Dining hall makes changes in response to student requests, but more options still needed

By Grace Hogsten

Elm Staff Writer

            The Washington College student body has spent the last two semesters mourning the loss of Martha’s Kitchen. Prior to the 2022-2023 school year, Martha’s provided many students with late-night meal options, including chicken nuggets, fries, and quesadillas.

            CRAVETOWN cannot seem to fill the void, and many students have utilized their voices to criticize the dining hall and the lack of variety.

            In response to these complaints, on April 20, Residential Dining Room Manager Latoya Felton sent an email to the campus community, listing many upcoming changes to dining services.

For many students, the first item on the list was the most intriguing. Starting this fall, the Met Grill will open in Boar’s Head Deli’s place.

It may be the perfect solution for those who miss the days of late-night chicken nuggets and fries from Martha’s.

According to a document provided by Michelle Messervey, the Met Grill will serve burgers, burritos, quesadillas, fries, and other classic sides and comfort foods. It will also offer some vegetarian options, including the Beyond Burger.

This new dining option is an excellent way to provide a menu of filling, delicious comfort foods to students looking for a meal outside of the dining hall. With a relatively static menu, the Met Grill would provide a reliable meal for students who are not interested in the dining hall’s menu for a particular day.

Students will be able to pay for food with meal swipes or dining dollars, according to the email from Felton. The option to use meal swipes will give students more flexibility and help them make the most of their meal plans.

            However, the College will be removing its Boar’s Head Deli location on the first floor of Hodson Hall Commons.

“I have mixed feelings about [Boar’s Head] leaving,” junior Paige Dauplaise said. “I think the quality of the sandwiches are better there than upstairs, but…I’m excited to have an option with more variety available.”

 Boar’s Head, which serves sandwiches and sides like soup or macaroni and cheese, is a staple of many students’ dining habits. It is also open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., which makes it a great place to get lunch during the dining hall’s afternoon mid-meal.

WC’s decision to retire Boar’s Head seems to be in response to students’ assertions that the deli serves the same purpose as the sandwich station in the dining hall, as well as students’ nostalgia for the late-night comfort food of Martha’s.

            “I’m a big fan of the sandwich station in the dining hall, so losing [Boar’s Head] doesn’t affect me too much,” SGA Secretary of Student Life sophomore Hunter Frederick said. “I do like the addition of a Martha’s style option…[I]t seems that the decision was made with student preference in mind, which I always like to see from our dining services provider.”

            Although the addition of the Met Grill was the biggest update in Felton’s email, it also announced a variety of changes to the dining hall, including expanded dessert options, expanded vegetarian options, and the return of made-to-order burgers.

            “I like that they brought back fresh burgers,” Dauplaise said. “[I]t’s always good to have something like that as a back-up when you’re a picky eater like me.”

            Many students, like Dauplaise, are looking forward to some of the smaller updates to the dining hall, which will give them additional options.

            However, though these updates to dining services may be exciting for many students, they are not accessible to all students. Navigating the dining hall is much more complicated for students with dietary restrictions, like gluten-sensitive, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan.

            “I don’t think any of these would be accessible for me,” junior Sophia Lennox said, regarding the list of upcoming dining hall changes.

            The upcoming additions to dining services reflect changes that lots of students have been asking for, such as a dining location similar to Martha’s and made-to-order burgers in the dining hall. Nevertheless, students with more restrictive diets, like vegetarians and vegans, are still waiting for accommodating meals and variety.

            While introducing the Met Grill is a step in the right direction in terms of listening to students’ feedback, the dining hall must continue these initiatives to improve the quality and variety of the meals served.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *