Frank Dining Hall Still Has a Long Way to Go

Colgate Students have been eager for the new food provided by Chartwells, only to be disappointed by lack of variety.

Colgate Students have been eager for the new food provided by Chartwells, only to be disappointed by lack of variety.

As students started arriving on campus this year, one of the main things many were excited about was trying out the new food on campus. Last year, Colgate decided to switch food providers from Sodexo to Chartwells, a move that students were excited about.

The introduction of Chartwells prompted changes at Curtiss E. Frank Dining Hall (Frank), the O’Connor Campus Center (the Coop), Donovan’s Pub and the Heiber Cafe. The Heiber Cafe is still in the final days of preparation and should be up and running soon, as is Donovan’s Pub, so we haven’t experienced those quite yet. However, we have definitely gotten exposure to Frank and the Coop and have a lot to discuss. 

While all students have been back for a full week now, Frank has been slow to transition to accommodate the student traffic, especially at peak times. As a result, there have been lines for many of the food options at Frank, and sometimes a shortage of food at the more popular stations. Today, I went to Frank at a peak time, so there was a line getting in the door, and at almost every station.    

Some people said they had been waiting for ten minutes for the oatmeal to be refilled, and when I went to get coffee, the coffee makers were out of coffee. However, I anticipate that as the employees become adjusted to the new food system, things will run more smoothly.

Since switching food providers from Sodexo to Chartwells, there has been the addition of sushi, a new ice cream-like dessert called Chloe’s and an upgrade in the quality of the coffee. Still, many of the distinct features from previous years have remained. Walking around Frank, one can hear a variety of opinions about the quality of the food at Frank this year. Many students are disappointed, but others are still hopeful.

 “I think it’s just average so far, but I really think it’s going to get better, especially from what I’ve heard about what they’re going to put in—like smoothies and a juicer.” sophomore Kelly Staples said.

For breakfast, I found that there has not been a huge difference from last year to this year. The omelet station, waffle station and other typical breakfast options, like pancakes and bacon, remain. There is still the daily assortment of bagels, toast, yogurt and oatmeal just in different locations. The new coffee bar featuring Starbucks coffee has been a great addition that many of my peers seem to enjoy. 

At lunch, there was already less of a line. I saw noticeably more options for lunch in addition to the typical omelets, sandwiches, yogurt, toast and salad. Now, there is sushi, a stir fry at the middle station, hamburgers, french fries, pasta, pizza and a meal that included grilled chicken and cornbread. I had the stir-fry at the middle station, and I thought it was pretty good, although surprisingly spicy. However, each day, the same options are consistently available, making it challenging to mix it up. 

“I really like the new food additions like the new coffee and sushi at Frank, but I really liked some of the things that they already had; for example, the avocados, and now they don’t have buffalo hot sauce which I’m really sad about,” sophomore Lindsey Derbyshire said.

Dinner appeared to have most of the same options as lunch, except the chicken main meal had been switched out for beef. We still saw the omelettes, yogurt, sandwich bar, sushi, salad bar and grill station. After having two meals a day at Frank, it’s challenging to find something exciting to eat for dinner. I have found it helpful to mix and match – take chicken from the grill station and put it on salad. Have an omelette with the stir fry as a side. And hey, there’s always cereal. 

This year, it appears that Frank has stayed very much the same as last year, with the exception of a few food additions, some station location changes and increasing Frank’s operating hours to 24 hours. No longer will Colgate students stroll into the Coop after a night out or a night in Case. Instead, they will enjoy “Late Night Frank,” which will serve as an extension of a normal Frank dinner. 

Every day, Frank seems to be improving, but it still has a long way to go. All summer, students have been hearing about the new dining changes and have come into school expecting improvements. Chartwells has a lot to live up to if it wants to please the hungry student body.