Chartwells Freshens Menu For New School Year

Over the summer, Hudson Valley’s dining and catering services did not take a vacation.

“We took a lot of feedback from the students. I wanted to see what mattered the most for the students, faculty and staff,” said John Poole, the Food Service manager. Chartwells surveys the campus twice a year to seek areas of improvement for food service on campus.

As a result of the latest survey, Poole said, “the biggest thing [students want] is fresher food.” He said changes made in improving the quality of food were included in ingredients and preparation. All the signage came for the food court came in the second week of August.

In Williams Hall, the counter was changed, wraps were added and the cafe was repainted. A credit card machine and menu changes were also added to the Williams Hall Cafeteria.

Poole said having a credit card machine provides students with the option of being able to use the meal plan. He said that the majority of students do not use the meal plan because they “lack the commitment.”

Over the summer, the grill station in the food court was replaced with “GrillNation,” a new “create your own burger” station. The new station includes quarter pound beef patties, turkey burgers, veggie burgers and grilled chicken breasts with toppings.

Chartwells also no longer carries frozen premade chicken tenders instead offering a “Pollo” station where “fresh” chicken tenders are marinated in buttermilk and breaded in smaller batches. Tenders that are displayed in the hot case have a 10 to 15 minute shelf life.

The Mondos sandwich menu was modified during the summer as well. Sandwiches that were often wasted such as meatball subs were removed. “Students are very happy [with the menu changes]. It worked out in the end,” said Poole.

A salad bar was added to the food court on Sep. 15, following the addition of a “Kitchen Comforts” station with soups and macaroni and cheese.

For inspiration in menu changes, Poole looked to neighboring establishments in the area, including the Deli & Brew. “We went over to the Deli & Brew one day and we saw these ginormous pizzas,” Poole said. “We thought, ‘what can we do?’”

As a result, Chartwells expanded their pizza size from 16 to 20 inches to compete with the Deli & Brew. Poole claims that Chartwells pizza has “more toppings, more sauce, more cheese and fresher dough.”

“The problem is not that their food is bad, it’s that taste comes with a price,” explained Chester Volkert, Graphic Design major.

“Honestly, I don’t mind the change,” said Emma Sulkowicz, Liberal Arts major, “change was definitely needed [at Chartwells].”

Poole replaced Steve Lembo as Food Service Manager in the Spring 2014 semester. As a result of a greater understanding in “background knowledge” of the college, Poole has gained a presence outside of the kitchen.

“During the first three days [of the semester] this one kid went to whatever station I was in. I asked him a few questions about the toppings he wanted with every station I went to and by the third day he said ‘you ask harder questions than my professor’,” said Poole laughingly.

According to the Poole, peak hours for the food court are every 15 minutes on the hour starting at 10 a.m. and lasting until 1 p.m. The food court is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. weekdays in the Siek Campus Center.

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