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Saint Mary’s campus dining undergoes changes at start of school year

| Thursday, August 29, 2019

A new year on campus brings many new experiences. At Saint Mary’s, campus dining has undergone a number of changes. For example, the establishment formerly known as Cyber Cafe will now be rebranded as the 1844 Grill.

Sodexo’s Field Marketing Coordinator Megan Briegel explained that a change of amenities in the restaurant led in part to the name change.

“Cyber originally had computers for students to be able to work on papers and print stuff out,” Briegel said. “Once we got rid of the computers and put in the store the name just didn’t really fit the location anymore, so we went with the 1844 grill since it was the year the school was founded, and we know students love having a grill on campus, so we wanted to emphasize that as well.”

However, the name is not the only thing changing. There are many new items in the store in addition to new healthier menu items such as salads, fish tacos, a spicy Italian grinder and more.

“This year we have three new Starbucks items which we are super excited about,” Briegel said. “We now have a Frappuccino, refreshers and cold brew.”

The dining hall is also undergoing changes with continuous dining hours and more menu variations trying to incorporate more mindful and healthier options.

“We are trying to do some more authentic foods because that was a big thing we heard from students was a call for more authentic international cuisine rather than Americanized versions,” Briegel said.

Sodexo district manager Donna Picklesimer oversees operations at seven schools including Saint Mary’s as of this past week. Picklesimer is charged with figuring out differences in food preferences between the schools in order to customize a menu.

“Salad bars are important everywhere, but I think it is more so here as a result of being an all-women’s college,” Picklesimer said. “One thing that is not different at any college is chicken nuggets, they are hugely popular at all campuses.”

Picklesimer is also hoping that the simple servings station within the dining hall will attract more interest.

“This station gets its name because it doesn’t use all the creams and sauces and it is all cooked without the top eight allergens and is not just for people with allergy issues,” she said.

Sophomore Rose Stackhouse, a student-athlete, said she has been pleasantly surprised with the new options in the dining hall.

“As a student-athlete I find it very important to have healthy options on campus,” she said. “I am especially excited about the new types of lettuce on the salad bar and have been impressed with the changes I am seeing.”

Another change is the departure of former Sodexo general manager Kenneth Acosta, who had to step down from his position this year because of personal reasons. The College is looking for someone to fill his position.

“We are really wanting to take our time and find the right person who knows Saint Mary’s and is invested in the students, community and dining program,” Briegel said. “Ken left big shoes to fill and we will all miss him very dearly.”

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