Kelly Connor

Haines Food Court made the decision to hold off on Tuffy’s grand re-opening until the renovations were complete and the cafe was fully operational.

In case you haven’t had a chance to try a toasted roll or mix-in ice cream, Tuffy’s grand re-opening will be the perfect excuse.

Tuffy’s will be celebrating its grand re-opening Thursday with festivities including a variety of games, drawings and complimentary samples, which will begin at 5 p.m. and last until 10 p.m.

Tina Rotundo, executive manager of Haines Food Court, and Chris Pirigyi, general manager of the Shriver Center, will be running the event.

According to Rotundo, even though Tuffy’s was open at the beginning of the school year, the decision to hold off on the grand re-opening is a result of waiting for everything to finally come together.

“Basically, we wanted to work out all of the kinks and make sure everything was running correctly before we had the grand opening,” Rotundo said. “It has always been in the plans, but we wanted to make sure that everyone was trained.”

Pirigyi also added that waiting for the new Swoop, Miami’s mascot, was an important factor as Tuffy’s grand re-opening will mark the birthday of the new and improved Swoop.

Pirigyi also said that having Dan Young, a Miami alumnus whose company, Young’s Dairy, provides all of the ice cream for Tuffy’s, present for the opening is crucial.

“(Dan) is such a good man and he gives us a very fair price on the ice cream,” Rotundo said.

With the wide variety of ice cream choices at Tuffy’s business can be hectic, according to Rotundo. However, Pirigyi said that Young is very accommodating and an individual with whom he is easily able to work.

“He even made us the specialized cake batter,” Pirigyi said.

Pirigyi said that Dec. 6 was one of the first nights that Young’s schedule was compatible with the Thursday evening entertainment at Shriver.

“We are very excited that Dan will be able to celebrate this occasion with us,” Rotundo said.

According to Rotundo, other familiar faces will also be in attendance Thursday evening, including players from the Miami hockey team and Head Coach Enrico Blasi. There will also be an air hockey tournament along with a drawing for four club seat tickets to the University of Nebraska and Miami hockey game donated by athletics that will take place in January-Coach Blasi will draw the winning tickets at 8:09 p.m.

“A drawing for Miami hockey tickets is a great idea,” junior Megan Hannigan said. “While I do love to stand in line and wait for a ticket, having four tickets readily available would be a great change.”

Hannigan, who enjoys Miami hockey, said that having the players, coach and drawings for the grand re-opening of Tuffy’s will increase the likelihood of her attending.

Continuing with the hockey theme, there will also be a drawing for a half time ride on the Zamboni. The winner will have the opportunity to ride and also select the song that will play as he or she glides across the ice.

“Of course the song will have to be approved,” added Rotundo, laughing.

Since one of the major additions to the new Tuffy’s is the ice cream, and the grand re-opening will feature free ice cream as well as free coffee.

Rotundo said that other improvements made to Tuffy’s include a wider selection of coffee flavors, more room for workers behind the counter and an easy-access setup for customers.

Both Rotundo and Pirigyi are enthusiastic about the grand re-opening of Tuffy’s as they see it as great for Thursday evening entertainment at the Shriver Center.

“We were able to use the trust fund, set up by Robert and Dorothy Haines, to purchase the air hockey tables,” Rotundo said. “Now that we own the tables, we will be using them for events like (the grand re-opening) in the future.”

According to Rotundo, there is not enough room to keep the tables out all of the time, but they will be brought out for certain events, such as Thursday night activities in Shriver.