den or things you would like to see at YOUR campus pub. Also, don’t forget to subscribe and follow @malcolmwong1 on twitter!


  1. This is so true I waited 40 minutes for my meal :(
    It was delicious and a good size meal though :)

  2. Bluffs was awesome! SCSU should have stayed out of it


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