"What do we eat?" : Problems at the Panini Station

by Katie Park ‘21

When I am dismissed from class around 12:20, I rush down the stairs to get in line for lunch. However, on days when I do not have much luck, I get there a little late and the line starting from the Main Dining Hall has already passed the Small Dining Hall. In this case, I swiftly run to the Small Dining Hall and grab a panini. Since I am more of a person who would rather have a panini than wait in line, I grabbed paninis for about one-third of my lunches last year. Also, I liked having a panini for lunch because there were various fillings that I could put on it.

This year, however, I am having a slightly different experience with the panini bar.

The Small Dining Hall went through renovations over the summer that changed the arrangement. The panini press is no longer on the side that leads to the Hinkle Room. Last year, it was harder for people to sit on the table right in front of the panini press due to the line that stretched to the table. In order to fix this problem, FLIK decided to place the panini press right next to the panini bar, which gives more space for the people in line and for people to sit at the table right in front of Hinkle Room. However, there are downsides to the new position of the panini bar. There are not as many meat and cheese options as last year. One day during lunch, there was only lettuce, tomatoes, egg salad, and only two types of cold cuts (ham and cheese). I could still make a panini out of these options, but it was definitely more limited than last year, when there was ham, turkey, and chicken for the meat options and at least two different types of cheese.

The Main Dining Hall also went through some changes. There used to be two salad bars, but Flik got rid of the second one and replaced it with a smaller toppings bar. This definitely provided more room in the Main Dining Hall. However, since the dressings are only in the first salad bar, as opposed to last year when there were dressings on both, some people had to go back to the first salad bar after getting the toppings from the next bar. Furthermore, a new suggestion is that since there is more room than last year, it would be better if the first salad bar and the toppings bar are pushed more toward the Small Dining Hall since the line waiting for the salad bar and the line to bus plates often clash.

We appreciate all the effort Flik puts into changing the setup of the dining hall. However, it always takes trial and error to reach excellence, and this process is no different.