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Campus Dining: New Year, New Options

Lauren Foster ‘15

Staff Writer


General manager: Michael Newmark

With the new semester more than halfway through, students have had the chance to test out and experience all the new changes that Merrimack Dining has brought to campus.

The Warriors Den has experienced the biggest changes to its dining options for each hour of the day. For breakfast, they now offer breakfast burritos at the Quesaritos section. Sodexo has also added in a ‘Grab N Go’ cooler, which offers fresh-squeezed orange juice, cake slices−including carrot cake and chocolate−cheese and pepperoni cups, and Sabra hummus and salsa with pretzels. The most-notable addition to the Den is Fro-Mack, a new frozen yogurt station that offers toppings such as m&ms, coconut shavings, cookie crumbs, and more. Although the hours may change in the near future, right now Fro-Mack is open 12pm-10pm every weekday and 6pm-10pm on weekends.

The successful Sparky’s Express, which expanded to be available at dinner last semester, now features a new menu, including roasted turkey.

There has also been changes and additions made in Sparky’s Place this year. In order to have a better traffic flow to accommodate the increase in students, there have been shifts to where main entrees, desserts, and beverages can be found.

According to Michael Newmark, General Manager of Merrimack Dining, the Simple Servings station, a station that offers hot meals at lunch and dinner with ingredients free of milk, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and gluten, has also been moved to a stand-alone station in an effort to make it more secure from cross-contamination.

“We have a dedicated employee that works there and serves the food so that there’s no possible contamination from people serving their own food,” Newmark stated.

Newmark commented that the feedback received from students last year has affected some of the new additions, such as having a chicken option at each meal. There is also a new “Hail Caesar” station that offers caesar wraps and caesar salads at lunch and dinner.

“We’ve also added a new executive chef, Brad Labarre. He is Sodexo trained and has been with us since the summer. His primary service is improving quality and variety amongst training and educating our employees to improve their culinary skills and ability,” Newmark noted.

According to Julio Perez, Zebi/Concessions Manager, there have also been many new additions to the Italian station in Sparky’s. “We added the cassarettes and we are also going to be incorporating more entrees, shells, lasagnas, and calzones. We even cook pasta to order there.”

On top of the new food variety in Sparky’s there has also been additional events and programming. So far, there has been a World Food Day, Fall Fun Fest, and Taco Tuesday. On Friday, October 31st, there will be a costume contest as well as a new dessert to be featured.

Maegan Vinasco, Resident Retail Manager, stated that there would also be a candy corn raffle all week leading up to the event. Students can also look forward to “Wing Wednesdays” as well as the continuance of the ever-popular Taco Tuesday.

For students who are looking to provide feedback to any of Merrimack Dining’s services, the management team along with Michael Newmark holds monthly dinner and discussions with the next one being on November 12th from 6-7pm in the Merrimack Club.

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