When the Charcoal Room opened for business this week on the campus
of The University of Southern Mississippi, it was under new management.
Picayune native Thomas Smith, manager, will
oversee day-to-day operations that include food preparation, facilities,
inventories and staff for the student-run restaurant. Dr. Johye
Hwang, assistant professor of tourism management, teaches two laboratory
classes which provide staff for the restaurant, and she oversees
the front-of-house operations.
The Charcoal Room resumed its fall operating
schedule on Sept. 20. The restaurant is open to the public from
11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. each Tuesday-Thursday. For details,
call (601) 266-5562.
Smith is no stranger to the Charcoal Room as
he worked there for three semesters as a student before receiving
his bachelor’s degree in hospitality management in May. For
the past year Smith has served as the sous-chef at Hattiesburg’s
Lake Terrace Convention Center. He previously worked in a variety
of roles, including manager at Cucos Mexican Café in Hattiesburg.
A graduate of Pearl River Community College, Smith also worked as
assistant P.G.A. golf professional at the Pinewood Country Club
in Slidell, La.
Hwang, a native of Korea, holds a doctorate
from Pennsylvania State University’s School of Hospitality
Management. She also holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees
from Seoul National University in Korea.
She has experience in hospitality operations
management as well as food production and service management. In
addition to her previous experience as an instructor and research
assistant at Penn State, Hwang also has industry experience as a
dietitian for Samsung Medical Center and assistant manager of Café
Demitasse in Seoul, Korea.
The Charcoal Room operates under the auspices
of the College of Business and is an academic laboratory where Restaurant
Management and Nutrition and Dietetics students get hands-on food
service experience. It is located on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg
campus behind Vann Hall just off Fourth Street.