Changes to Marketplace's dining options are bringing smiles to the faces of some first-years.
As first-years grow weary of having to eat at Marketplace for most meals, Duke Dining and the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee have worked together to implement improvements to first-years' dining choices. Robert Coffey, director of dining services, said the adjustments include increased variety along with more made-to-order and ethnically diverse dishes.
“All of the changes were made to enhance the first-year experience and were not made based on specific complaints,” Coffey said.
The latest and most visible of these changes—a cook-to-order pasta line—has drawn praise.
“I’m a big fan of the new pasta—I’ve gotten it multiple times during the week, and it’s quite delicious,” first-year Vignesh Gopalan said.
The new options include more omelet toppings such as lobster and artichoke hearts, made-to-order crepes at Saturday brunch and deli toppings such as pesto, hummus and sautéed vegetables. The pop-up station has featured a mac and cheese bar, brownie bar, chicken tender bar and vegetarian hot pot, Coffey wrote in an email.
First-year Geng Sng noted the merits of the new cook-to-order pasta station and also welcomed changes to the stir-fry station at Marketplace.
“Asian food has improved,” Sng said. “[Stix ‘n’ Steam] used to be made-to-order, but I think the fact that they have a lot of staples and allow self-service saves a lot of time.”
Still, many first-year students hope that Duke Dining will continue to improve the first-year dining experience, noting that there are other aspects about Marketplace that can be updated.
“I don’t like that some of the produce is not fresh,” first-year Helena Wu said. “I’ve gotten rotten strawberries. I’ve gotten a moldy blueberry before.”
First-year Robby Meese added that Marketplace should also do more to provide a nutritious yet appetizing meal. He said that many of the foods are tasty, but unhealthy.
“I just wish that all the food wasn’t so bad for you. The things that taste good are bad,” Meese said. “They make all the healthy food taste bad. The only things that taste good at Marketplace are carbs—that’s like, one food group.”
After Spring Break, students can look forward to a baked potato bar on Saturday nights and "Taste the Grainbow"—during which students can vote which of four preparations of grains by Marketplace chefs should be added to the menu—on March 20.
“In general, students are much happier with the food this year compared to last year,” wrote Rick Johnson, associate vice president of student affairs for Housing, Dining and Residence Life.