Hobart and William Smith dining options have seen mixed success after relaunching this semester, with new, highly-requested, menu updates at several locations, but a plague of equipment failures at Au Bon Pain.
In an email sent to students in early August, Campus Life announced that upon returning to campus, students would be met with an array of changes to the Colleges’ Dining Services. This prominently included a complete revamp of the Cellar Pub’s menu, a change widely requested by students after the Cellar Pub suffered a turbulent reopening featuring a pizzeria-style menu last year. The Cellar Pub’s reopening came on the heels of an almost two-year-long COVID closure of the dining location. When asked to comment on the changes to the Cellar Pub, Vice President of Campus Life and Dean of Students Becca Barile stated the administration “heard that the Pub’s atmosphere worked, particularly late at night, but that the new food menu for Fall 2022 wasn’t as well received as we had hoped.” Barile also praised Dining Services “who adapted effectively and creatively” to respond to student feedback in crafting the new menu for Fall 2023. The Pub will now feature a menu reminiscent of its pre-COVID closure offerings, including burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, and smoothies.
While the Pub will no longer offer Pizza, the Colleges have not entirely done away with the option, adding a new pizza station named “Slices” in the café. The addition of Slices comes alongside a series of other updates to the café, including a wider selection of mini-mart-like offerings ranging from more robust snack offerings to non-food items, such as pens, nail-clippers and Advil. The Café’s West Lounge also saw a complete revamp, with new seating options and workstations for students. These changes were instituted following a public feedback session co-sponsored by The Office of Campus Life, Hobart Student Government and William Smith Congress. The Colleges also announced plans to update the Café’s second seating area, and large areas of the Colleges’ main dining hall, Saga. Campus Life again joined a Hobart Student Government and William Smith Congress meeting on Monday September 18 to solicit student suggestions for these renovations.
In addition to future renovations, Saga will also see some minor menu updates this year, with Campus Life and Dining Services announcing the addition of gluten-free pizza, more halal choices, and more locally-sourced ingredients. Barile reinforced that all of these updates are the result of the Colleges “constantly evaluating our options and including student voices and perspectives in our decisions.”
The only campus dining location that did not receive notable updates is Au Bon Pain, an option which saw extensive troubles shortly after reopening for the semester. On Wednesday September 6, Dave McCandless, General Manager of the Colleges’ Dining Services, sent a campus-wide email to students informing them that the excessively hot temperatures in the Warren Hunting Smith Library Lobby, had compromised the ABP coolers, which are used to keep ingredients at a safe temperature, and, therefore, ABP would need to close until the issues could be resolved. Although, McCandless announced on September 14 that repairs to the coolers had been made and ABP would safely reopen on Monday the 18, the location was open for only four hours before the coolers again malfunctioned. ABP was forced to close again, but continued operating on a limited schedule of 7:30am-11:30am for the remainder of the week, until full repairs could be made.