In one way or another, Dining Services has gone from grease to green.
Two University-made locations, Wok on Up and Rocky’s Sub Shop, have replaced two food chains on campus, Panda Express and Blimpie’s sub shop.
Most students seem to approve of the new food.
“There’s something different about the taste,” Sia Uhm, a sophomore, said. “The flavors taste more natural than before.”
This holds especially true for students who have visited Wok on Up. Most agreed it is a big step-up from Panda Express, not only health-wise, but taste-wise too. The meats in particular have been praised.
“I’ve only been there once and I already like it better,” sophomore Rita Pecorato said. “I got the beef and broccoli stir fry. When I got it previously, I didn’t like the beef, but this time I did.”
Students have also commended the naturalness of the chicken, shrimp, and crab. Moreover, many interviewed this week have said the orange chicken now has a kick to it and is fresher than what Panda Express had offered.
“Honestly, I’d take one bite of Panda meat and lose my appetite,” junior Yiwen Ma said.
According to Cam Schauf, director of campus dining services, the chicken at Wok on Up is now antibiotic-free. Plus, the sauces have fewer preservatives. All products are locally grown or from New York companies. With the quality of the food increasing, some have been surprised that the prices have stayed the same.
The most notable change may be the wider range of vegetarian options.
“We have complete control over the cooking process, allowing us to steam more vegetable dishes and fry less,” Schauf said.
According to its website, Panda Express does not offer any vegetarian dishes, as all dishes are cooked with shared equipment. So, for vegetarians, Wok on Up is a sigh of relief.
It has hit the mark on several dishes, such as noodles, which freshman Barbara Sun said reminded her of the noodles from her home, China. On other dishes, Wok on Up has fallen flat.
A few students have critiqued the rice, calling it bland and overcooked. Additionally, there have been mixed reviews on the portions compared to the price.
“I think there was a lot of potential, and some of it was missed,” junior Pech Punleu Chhun said.
Students recognized the new Asian-fusion place in the Pit, but almost none has noticed UR’s sub shop is under different management. A lot more has changed than just the name.
According to Schauf, Rocky’s features higher quality meats, breads, cheeses, and condiments, with a greater selection of each and a stress on local products.
The shift to higher quality has bumped up the price a notch. Yet, the line still goes out of the shop at peak hours. The majority of students are content with paying more for quality.
“I go to Rocky’s way more than I should,” Abraham Loncke, a sophomore, said. “The new bread options are what makes me come back. I may end up with no declining by half-way through the semester, but it’s definitely worth it.”
Sophomore Mike Tufano summed it up: “It seems like the U of R is secretly trying to combat the ‘Freshman 15.’ And hey, it’s working.”