It’s been a long year and a half, but we’ve finally, or almost finally, made it. The University Union Food Court is expected to open at the beginning of the spring semester, but was it worth the wait? It’s shinier, fancier and certainly bigger. Actually, it’s pretty exciting. But is it as good as it could have been? We’re not so sure.
The old Food Court, for freshmen and sophomores who haven’t experienced its glory, was a mecca of fine dining. Just ask upperclassmen, they’ll tell you. The Food Court was veritably our campus’ central watering hole, a social and culinary hot spot.
There was a salad bar, an incredible pasta bar, SubConnection and Mein Bowl. The last two of these will be making a comeback. But more importantly, there were name brands, like Taco Bell, Freshens and a questionably safe Sbarro.
The New Union doesn’t have any name brands for food, save Red Mango and Pandini’s.
Instead, come January, students can expect a variety of food stations striving their best to conceal their true nature as Sodexo knockoffs. It’ll essentially be Newing College 2.0: a lot of promises and no reward.
Sure, there’s going to be a 24-hour Starbucks five days a week. Great. Plus, Red Mango is delicious and oh so trendy. But frozen yogurt and coffee aren’t going to cut it. We’re getting refined and rebranded versions of Sodexo options already available, and that simply doesn’t make sense. We don’t need exclusively name-brand food options, but having so few, especially considering the jump to 12 full stations, isn’t a step up from the old Food Court. If anything, it’s a missed opportunity.
Colleges traditionally have household name food options on campus, and even if they also have traditional dining halls, it’s important to have both. Visit any other school and check out the food courts there. You’ll see the franchises we’re comfortable with. It’s not as though we can expect the Sodexo offerings in the new Food Court to be all that much healthier than your standard Chipotle or Moe’s Southwest Grill.
If we’re going to mix it up and stray from the classic college food court, why not support a local place? Did anybody contact Moghul instead of settling for Sodexo’s Cafe Spice?
The Food Court on our campus was the social hub it was because it was the only place on campus for students to turn to when we got sick of the Sodexo diet.
We’ve waited almost two years, and our payoff, though exciting and gorgeous, isn’t enough.