Fresh Hand-Rolled Sushi Coming to Mercer Dining in Spring of 2017


Image: Jen Andrews

Sushi, like displayed in the picture above from Fresh Market, might be arriving soon in cafeterias on the Macon campus at Mercer.

Will Darragh, Staff Writer

Students who have been at Mercer in previous years may remember sushi being sold in the UC before the new POD, Panda Express and Chick-fil-A. Now, thanks to the comments of the students from online surveys, Aramark is training some of their employees to hand roll sushi to start serving in the spring semester of 2017.

Chris Lockerman, the general manager of Mercer dining, has almost 7 years of experience working for Aramark. He said that he and Chef Jeff Smith have been wanting to incorporate fresh sushi for some time now.

During lunchtime in the Fresh Food Company on December 6th and 7th, employees will be trained, and students will have a chance to come watch sushi be made and possibly even sample the items.

The frequency and times in which sushi will be served is still to be determined. Lockerman said it takes time to implement any new menu changes because Aramark must make sure that the food they serve meets the nationally regulated nutrition information on their website.

Lockerman said the sushi served is not intended to be one hundred percent authentic.

“Akin to when we do taco bars, it’s not a street taco you get in Tijuana,” Lockerman said. “It’s an American interpretation.”

He said that they aim to give students new experiences and tastes.

Self-described sushi lover Jenna Bruck, freshman, discovered that sushi would be coming to Mercer in an email sent out by the Student Government Association

“I’m going to be really excited until further notice. I can decide if I’m unhappy once I taste it, but for now I’m optimistic,” Bruck said.

I’m going to be really excited until further notice. I can decide if I’m unhappy once I taste it, but for now I’m optimistic.”

— Jenna Bruck

Bruck is an Asian-American student who grew up in a neighborhood with a large Asian-American population. Though the sushi served at most restaurants, and likely the sushi served at Mercer, is not necessarily true to the roots of the cuisine, she feels that it is still good to expose people to foreign food.

“I think it’s good because it exposes people to something they might not normally try. You can’t always get authentic food. It’s good to try new things despite how Americanized things may be,” Bruck said.

Though she doesn’t feel that the dining options are perfect, she approves of the efforts of SGA and Mercer dining. “I’m glad that they want to give us choices.”

Olivia Buckner, SGA junior class president and chair of the Contract Services Committee which works with Aramark, said that her committee met with Lockerman and other employees to promote the sushi idea along with other changes.

Some recent changes to enact after Fall break are changes to what students can get for a meal swipe at Chick-fil-A. Students will now be able to substitute fruit for fries and get a spicy chicken sandwich meal or chicken biscuit meal as a swipe. Hot breakfast in the Caf is now extended to 10:15 a.m., and new fruits are being added to the salad bar.

SGA is still working to add healthier options to the vending machines and add more vegan options in the food locations.

“Mercer Dining is always looking to improve, and our committee is open to any suggestions,” Buckner said.

Anyone who has suggestion for Mercer dining should talk to their SGA representative about making the change.

“Everything stems from student requests,” Lockerman said.