Binghamton University students with a sweet tooth or certain dietary needs can now get their fix at the Marketplace’s newest station, Sweets and Eats.
Since its opening less than two weeks ago, Sweets and Eats has provided students with a variety of food, including hot breakfast sandwiches, pastries and coffee until 10:30 a.m. After that time, the station serves milkshakes, ice cream sundaes and gluten-free and vegan grab-and-go sandwiches and wraps.
According to Joe Evangelisti, a senior majoring in human development, having the option to purchase snacks in the Marketplace is novel.
“A lot of the time I want food from the Marketplace, but I don’t always want 10 pounds of Chinese food,” Evangelisti said.
After the University’s new Dunkin’ Donuts opened in the Tillman Lobby of University Union, Megan Gorski, retail manager for Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS), and Kara Perez, retail executive chef for BUDS, said they were left wondering what could replace the Marketplace’s Bearcat Cafe without doing any major construction during the semester.
“Someone suggested Marketplace Express with a larger grab-and-go selection,” Gorski wrote in an email. “That’s when we decided to do more of a specialty grab-and-go selection looking more at the gluten-free and vegan options.”
Although an idea was already in place, Gorski said she didn’t think the plan was complete.
“We talked about bakery products highlighting our on campus bakery and then Kara said ‘What about ice cream?’” Gorski wrote. “We finally decided on several specialty shakes and sundaes along with fresh bakery products.”
With the assistance of equipment from the Hershey Creamery Company and the BUDS marketing team, the vision came to life in the form of Sweets and Eats, a name the BUDS staff said they felt best encompassed the variety available.
Tom LaSarso, general manager of retail operations for BUDS, said he thought bringing desserts, baked goods and grab-and-go items to the Marketplace just made sense.
“With the closing of We Proudly Brew Starbucks, the option was wide open for us to create something unique for the remainder of the semester,” LaSarso wrote in an email. “Without an exhaust system at this location, what could we implement that required no cooking.”
Since its opening on Sept. 25, Sweets and Eats has been met with positive reception, LaSarso wrote. The milkshakes, he said, are among the most popular items bought because of the hot weather that coincided with Sweets and Eats’ opening week.
While some students may enjoy milkshakes on hot days, Katie Murphy, a junior majoring in psychology, said she feels the special options Sweets and Eats offers makes it a fitting addition to the Marketplace.
“I didn’t know they had vegan stuff,” Murphy said. “I think that’s really cool because that’s a new trend that’s going on. I think if people were more aware of what they had to offer, a lot more people would be interested in trying it.”
The BUDS team said they thought that supplying vegan and gluten-free food at Sweets and Eats was important because no other Marketplace station has such options.
“The MarketPlace is not a gluten-free environment, so it was often difficult to meet [students’] needs successfully,” LaSarso wrote. “By providing these pre-made options, we can offer a viable solution.”
Sweets and Eats is open every weekday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.