New MJ options make dining hall feel like home

The new Bistro section on the lower floor of Mary Jemison Dining Hall is redefining comfort food with its worldly selection of “homestyle” treats. “The Bistro came about because the Asian station that we had there––Pan Pacific––was basically underutilized compared to all the rest of the stations in MJ,” Campus Auxiliary Service’s assistant general manager Debbie Krueger said. “So we wanted to do something different each day that would add more variety to our menu.”

The Bistro has a variety of comfort foods, ranging from Vietnamese food to American mashed potatoes and gravy. “Mondays we have Bánh Mì, a Vietnamese pork sandwich, and on the other side we have a tater tot bar, where you can get cheddar cheese sauce, gravy, cheese curd and bacon bits,” assistant executive chef Michelle Halloran said.

The creative station serves traditional “comfort foods” from a different region every weekday. Tuesdays features taco salad and Wednesdays have a baked potato and mashed potato bar. Thursdays feature grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade tomato soup. On Fridays, the Bistro serves “an English style fish taco and fish and chips,” according to Halloran.

“It’s not completely American home-style,” CAS director of culinary operations Jonna Anne said. “It’s just comfort food that people have all grown up with with a little bit of a twist, hence the name ‘the Bistro.’”

Although its reception among students has been varied, students do seem to appreciate the new foods offered through this option.

“It was a new experience and because I am a pescetarian, I was happy that the Bistro was serving fish taco instead of meat,” sophomore Esther Keon said.

“I really love the grilled cheese because there are so many options to choose from,” sophomore Eunice Kim added. “Honestly, when I came to college I expected grilled cheese to be on the menu but it never was, so I am glad that it’s finally here now.”

“We’ve done this from student feedback so the reason for the changes is because … [Pan Pacific] wasn’t being utilized so we looked through our surveys and customer comments and found that the students were really searching for something different,” Anne said. “They wanted something that’s more based on comfort. Comfort means a lot of different things to many different people, so the Bistro fit.”

The Bistro is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. “When spring comes around, I’m hoping to get more seasonal items in there,” Halloran said. “We will switch some of the items to a lighter meal.”