Custom-order menu debuts at Food Side for four-week spring term

Students eating at the junior year village have more options thanks to Food Side’s new, customizable menu


Rachel Hicks

The third year dining option, Food Side, changed its menu for the third time this year to a custom-order menu for spring term.

The menu includes build-your-own loaded mac and cheese, build-your-own loaded fries, build-your-own loaded salads, grilled chicken plates, quesadillas and burritos.

For an additional charge, several sides can be added to orders, such as plain mac and cheese, proteins, fresh or fried avocado, fried pickles or a small side salad.

The dessert menu offers made-to-order smores, homemade Rice Krispies treats and pastries.

Food Side still runs like a Chipotle or Moes, with customers telling the server what they want on their plate. Customers choose a base, and then they add protein, vegetables, salsas, cheeses and other toppings toward the end of the line.

Claudia Kesala, ‘18, ordered a salad with mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, mushrooms, peas and eggs last week.

A busy Food Side employee prepares a meal for a student. Photo courtesy of Rachel Hicks

Kesala said the salad was a good mix of protein and veggies. She also was happy to notice that the eggs did not cost extra and her meal came with a free drink.

“This is a really solid meal. They really upped their game,” Kesala said. Dee Dee Aeschelmann, ‘19, ordered the build-your-own mac and cheese with brussel sprouts and cucumbers. She said she also enjoyed her meal.

Food Side employee Michael Washburn said the new menu has been a success so far.

“Tonight we had over 200 people and made over $1,300,” Washburn said Tuesday night. During the winter semester, Washburn said fewer than 100 students came through the Mediterranean Food Side each day. He thinks the large number of students abroad affected the nightly turnout.

Washburn said it is safe to say the new menu is popular. He thinks the popularity could be due to the fact it is new and people just want to check it out, but Food Side served 250 students Wednesday and made $1,700.

“That’s a new record here,” said Washburn.

Time will tell if the new menu at Food Side is more successful than the previous Mexican or Mediterranean options, but so far the results are promising.

The employees are a lot busier at Food Side now, Washburn said. There are now so many different choices, so employees run back and forth to put together the custom meal each student orders. But it keeps the job interesting, he said.

Erin An, ‘19, enjoys the food at Food Side, but she noticed the hectic environment behind the counter.

“There’s a lot more variety so you can get a lot more and not get tired of it,” An said. “But it’s very hectic for the dining hall staff because you can make your own food so they have to scramble around.”

The employees may have more work, but the multitude of options seems to be appropriate for spring term since the four-week semester is a time for trying new things.