Originally posted on the-standard.org on Feb. 22, 2016. Photo by Emily McTavish.
Greek, Mexican and spicy Korean are just some of the flavors students can order at Burrito Bowl, the new chain coming to the Plaster Student Union in Fall 2016.
The new restaurant will replace Red Mango, the smoothie shop currently located between Subway and Panda Express.
The final stage in debating whether or not the chain was a good fit for campus was a tasting held on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Director of the PSU Terry Weber said that although the tasting couldn’t hold very many participants, the people that were invited came from different areas on campus in order to obtain accurate feedback.
“What we were trying to do was find the best cross section of student leaders that we would help get the word out and get excited about,” Weber said. “So an email was sent to the Executive Counsel for Student Leaders and then some of our more traditional organizations like (Residential Hall Association), (Student Government Association), the fraternity and sorority community, and (Student Activities Counsel).”
Offered at three different sessions, participants at the tasting were presented a slideshow about the food that would be served on campus. They also were able to choose from one of three bowls and rate the food according to taste, freshness, visual appeal, value and healthy ingredients.
Resident District Manager Tony Hein said the first indicator of needing a new chain was the long lines that currently clog the PSU.
“Hearing surveys and observing long lines, it was like ‘Okay, we need to do something,’” Hein said. “We need to get something in here that will have a variety and an appeal, something that will pull people off those long lines.”
The most desired want from students was a Mexican chain. Taking this into account, Hein said he wanted to appeal to students’ concern but expand on it further.
“We did some surveys and Mexican was always the number one thing,” Hein said. “So the great thing about Burrito Bowl is that it does Mexican but also has the variety which we really love.”
The restaurant will feature 36 ingredients and nine sauces, offering burritos and bowls, quesadillas, salads, flatbread chips and dip, tacos, nachos and smoothies. Patrons are able to pick something off the menu or create-their-own meal. The average price of these meals are $6.50.
Since they are globally inspired, some of Burrito Bowl’s flavors include Cajun, buffalo and Santa Fe. Vice President Business Development for Burrito Bowl Marty Bennett explains that what they are trying to do is avoid menu fatigue so that students are satisfied with their options over a longer period of time.
“You’ve gone to that food court for how many years now and it’s the same,” Bennett said. “What we try to do is offer multiple platforms so that you have more choice within the restaurant and with the recipes being global, it makes each one different.”
Most of the food served is within a certain health range to ensure another healthy option on campus. Chicken used was raised without antibiotics, black beans are organic, the products are made with zero trans fat, and a sizable amount of their ingredients are vegetarian and gluten friendly.
However, the health of the company doesn’t just extend to the food. All of the food items come packaged in compostable and renewable containers.
For those that currently work at Red Mango, Hein said that they would be able to keep their jobs or move to one of the other restaurants.
“A lot of our associates trade units so we try to cross train but they would certainly be welcomed to stay at Burrito Bowl,” Hein said.
However, since Burrito Bowl will require more labor, Hein said that it will offer more jobs on campus.
“If we need five people to run it, we would need to hire about 12 people so that would mean that we would hire four to six students,” Hein said.
With all the benefits Burrito Bowl contributes, faculty and students can be sure of one thing: this new chain will add a little more flavor to campus.