Students Have Mixed Feelings on Caf Update


Photo by James McClendon

Marissa Verdon, Staff Writer

It’s been two semesters since the Strebel Dining Commons had a major facelift that boasts a more enjoyable dining experience.

Wanting to place emphasis on variety in seating and being more transparent in prep, more food lines were added to allow students to watch their meals being prepared.

However, were the designs all talk? Do new serving stations leave a good taste in students mouths?

Junior Shelby Deere said that despite the renovations little was done to improve the quality of the food.

“I feel that the food quality is declining every year since I started going to Utica,” Deere said. “The things they serve are so repetitive that it feels like almost the same food every day.”

Deere does not believe the renovations caused any changes to be made, other than take away space.

“It hasn’t improved the quality of food at all,” Deere said.

Senior Margarita Cristina Molina agreed that renovations did very little to the quality of the food itself.

“I think the quality of the food has really gone down this year,” Molina said. “I’ve had a lot of trouble this year finding something I want to eat every time I come into the cafe for lunch or dinner.”

Students like Kyle Van Winkler and James Den Bleyker agree that it is “a bit of give and take” on the quality of food depending on the time it is served.

“It’s usually good or it’s usually bad, depending on when you go,” Den Bleyker said. “My favorite is chicken teriyaki, it’s always fire but I don’t like their pizza, it’s kind of stale and it feels like it came out of the freezer.”

While some find fault in the dining hall food, there are others who are a bit optimistic regarding certain options.

“The cafe is either hit or miss, either you find something really good and it’s okay, and other times it’s like, ‘What is this,’ and you’re disappointed,” Van Winkler said. “They make some really good french fries, they’re wholesome but still a little crisp.”

When students looked at what the dining commons needed to improve on, expansion was not at the top of the list for some. “There’s no like particular food I’d want instead, I’d just like more consistent quality if that makes sense,” Molina said. “I used to really love getting the stir fry, but this year it’s either been super bland or super salty.”

Deere has missed some of her favorite foods that have gone away since the renovations and wishes for a larger variety of food.

“I’d like to see them bring back biscuits and gravy, that was the best thing to look forward to in the cafe for me,” Deere said.