After 177 years, Villanova University will mark a first: a full-service restaurant on its Radnor Township campus, opening this summer.

The private Catholic college is partnering with Greg Dodge of Zavino Hospitality Group (ZHG) on the Refectory, billed as a sophisticated yet casual 200-seat, American-theme restaurant and grill. It is intended for university staff and students as well as local residents.

The Refectory, at Lancaster and Ithan Avenues, will be set up within the Commons, the new residence hall complex that is part of a multimillion-dollar project on the site of former parking lots. Villanova’s new performing arts center, opening in early 2020, will be next door.

The Refectory’s name refers to a communal dining room at schools and monasteries.

That reference notwithstanding, the Refectory will be anything but ascetic. The design includes an 18-seat, horseshoe-shape bar accented with marbled tabletops and captain’s chairs. The dining room will have wood-finished banquettes and cedar-stained floors. A “vault room” will accommodate private parties and chef tastings.

There also will be a grab-and-go cafe run by Parliament Espresso & Coffee Bar, whose Philadelphia location is on 15th Street across from South Penn Square.

The coffee bar and the Refectory will be open seven days a week.

In a statement, the university’s president, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, said the Refectory “will create a Villanova-centric dining experience for our campus and local community.”

ZHG also operates Zavino restaurants in Washington Square West and University City, and the more posh Tredici in Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr, and Washington. Among ZHG’s other 2019 openings are Enza, an Italian restaurant in Wyndmoor; a Zavino in the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, Mo.; and a Tredici in Downingtown. Dodge also is consulting on Zagafen by Zavino in Bala Cynwyd.

Rendering of the lounge area at The Refectory at Villanova University.
COURTESY OF THE REFECTORY
Rendering of the lounge area at The Refectory at Villanova University.