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By Michael Czobit

If only one adjective could be used to describe the Ram in the Rye, it’s “new”: new look, new hours, new menu — and new prices.

Fourth-year engineering students Shahrzad Parandeh, 21, and Sam Ataei, 25, approve of the Ram in the Rye’s facelift.

“It’s better than before. The food is better and the place looks better,” says Parandeh.

An estimated $500,000 was spent renovating and expanding the pub.

An outdoor patio was built, new menu items introduced and Saturday hours were extended.

Some prices on the menu have increased, but Parandeh and Ataei still think the cost of food and drinks is fair.

They say they now go to the Ram in the Rye once a week, more often than before its makeover.

Other students have made the Ram in the Rye their regular hangout as well.

During the first week of classes, the patio was often full.

With no shortage of customers — and a capacity of 275 people –waiting for service is one thing Parandeh and Ataei don’t like about the pub.

“We sat for 40 minutes to get someone to bring us a menu,” Ataei says, adding they waited another hour for their food.

With all that waiting, the pair discovered another thing that irks them about the pub — the lack of television screens.

Rob Emerson, general manager of the Student Campus Centre, says he plans to reduce the waiting time by hiring an additional 10 to 20 staff members at the Ram in the Rye.

Emerson says being understaffed during the first week of classes has only been a marginal problem for the pub.

He says the pub introduced a new menu because it is competing with many other restaurants and pubs around Ryerson.

“The old one had simple meal options. I didn’t see anything on the menu I couldn’t get in a good hockey arena,” he says.

And another thing a good hockey arena has is television.

Not to be outdone, the Ram in the Rye will have five HDTV flat panel television sets by the end of the week.

At a mere cost of $14,000, they should satisfy regulars like Parandeh and Ataei.

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