Current dining options cannot satisfy students’ need for Martha’s

By Grace Hogsten

Elm Staff Writer

It’s a Sunday night, and you and your friends are staying up late together to finish work that’s due the next day. You’re hungry, and you’ve been studying for a couple of hours, so you all decide to take a break and get some much-needed comfort food from Martha’s.

Martha’s Kitchen, known to Washington College students simply as “Martha’s,” was open most nights of the week from about 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. It served comfort foods like mozzarella sticks, chicken nuggets, french fries, quesadillas, and burgers.

Most items on the menu cost around five dining dollars, so students could mix and match which foods they wanted without draining their account.

WC switched dining vendors at the beginning of the 2022/2023 school year. However, the change in vendors affected not only the dining hall, but also the other options located on the first floor of Hodson Hall.

Java George, WC’s coffee shop, started selling Starbucks drinks at the beginning of the Fall 2022 semester.

The empty space next door, which was a sandwich shop called “Create” before the start of the pandemic, is now Freshens. The final – and most controversial – change is the replacement of Martha’s Kitchen.

This semester, the counter where Martha’s once was is no longer vacant: it now serves Boar’s Head Deli products from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students can order deli sandwiches, choosing from ingredients in front of them. They can also buy drinks, chips, macaroni and cheese, or the soup of the day to complete their meal.

The general consensus among students is that Boar’s Head food is good, but it does not make up for the closing of Martha’s.

“I liked [Martha’s] a lot better…it was cheaper and had a lot more options for people to pick from…I don’t think Freshens does it, or the grill station upstairs…I think what was good about Martha’s was…it had burgers, it had quesadillas. It had everything you want at 10 p.m. at night,” sophomore Alexa Draper said.

Boar’s Head sandwiches are also more expensive than students would like. A sandwich from Boar’s Head costs about nine dining dollars.

“I think [Boar’s Head] is alright. I think it’s the same thing as the sandwich line upstairs. It’s a little expensive for what they have,” Draper said.

WC does have a late-night dining option. Cravetown, which is open from 8:00 p.m. to midnight, serves hot foods like nachos, quesadillas, and mini pizzas. However, Cravetown does not fulfill the role of Martha’s either.

Its menu is not as delicious or reliable as the Martha’s menu was. There are no chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, or french fries. Unlike Martha’s, Cravetown foods don’t feel like a meal.

“I miss Martha’s. I know we have Cravetown, but I think a lot of people still just…miss having Martha’s,” junior Rae Merson said.

Although the new dining locations may not measure up to the memory of Martha’s, they do provide some great new foods.

Freshens, in particular, serves a variety of refreshing, nutritious options like smoothies, salads, and acai bowls. Dining Hall fruit and vegetable options are often limited, so Freshens stands out as a useful addition.

Freshens also provides more options for vegetarian and vegan students. Meatless rice bowls and salads from Freshens are an excellent option for students who want a filling vegetarian or vegan meal.

Because Boar’s Head and Freshens are open during the afternoon midmeal period, students who have busy class schedules can get a meal there before the dining hall opens for dinner.

Despite the many dining options that the college offers, students still miss Martha’s.

Even if Martha’s never returns in name, WC should provide a dining option that meets students’ needs the way that Martha’s did: with affordable, simple comfort food they can buy throughout the evening.

Elm Archive Photo

Photo Caption: Students mourn the loss of Martha’s this semester as a new sandwich station with Boar’s Head Deli products is put in its place.

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