The Ring-tum Phi

New year, new me(nu)

Coleman Martinson

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With a new year comes many new changes both on and off campus. More students in first-year dorms and the new E-Sports House are among some of the subtle differences. However, one change many students noticed almost immediately when they arrived back on campus is the new menu at the popular dining facility,  the E-Cafe, also known as Hillel due to its location in the Hillel House.

When many students think of Hillel, they think of the great food and the even better atmosphere. “I think of a great place to study when I think of Hillel,” Annie Talton, ‘21, said. “Great food, and great bagels.”

The new menu consists of new salads and smoothies, sandwiches on bagels, as well as other small menu changes that have gone largely unnoticed. The biggest difference overall, however, is one that is leaving some students emotionally jarred: the disappearance of the Generals Grilled Cheese.

The school-famous grilled cheese was the epitome of comfort food. It contained three simple ingredients: cheese, mushrooms and grilled onions. The combination of these three simple ingredients onto a bagel  and warmed in an oven should not have been as delicious as it was, and now it’s gone.

“You can’t go wrong with the grilled cheese,” Taylor Thiessen, ‘21, said, adding that Dining Services “should not have gotten rid of it.”

The menu change at the E-Cafe was not the only change that was hotly debated on campus. Cafe ‘77, also known as Co-Op, changed the makeup of its common menu item “loaded fries.” In years past, the french fries were covered in shredded cheese and bacon, then placed in the oven until  perfection. At the start of this year, the fries were covered in nacho cheese and bacon.

It was a disgrace to many late night snackers.

The change was met with hostility and sharp criticism from the student body, and the loaded fries were reverted back to their original glory on Sept. 19.

The loaded fries and the Generals Grilled Cheese were perfectly fine, so why did Dining Services make these changes to the menu?

While I have no official comment from the school, I can only speculate the reason for the changes to the menu. One in particular is because of the employees who prepare the food. After speaking to the employees who work in Co-Op, I discovered that the reason for the cheese change was because of the long preparation time.

Too often we, as students and as a society, get impatient when we have to wait on anything, especially food. This is even truer as the night progresses and everyone is ready for bed after a long Friday or Saturday night of socializing. The usage of nacho cheese reduced the long preparation time down to almost nothing for the loaded fries. This allowed the employees working in Co-Op to produce the food even faster and receive fewer complaints on the time it took for the food to be served.

In the end, they received even more complaints about  the cheese being used than the preparation time, so they reverted back to shredded cheese. As for the Generals Grilled Cheese: who knows?

One student explains that while she is not entirely happy with the removal of the Generals Grilled Cheese, she is excited to see the menu change. “It was always really frustrating how they had the same things year after year”  Olivia Stoffel, ‘19, said. “It was disappointing that they never really changed the menu like they do at the other facilities.”

Fieldside is an example of how Dining Services changes the menu to help break the monotonous cycle of food choices, when every six weeks each semester, the menu at Foodside changes.

One thing to note is how open Dining Services is to receiving recommendations, such as with changes to the loaded fries. Please reach out to Dining Services if you want to see the Generals Grilled Cheese permanently back on the E-Cafe menu.

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The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University
New year, new me(nu)