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Ayers and Eggs, UR's New Prez Settles in


President Ronald Regan kept handy a dish of jelly beans for guests as a nod to his gut's guilty pleasure. It'd probably prove far less practical for incoming University of Richmond President Edward L. Ayers to keep his favorite nosh similarly handy for snacking at his desk.

Ayers, who was announced last week as UR's ninth president, says among other reasons to love his soon-to-be adopted town, that he digs Richmond's endless variety of local restaurants. In particular he digs Fan district favorite Kuba Kuba.

"My favorite dish? I don't remember what it's called," Ayers says. "It's something very large, the thing with the beans — with an egg on top."

Hmmm, eggs … that'd probably be the huevos rancheros, says Kuba Kuba owner and chef Manny Mendez. "It's red beans, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, toast, enchilada sauce and chilies — and then a fresh vegetable garnish," he says. And of course there's the egg.

Tums, anyone?

The dish may sound like mush to a certain former UR president, but it's plenty popular, Mendez says: "We do a lot of 'em — it fills you up for the day."

Ayers, whose casual manner and youthful face are emphasized by dark curls and an easy grin, may require frequent doses of huevos rancheros to keep up his proposed schedule once he assumes presidential duties next July. For more than 20 years he has been a popular professor at the University of Virginia, and since 2001 has been dean of arts and sciences. He says he plans to continue his commitment to the classroom even as he assumes the mantle of leadership.

"I made that clear to the board [of trustees] that I'll be a teacher too," he says, calling his plans to remain a classroom presence important to maintaining ties with students. S

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