Before I start, I’d just like to say Campus Dining has provided many meals for me in my four years at Cal Poly. On-campus food is a savior when I wake up late for an early class, plan on being on-campus all day and, consequently, don’t have time to make any food of my own. So thank you, Campus Dining.
That being said, there are some changes that need to be made, specifically at The Avenue — more fondly known around campus as The Ave.
Let’s start with the salad bar. The employees are on top of their game when it comes to refilling the salad fixings, but sometimes they jump the gun. More times than once, I’ve gone to choose toppings and they are sparkling with crystals and covered in a fine layer of ice.
The $0.39 per ounce it costs to build your own salad is usually worth it, especially when you look at the $4.99 hoagies that come with wilted lettuce and cheese that used to be solid but is now some melted goo soaked into the bread. But frozen veggies on a “fresh” salad is an oxymoron.
Then, at the end of the sometimes-frozen salad bar is the new “hot food bar.” It features dishes ranging from macaroni and cheese and buffalo wings to fish sticks and french fries. The latter two dishes bring me to my next point.
Sometimes, before I make up my mind to once again purchase a salad, I’ll mosey around The Ave looking at what each vendor has to offer. One day in particular, I witnessed something that on one hand had me laughing, and on the other pissed because I was the one getting duped.
A young man, probably between classes, walked up to the hot food bar, grabbed some fries with his bare hands and proceeded to walk around munching on his free snacks. He went back several times, trading off between fish sticks and fries. Until finally, he walked right past the check-out lines and out the doors with a full belly, and more importantly, a full wallet.
Does this mean free snacks at The Ave for everyone? This doesn’t seem fair to those of us paying the $0.39 per ounce for hot food, or that extra few cents for salad dressing on the side. But then again, I’m not bold enough to try to snag a few free snacks myself.
Like the snack-snatcher, however, I too am always looking for ways to save a few dollars when eating and drinking around campus. This is why I forgo the notoriously long lines and high prices at Starbucks for the fast-paced, less expensive coffee at The Ave.
Starbucks charges $2.25 for a “venti” (not large) regular coffee. In comparison, The Ave charges just $1.95 for a large coffee. There is only one downfall to this decision. Once again, more times than once, I have purchased a coffee at The Ave, and as soon as I get out the doors and take my first sip, I get a mouthful of gritty chunks. Usually, I’m not one to complain, which results in me drinking a cup of coffee with a bite — literally. Next time, I’ll go to Starbucks and order my cup sans the grinds.
But to be honest, my choices rarely stray from salad or coffee. I hear you can’t go wrong with Chick-fil-A (unless it catches on fire), but I’d be curious to hear if anyone else has had any recent less-than-enjoyable Ave experiences.
The Ave can be a savior when stuck on campus. But it’d be great if it took the time to address a few inner-workings to up the quality control.