The Unforeseen Consequences of Union’s Dining Innovation

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The Unforeseen Consequences of Union’s Dining Innovation

The Garlic Nott is one of three new dining options introduced at the start of winter trimester. Photo by Matt Farr.

The Garlic Nott is one of three new dining options introduced at the start of winter trimester. Photo by Matt Farr.

The Garlic Nott is one of three new dining options introduced at the start of winter trimester. Photo by Matt Farr.

The Garlic Nott is one of three new dining options introduced at the start of winter trimester. Photo by Matt Farr.

Joe Maher, Staff Writer

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It is almost impossible to have not seen the new dining options available in Reamer Campus Center, or at least glanced upon one of the forty emails all students received about them. There is the 807 Deli, a locally sourced sandwich and salad bar, the Garlic Nott, the inarguably hilariously named pizza place and the new market.

For the most part, these changes seem to be spurring positive reactions among most of the students. There is always a line at the deli, the market has soft serve ice cream, and the Garlic Nott makes undoubtedly solid pizza, which they will deliver.

With all of that said, these adjustments have produced some unforeseen consequences which seem to be creating quite a stir across campus.

The Garlic Nott is definitely the best addition to Reamer. The meal exchange deal and the general quality of the pizza is pretty electric and I just hope the dining services keeps it up. Also, delivery is probably the best decision they made; the lazy student population is definitely an untapped audience”

— Liam Shaughnessy ’21

The first and likely saddest of these consequences is the swift and severe downfall of Ushi. It seems as if the tide has changed slightly for the renowned powerhouse of the area. With their previous location, students would generally pass the vendor on their way to Dutch or the bookstore or even just to check their mailbox.

As Ushi’s fearless leader runs the stand, chopping fish, rolling rice and pouring spicy sauce on the salmon rolls that we all maintain great adoration for, he always did so with an incredible smile.

As of late, he has been shoved into the back corner of Dutch where he has been reduced to staring at the students waiting for their breakfast wraps, as he would perform his craft. An artisan such as himself does not deserve this type of treatment.

Simply put, he is underappreciated and unacknowledged – a star of Union dining that has been relegated to the sidelines. Maybe it is our fault for not noticing in the first place.

The Garlic Nott provides students with a pizza experience with good value. While Ushi, to much disappointment, still cannot be purchased with a swipe”

— Peter Dranow ’21

With that said, innovation is oftentimes the key to success and must happen. It goes without saying that the 807 Deli is delicious, but it hurts to see the man behind the Ushi sign working in such small quarters as he rolls and chops his rice, avocado and fish into sushi. Which brings me to my next point, his art – which is incredibly tasking and truly a difficult skill to master.

In his previous location, he had much more space to work, and thus, was able to produce at a level which led to arguably his own comfort and a delicious selection of food, or should I say, art.

Still, despite his situation, the man behind the counter always dons a wonderful smile and is continuously appreciative of his customers. I would like to think that he is happy performing his trade at Union, but this is a man of incredible talent, and I would like to see him being treated with the respect that he no doubt deserves. Ushi has been a central staple of my diet since I have come to Union, and I would like it to continue as such.

I liked Ushi in its old location for it’s accessibility and mindfulness towards workers ”

— Trace Whalen ’21

Another unseen issue that has become apparent since the roll out of the new options around the area is with the opening of a second convenience store. Since its conception, an unspoken turf war has been ignited.

I am a little confused about why Union decided to open up a whole new store with similar items to the bookstore’s convenience store, besides the soft serve of course… which is phenomenal, let me just clarify. As an employee of the bookstore, this feels like a slight attack. The bookstore is and should be the place people go to when they do not want to wait in line or when they need something to bring back to their room to make later.

This slight beef could ignite a war that rages on for years and will inevitably lead to the end to convenience stores at Union or even the world and all of this because they added another convenience store. When the news broke about this new market, I had a very refined idea in my head as to what it may entail.

I’ve heard rumblings around campus that it would serve as more of a destination for produce, rather than just more protein bars and the infamous Beanitos that have established themselves around the school. A store mainly for produce would be quite amazing, as many residential building come equipped with kitchens that hardly see any use.

“The new dining experience adds a refreshing variety to the food options ”

— Owen White ’21

However, if we were given more items to cook with, said provided kitchens might see a spike in usage. Cooking for yourself or friends also provides some diversity to the routine meals provided by school, and it is, of course, fun to cook with others.

I am not an advocate of war, but if the market continues to duplicate the bookstore’s supply, there might be no choice among devout employees such as myself. With all of this in mind, I would like to stress my love for the new soft serve.

It has been nearly impossible for students to complain about the Garlic Nott because it is pizza and is unquestionably better than West or Upper. Still, being better than the dining halls might not say too much, but for students it means pizza can now be enjoyed at Union.

For pizza makers in Upper and West dining halls, though, it means that they have become somewhat obsolete. They are receiving less love than they ever have.

Students just do not want to use a meal swipe and get pizza when they could use that same meal swipe and get two slices of pizza, a drink, a “salad,” and a dessert.

Still, one must beg the question, does opening up a locally sourced deli, soft serve, and a source of edible pizza on campus make up for pushing the man behind Ushi into a corner, or establishing a convenience store turf war that realistically could end the world as we know it, or even making pizza makers in dining halls feel antiquated?

That is not for me to say, it all depends on the students and whether they feel as if these changes were steps in the right direction for Union.