Greasy hamburgers, cold pizza, salads that are a little “overripe” and mystery dishes that make up ordinary college cafeteria menus are being replaced.Well, for a handful of nights anyhow.
Huden Dining Hall and ARAMARK now have unique dinner menus that are offered for “festive meals” and “formal dining evenings.” This semester, there are eight of these evenings planned, the next taking place today to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
For $3 and a swipe on the student’s meal plan card, they can enjoy baked stuffed scallops on the most romantic evening of the year.
The idea for the special dining was thought up by Food Service Director Pete Merritt, who came here from the University of Maine last summer. Upon his arrival, he brought with him the idea of offering special evenings where food, along with decorations, go beyond what is supplied for everyday meals.
The first of the “festive meals” was on Halloween, which Merritt said the number of students partaking was low.
For the second, however, a Thanksgiving dinner, the turnout increased.
Many students like the idea of having special nights where more expensive and higher quality food is provided.
“I went to the Thanksgiving dinner and it was real good. I also had shrimp there one night, which was awesome,” said freshman Michael Thomas.
Thomas said that he doesn’t mind paying an extra $3 for many of the special meals that are offered.
“If I was going to skip dinner at Huden and go out and buy shrimp at a restaurant I’d be paying a lot more,” he said.
While many students enjoy the unique food, others have no interest in paying extra money to eat in Huden.
“I pay almost $3,000 a year to eat in Huden and now they’re saying to get some quality food I need to pay more? That’s not right,” said freshman Eric Jipner.
Merritt said that the extra money that students are required to pay for these dinners is necessary because of the amount it costs to buy the food, along with additional expenses including having extra people as a wait staff, extra culinary staff members, table linens, and cloth napkins.
Considering the extra expenses, Merritt said, “I feel $3 plus a meal swipe is an excellent deal.”
On March 6, Maine lobster will be served in Huden, and even Jipner said he may have to cave in and pay the extra $3.