New year brings campus dining new normal

The Spot has made several changes this semester, including charging for to-go boxes. Students now have to purchase a single-use to-go box for 75 cents or $6 for a reusable box. Bon Appetit made the change to be more eco-friendly and cut down on waste. / photo by Litsy Tellez
The Spot has made several changes this semester, including charging for to-go boxes. Students now have to purchase a single-use to-go box for 75 cents or $6 for a reusable box. Bon Appetit made the change to be more eco-friendly and cut down on waste. / photo by Litsy Tellez

Abelina J. Nuñez
LV Life Editor 

The food outlets on the University campus, The Spot and Barbara’s Place, have undergone changes since last semester.

Barbara’s Place has a new menu of burgers every day –  along with a new look and set-up.

The Spot is encouraging more post-pandemic indoor dining and is now charging for the to-go boxes, apparently due to a shortage.

Barbara’s Place changed its menu in response t student feedback and now has more vegetarian options.

It also has a vegetarian burger.

“It’s like a combination of having the same menu for the past for like 11 years since we started with Bon Appetit here at the University of La Verne in like 2011,” said Beck Farraj, Bon Appetit general manager.

Farraj said this summer, the University paid attention to what food trucks were most popular when Summer Orientation, Advising, and Registration, or SOAR, was on campus to get their lunch.

The students gravitated toward the burger trucks. This inspired the changes in the Barbara’s Place menu.

“For the menu, I’m not too big of a fan because I personally don’t eat burgers that often,” said Solomia Hryshko, sophomore criminology major, who works at Barbara’s Place and The Spot.

“The costs aren’t bad,” Hryshko added. “I was expecting them to be a lot more expensive than what they were since the meat is higher quality. And same with the bread and everything else we started serving.”

The new setup of Barbara’s Place has a new flow to the order and pickup process intended to speed things up.

“I feel like it’s better for people to come in and out and doesn’t really get crowded much anymore,” said Matthew Alvarado, senior biology major and student worker at Barbara’s Place and The Spot.

The Spot now charges 75 cents for disposable to-go boxes and students, and $6 for reusable boxes.

Students can buy the eco-friendly tray with Leo bucks and if the tray is returned at the end of the semester, they will get a meal card credit of $6 that can be used at both The Spot and Barbara’s Place, or a refund to their credit card.

“We made the switch because we were running out of them constantly,” Alvarado said.  “There was one time we ran out, we had to resort to reusable plates, and that wasn’t a good substitute.”

Hryshko said that The Spot previously had vegetarian options, but has added more variety.

Farraj said The Spot allows patrons to customize many café options to meet their personal dietary goals. It opened the vegan “Plants+Proteins” station in the fall semester 2021 based on feedback for more vegan offerings.

Because of the change requiring payment for to-go boxes, the dining hall has been packed.

Hryshko said it makes it a little bit trickier when you want to grab something to eat right before class or right after class and you have somewhere to be.

“As a student, I feel like it’s kind of irritating because it does take a while with the line long and in between classes I need something quick,” Alvarado said. “If I want to go eat, I have to get there super early and when it’s packed there is nowhere to sit.”

Alvarado said it is like planning your whole schedule around The Spot just to make sure you get there and you have time to eat without rushing before class.

“Though this year, it has gotten a lot better and I feel like there’s more diversity, more understanding, more communication,” Hryshko said.

“And from what I’ve seen, the management is trying to …to listen to (student) feedback,” Hryshko said.

Dakota Bechtel, junior gender studies major, said he does not like the idea of having to pay for the to-go boxes.

He did say he likes the new setup at Barbara’s Place but wishes they had burgers only once a week.

“I also hate the fact that … there’s no variation at all now and I miss the carnitas,” Bechtel said.

Abelina J. Nuñez can be reached at abelina.nunez@laverne.edu

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Abelina J. Nuñez is a junior journalism major and LV Life editor for the Campus Times. She has previous served as social media editor and staff writer.

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Litsy Tellez is a junior photography major and a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine.

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