Campus Dining Diversifies: New Dining Options On Campus Open and Expand

Photo by Matt Nash.

Campus has been looking fruitful with the new dining options added this year.

New cafés, such as Element 93 in Wooster, Starbucks at Parker Theater and recently-expanded Nester’s in the Student Union, provide students with more options than just Hasbrouck.

Ryan Goodwin, general manager of on-site service solutions for Sodexo, said the campus wanted to develop a menu that represented what the students wanted – local beef, cage-free locally grown eggs and healthier options.

Element 93 is known for serving  food made on the premises, such as their salad dressings. Goodwin explained the thought behind the café was to mimic what is being served in town. Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS) decided to make food from scratch and “have good food that makes students happy every day.”

“This concept is not done anywhere else in the country,” Goodwin said. “We wanted to give students another option to stay on campus, have a good meal and not have to walk all the way to town to spend their own money.”

Some of the new cafés added vegan and gluten-free options to campus. The recently opened Starbucks at Parker Theater serves gluten-free snacks such  as tortilla and vegan kale chips.

Although there have been new additions, there were also some closings. Students have expressed their disappointment regarding the closing of Oscar’s, which has been compromised with the expansion of Nester’s. Oscar’s was a late night option in Hasbrouck that sold fan favorites, such as ice cream, coffee, fries, sandwiches, paninis, pasta, Crazy Bowlz and cheesesteaks; pasta options have also been completely moved to Pomodoro’s as a result of the Nester’s expansion.

CAS found that moving Crazy Bowlz to Nester’s has made the station much busier than when it was in Oscar’s. It gets crowded so quickly that Goodwin has to figure out how to get people in and out faster.

“Students love Crazy Bowlz almost to the point where we have to fix how they serve the customer,” Goodwin said. “Their Latin food options represent the restaurant they have in Kingston.”

Maddy del Caño, a second-year French and public relations major, is pleased with the new dining options. Her favorite café is Element 93, where she goes almost every day for breakfast.

“I love Element 93 for their salads and egg sandwiches, but I’m disappointed Oscar’s isn’t open anymore because I live in Crispell and it was in very close proximity,” she said.

As an avid coffee consumer, she is also excited about Starbucks opening at Parker Theater.

On the contrary, Joe Abel, a fourth-year computer engineering major, is not a coffee drinker and does not believe it’s necessary to have a second Starbucks on campus.

“People on campus are only excited for Starbucks opening in Parker because of fall and their pumpkin spice lattes,” Abel said.

Abel would like to see Starbucks in the Student Union turned into something else, such as a Greek food option, while del Caño would like the campus to bring back Café Spice, a café that served Indian food.

Goodwin and CAS are constantly working to make campus food even better. He said their next step is to open a bakery where Oscar’s used to be.

“The team and our managers work really hard to tweak recipes and make everyone happy,” Goodwin said. “It’s been a success so far.”