Don’t Appétit: a problem with Lawrence’s meal times

By Teddy Kortenhof

No one can deny that Lawrence students eat well. Bon Appétit does a wonderful job providing delicious and nutritious culinary options for students. Lawrence’s food is far better than meals dished out at other institutions. Despite this, the Bon Appétit lunch hours leave changes to be desired.

While Bon Appétit’s food is delicious, it is not always accessible. The daily lunch hours are inconvenient for some students. A full hot lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each weekday. At 1:30 p.m., the hot food is taken away, leaving only the cold salad bar, deli and dessert open until 2 p.m.

Bon Appétit’s hours of operation are generous, but they do not fit well with the university’s class schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Despite serving hot food for two and a half hours every day for lunch, Bon Appétit fails to provide a hot lunch option in the cafeteria to students with classes at both 11:10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. An 11 a.m. opening does not leave sufficient time to eat before class, and a 1:30 p.m. closure is 20 minutes too soon for hungry learners who leave class at 1:40 p.m.

To students taking lunchtime classes, cold food is the only option through Andrew Commons. Food is available through other sources on campus, but the options provided fall short of those offered by Andrew Commons.

While the café serves hot food throughout the day, this option is far from ideal. Although food through the café is served hot, the portions are limited compared to the buffet style dining dished up in the commons.

The pastries and deep fried food offered at the café are delicious, but somewhat unhealthy. The greasy options upstairs are no substitute for the healthier choices available downstairs. Additionally, to even a moderately hungry student, dining à la carte leaves patrons with either empty stomachs or empty wallets. When unlimited food is available for a mere meal swipe, it is hard to justify the cost of filling oneself at the café.

Sack lunches, available from Kate’s Corner Store for a meal swipe, provide another alternative to dining in the commons. However, cold food from the corner store is no more enticing than cold food à la commons, even if it does save a flight of stairs. The sack lunch option’s only redeeming quality is its portability. It does not compare to the culinary delight that is a warm lunch.

The final food option available, the food truck, proves elusive. While it is a feasible dining option, I wouldn’t count it as being reliable, as it tends to move about campus. Additionally, it falls prey to the same shortcomings as the café, only catering to culinary cash customers in inconveniently skimpy quantities.

At present, hot lunch is not easily available to students with midday courses, especially to those who prefer meal swipes to culinary cash. While this issue persists, it is not without solution. I suggest a half-hour modification to the common’s lunchtime hours of operation. If the commons were to open for lunch at 11:30 a.m., rather than 11 a.m., and end hot food service at 2 p.m., rather than 1:30 pm, hot food would be available to more students. Students with class starting at 12:30 p.m. would still have time for lunch before class.

Additionally, hot food would be available to students who are let out of class 1:40 p.m. A revised schedule would allow students with classes at both the 11:10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. time slots to dine on hot food on a daily basis without necessitating longer hours of operation on the part of Bon Appétit staff.

Bon Appétit provides exemplary food to the Lawrence campus. Its meals are appetizing, varied and well prepared. It goes above and beyond to use local sourced products in the dishes it prepares. My only suggestion is to change the time in which lunch is served to make an already wonderful meal service even better.