If you’re a student here at WSU, odds are that some point in your college career, someone will have attempted to get you to join their club in exchange for free food. And you’ve probably attended a meeting for that reason alone.
Why does this tactic work so well? Answer: Because, it’s a widely accepted fact that college kids love food.
In this two-part post, I will tackle one of the biggest food-based debates on campus: Does the caf on Main or West Campus have better food? This is the kind of hot topic question that keeps students up at night wondering. I will evaluate the food based on availability, variety and quality.
So let’s see how our first contender, the Jack Kane Dining Center on Main Campus, matches up.
Over on Main, food is restored at a significantly fast rate. If there is no salad in the salad bar, the Chartwells employees are likely already on their way with a big tub of leafy greens. If the supply of monster cookies has been depleted, you can usually go back to your table for a few minutes and return to find the plate full of yummy baked goods. The Jack Kane Dining Center never misses a beat with food restoration.
However, the physical accessibility of some items is not that great. Pizza, for example, is assembled on the spot and then cooked for about seven minutes. Although super fresh pizza sounds great in theory, it actually creates a really long line and is less efficient than just grabbing a slice from an already cooked pizza. Dessert is another example. If you are in the mood for ice cream, you will also have to wait in a long line as opposed to serving yourself.
On Main, your cup may runneth over with variety. There’s nowhere else on campus where you will have access to apple butter, red pepper hummus, a waffle machine and a potato bar, as well as a wide range of breakfast cereals. Of course, whether this variety matters to you or not will depend on your eating preferences. I know that a waffle covered in hummus isn’t for everybody.
Here’s where things get heated. Although variety and availability matter in terms of overall experience, quality holds the most power in this debate. In order to ensure that this was a fair debate, I spent a week eating on Main Campus and a week eating on West. The variety definitely gave Main an advantage. If I didn’t like the look of the main course, then I could try the vegetarian option or make myself a waffle (which were usually pretty good).
The pre-prepared food, however, seemed to be a toss-up. There were times when on Main, the sandwiches were a little sloppy, the meat a little dry and the pizza line was just too dang long. These issues, though, are not totally criticisms of Chartwells or the food they provide. I think a big part of why I had less than perfect experiences was because there is almost always a ton of students in the Jack Kane Dining Center. Also, Chartwells has to guess how much food will be demanded, as well as how much time each dish takes to prepare. These are both factors in the quality, especially the presentation of the food.
The variety on Main Campus is top notch, but the accessibility can get a little frustrating. Also, the food at times can be a little dry or just warm rather than truly hot.
Overall, I’d give Main Campus food 3 out of 5 stars.
And with that, I bring this first post to a close! Main Campus will be hard to beat, so tune in next week to see if the Lourdes cafeteria on West Campus can measure up!
– Updated by Hailey Seipel (07/22/2019)
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