The Dish on New Dining Options
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After dealing with limited food choices for years, many returning students were happy to welcome the new on-campus dining options. While I may be among the population of those singing the restaurants’ praises, I believe there are still some issues that need to be addressed. Let me give you the dish.
Farmer’s Market, located in the UC, is a great place to start. This dining option has drummed up a steady flow of customers since its opening. Much of its popularity may be credited to the variation in menu items and the pristine decoration of the eatery. This, in combination with the store’s marketing towards millennials, has contributed to the Farmer’s Market’s popularity among students. But this eatery certainly isn’t without its faults. The short hours, a measly 11-3 p.m., are certainly the most glaring issue of Farmer’s Market. Meant to combat the usual lunch rush at the caf, these short hours lend themselves towards creating an environment that seems hectic and cramped. This leads to a lack of seating, which causes a distraction from what might be considered a dynamic menu. That brings me to my second grievance.
Perhaps Farmer’s Market should be placed in quotes because, though officials claim to be working on acquiring locally sourced produce from small-scale farmers, they are seemingly using the same suppliers that furnish the caf’s menu, which causes me to believe this dining option is just an overly-glorified version of the Fresh Food Company. I will say, however, that my recent visits to Farmer’s Market have not left me disappointed. My favorite option thus far has been the vegetable soup, which definitely packs a punch. The smoothie bar is equally as impressive. Boasting a menu with generally tasty options and offering a pleasant atmosphere, Farmer’s Market is an enjoyable alternative to its cousin, the caf.
Einstein Bros Bagels
Located on the first floor of the Tarver Library, Einstein’s is easily my newest guilty pleasure. The bagel shop’s extensive menu, combined with its cozy atmosphere, make this location an ideal spot for catching up on homework or chatting with friends. If you’re someone who has trouble working in quiet spaces such as your dorm or the library, Einstein’s might offer you a great alternative for study time. I know I tend to work better with a strawberry banana smoothie nearby.
My complaints with Einstein’s have less to do with the cosmetic and more to do with the operation. If you’ve ever walked through the store’s doors during busy hours, maybe you agree. The lines are often outrageous. The employees are less than enthusiastic and they routinely seem to rush customers through their orders. I have also visited on more than one occasion, just to find that Einstein’s has run out of whatever I had planned to order. This is understandable seeing as the store hasn’t been open long enough to track students’ preferences and adjust accordingly for truck delivery. Hopefully this will be remedied sometime in the future.
Though I believe that both of Mercer’s new dining options have plenty of room for adjustment, I am overall pleased with the choices each eatery has to offer students. Einstein Bros and Farmer’s Market have added much needed variety and flavor to Mercer’s campus. Don’t be afraid to dig in.