Life, Love and Food in the Post-Mein Bowl Era
By Justin Regan
There is always great excitement at the beginning of every school year when it comes to new eats on campus. This year, it comes with the death of the commonly disliked Mein Bowl and the addition of a quasi-sports bar on south campus. Here is a run down of what’s new with campus dining:
1. Star Ginger replaces Mein Bowl, well-received by students.
While Mein Bowl was a simple Sodexo knock-off of Chinese food, Star Ginger is an actual restaurant that has opened a satellite eatery on campus.
Star Ginger is a casual concept featuring Vietnamese and Thai food. The cuisine consists of rice and noodle bowls. The noodle bowls are rice noodles with bean sprouts and either beef, chicken or tofu along with various vegetable toppings. Another option on the menu is something called Bahn Mi, which is carried over from the days of French influence in the region.
“Bahn Mi means ‘salad sandwich,’ ” says Tina Freedman, vice president of operations for Star Ginger. “So, it’s a sandwich that has marinated meat, pickled vegetables and fresh cucumbers, cilantro and jalapeño peppers; so, when you bite through it, there are different layers of texture and flavor and it’s very healthy.”
Healthy seems to be a suitable word to attach to Star Ginger, seeing as most of the food is heavily veggie based. Students are also noticing the vast differences between Star Ginger and Mein Bowl.
“There’s a lot better options and it’s a lot fresher,” says Hannah Simpson, a junior advertising major. “I don’t have to worry if I am going to get sick afterwards.”
Star Ginger is a restaurant based out of Sacramento under head chef Mai Pham, who has written several Vietnamese and Thai cookbooks along with an appearence on Martha Stewart and hosting a special on the Food Network. Food options also include sweet potato fries, orange chicken and Thai yellow curry chicken; almost everything is a transfer special.
2. The Suites will house a new market place and an even bigger Starbucks.
While neither of these places are ready yet, there will soon be another Gateway-type market for students to buy miscellaneous items from spray cheese, condoms and everything between. Next to that will be another Starbucks, bigger than the one in the Union. These will both be in the courtyard of the new Suites housing on south campus.
3. Real wings on South Campus
In the du Bois center right next to the DuB cafeteria, there used to be a small market. It has now been replaced by a wings/chicken eatery known as The Coupe. The Coupe has all the fried chicken options from wings to strips to sandwiches. Along with the chicken, it will also be taking on the task of being the late-night food option for south campus (the Peaks will now be closing at 8 p.m.). At this time, they will have all the options that Peaks Grill used to have in addition to The Coupe’s usual menu. Just like Star Ginger on north campus, The Coupe is getting a thumbs up from the students.
“I had the regular Buffalo wings last time, and now I am having the garlic parmesan and they are really, really good,” says Bailey Gilliland, a junior psychology major.
One reason The Coupe might have great wings is how they are cooked in the traditional way of deep frying, as opposed to using an oven. Like any self-respecting wing eatery, The Coupe has several different sauces, all made in-house and selected from a student test group last semester. The six sauces are Buffalo Mild, Buffalo Hot, Teriyaki, Garlic Parmesan, Spicy Orange and Habanero Mango BBQ. The Coup is also, to an extent, in conjunction with the remodeling of the dining area in the du Bois center, which now resembles a sports bar.
“We’re trying to get a place for people on Saturday or Sunday to maybe watch games on the TV and eat boneless wings,” says Nick Bushyager, manager of south dining. “It’s a much better option than watching in your dorm.”
If you choose to watch the game in the residence halls, you can always send someone on a wing run and The Coupe will serve up to 36 wings per person. Transfer options can include either six wings (boneless or boned), three chicken strips or a chicken sandwich, plus fries and a drink.