Dining Halls Up Their Game

Upgrades to the Third North dining hall include LCD screens for menus.

As the summer swelter yields to fall, NYU’s dining halls upped their game after a semester of turmoil and controversy.

NYU dining upgraded its services in a variety of different ways including more choices in Upstein, take-out options and  a completely remodeled dining hall in Third North Residence Hall.

Third North’s dining hall has gone organic this semester and rebranded as “Harvest Table at Third North.” Locally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients, an au naturel aesthetic and plenty of upfront information about the food being served filled the once infamous dining hall.

“Right now [Harvest Table at Third Northl] is my favorite,” CAS first-year Anaya Davidson said. “I live in [Lipton Residence Hall], and I feel like they don’t really season the food well. And here they have healthy options that also taste good, so I really like this one.”

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While the current residents of Third North may not fully appreciate the changes, those who were around to see the dining hall pre-makeover commend the effort to move toward healthier foods.

“I’ve heard upperclassmen talking about how Third North dining hall used to be really gross,” LS first-year Marcella Bilotto said. “I was really shocked to come here and be like this isn’t gross and this is all really fresh. I feel a lot of them is like farm-to-table, and that’s something you don’t often get in a city like this.”

Tisch junior Tayler Everts, visits the dining halls five or six times a week and quickly identified the upgrades.

“I noticed that they are changing some of their packaging and rotating more of their options,” she said.

Dining Services has also made some notable changes in several other dining halls. At Weinstein Food Court, the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, a crowd pleaser among fans of the famed fried chicken restaurant, is one of many items that have been added to a revamped Chick-fil-A menu, now including grilled chicken as well.

Downstairs in Weinstein Passport Dining Hall, the salad bar now offers on-the-spot chopping and locally sourced vegetables. At the Tandon School of Engineering, students will find a new modern twist on flatbreads served with roasted veggies, sustainably harvested meats, wholesome grains and housemade dressings at Jasper Kane Cafe.

Compliments aside, students have also raised some issues with Dining Services.

“Sometimes a line gets way too long for me to want to wait, so if they can have a better system,” LS first-year Christian Caballero said.

Rush hours and long waiting times are also a concern for other students. “I think maybe during peak times, they can have more people in the kitchen,” Bilotto said. “Sometimes, it just seems that they get a little overwhelmed, but other than that, it’s pretty spectacular.”

With the Armark — NYU’s food service prodider — contract coming up for bid next year, these dining hall renovations should be considered with a grain of salt. Especially considering past problems with Department of Health violations in Lipton, a racially insensitive Black History Month meal serviced in Downstein and general negative press surrounding the company’s ethics.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 24 print edition. Email Jiachen Xu at [email protected]

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