Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: Brown Dining Services edition

Ben Affleck Blue Room

You’re just getting back in the full swing of things here at Brown, yet your usual dining routine seems a bit off. Case in point: You go to the Ratty and see a fried crispy ringlet. You think to yourself, Must be an onion ring, right? You attempt to confirm by reading the description on the glass barricade, but it just simply cannot be: the description reads “Calamari.” The Ratty has… real food? Though I’m sure you’ve been craving Ratty food all summer, you couldn’t have imagined the glory and satisfaction that awaited you during your first meal back at Brown. This example is just a mere taste of all of the changes already in effect around campus. Brown Dining Services has made some inspired—if not revolutionary—changes to its food offerings. A run-down of these culinary ch-ch-ch-ch-changes:

Ratty and V-Dub: The Ratty and V-Dub now have a rotating 13-week cycle with several new gastronomical options. You probably have already had a chance to experience some of them. In addition to providing these new options, BDS has developed nutrition facts for all of the food it will be serving and will make this information available in both dining halls. Word on the street is that it’s also developing an app so students can quickly access nutritional information on the go. We’ll keep you posted on that. In the meantime, be sure to check out the menus on the Brown Dining Services website.

The Blue Room: The Blue Room now features new rolls by Iggy’s, a local bakery. The new rolls and focaccia bread will compliment the rotating weekly sandwich specials of Meatball and Pepperoni Marinara, Italian Ham and Peppers, and Warm Balsamic Veggie. There are also new ingredients at the hot sandwich bar, including spinach, baby arugula, portobello mushrooms for vegans and vegetarians, as well as many other options. The BR will also have rotating hot entrees of the Burrito Bar (M/W/F) and Kabob and Curry (T/Th/Sa/Su).

The changes will also be rolled out to affect your breakfast choices. There will now be all new breakfast sandwiches made from Iggy’s croissants, turkey sausage, and several different frittata options. Also new? Flavor shots for coffee at no extra charge, as well as new Pain D’Avignon croissants, scones, and biscotti. It doesn’t stop there: The Blue Room will also be baking various different danishes in house, so check them out.

Here’s what you’ve definitely been waiting for: sushi is back. BDS no longer is working with Shanghai and instead has partnered with a local Massachusetts restaurant. There are seven different varieties of sushi available. The rolls are delivered to the Blue Room twice a day, so there will be tons of fresh sushi to choose from.

Jo’s: For those who prefer to have healthy options for the late-night drmunchies, there is now an all new Turkberry (Turkey Carberry) which is just as delicious as a normal Chicken Carb, but definitely healthier. Compliment your sandwich with the new-and-improved sauce line—it’s now self-serve and features the new cucumber wasabi sauce and bacon chèvre spread, among others.

The Three Burners station has also stepped up its game. During the fall semester, you can be sure to see dumplings, tacos, and a mashed potato bar. An order of dumplings gets you five dumplings with the option to mix and match different kinds (options include chicken teriyaki, edamame, and more) and choose a dipping sauce. As for the tacos, you can choose one of several proteins, including duck confit, shrimp, and pulled pork. The mashed potato bar will have a range of options from which to choose; the flavors range from sweet to savory, so there’s something for everyone. During the spring semester, the station will feature pho, french toast, and crepes. Yeah, Jo’s is getting fancy.

Lastly, there will be a new gourmet grilled cheese line for cheese lovers. You can build your own grilled cheese and include 12 different types of cheeses that Jo’s has made available. There are also different add-ins, including tomatoes, avocado, and spinach. To top it all off,  it’s served with a side of chips and a pickle. Boom.

The Gate: Though the Gate is known worldwide for its current pizza offerings, get ready for even more: it will now be serving Margherita, Smoked Italian Sausage, and Local Harvest pizzas and be using more in-season and organic vegetables as toppings. Keeping with the Italian theme, there will be occasional pasta nights during which you can pick your pasta (e.g. cavatelli), and they will sauté it in front of you (!) and add a sauce.

Additionally, last year’s Gate Barbecue was so successful that BDS has decided to add BBQ Fridays. Every Friday, there will be different BBQ themed options: BBQ Pulled Chicken Paninis, BBQ Pork Pizza, Cheeseburger Pizza, and coleslaw. Rest assured, the Gate is definitely a go-to option for people with different tastes this year.

Also be sure to look out for the going-away party for the Gate at the end of the semester. In case you haven’t heard, the Gate will be closing in December and will be moving to the basement of Andrews.

The Ivy Room: The Ivy Room will feature healthier smoothies with ingredients such as kale, spinach, and gluten-free organic coconut milk (Ed.-!!!!!!!). The eatery has replaced fried rice with grilled soft taco “quesaditas” that will be filled with queso fresco, quinoa chili, and veggies and served with rice, salsa, lettuce, and guacamole. The Mac and Cheese station will also be testing out new ingredients periodically based on student responses. In short, the Ivy Room is fit for a feast.

Poppy’s: This more remote eatery will be getting a lot more traffic with these changes. Grammy’s Poppy’s will unveil its “Fresh Blends,” which are concoctions of fresh fruit and herbs, your choice of Chobani yogurt, and your choice of Odwalla drink. The options currently include Berry-Flavored, Protein-Heavy, and Super Food Fresh Blends, but more options will be added as the year progresses. Fresh Blends are priced at $6.90 per drink; if you were to buy just the Odwalla and Chobani, you’d be spending $6.60, so it’s a really great deal and perfect for a post-workout boost. Poppy’s also now has a granola bar with several types of granola complemented by add-ins including dried fruit and seeds. If you’re looking to get your fix of grains, Poppy’s is the place to go.

BDS has worked all summer to implement these changes. An exciting, healthy, and more varied culinary experience is unfolding in front of our eyes. Visit the different eateries and test out the new options. Also be sure to give constructive feedback: BDS also would love your suggestions for future changes. Who knows—you might be able to see your suggestion be the next big hit at Brown.

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