After an explosion damaged the Downunder Cafe and Argenta Hall on July 5, the University of Nevada, Reno, has created new dining experiences.
In an effort to continue to serve students living on campus with a meal plan, Nevada Dining created Howler Village and the Overlook Eatery in place of the Downunder Cafe.
“When we faced the challenge of the event on July 5, we knew right away our challenge was to feed the volume of students once they got on campus,” Nevada Dining Resident District Manager Cody Begg said. “We immediately put some plans in place to build phase one.”
Howler Village is the first phase of the new dining system, according to Nevada Dining Resident District Manager Cody Begg.
In addition to creating Howler Village, the Overlook was converted to the Overlook Eatery. The Eatery features stations from the Downunder Cafe, such as the Comfort Carvery, Wok and Omelet Station. The menu looks similar to options offered at the Downunder Cafe, according to Begg.
The Overlook Eatery sees more guests throughout the day, which Rich says is likely due to the wider range of hours. The Overlook is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night meal services, while Howler Village is only open for lunch and dinner.
“In a way we kind of really had an advantage because we have two facilities and we only really had one before,” Begg said. “We also had disadvantages because one facility is a tent structure.”
By the end of the fall 2019 semester, Nevada Dining hopes to have implemented the second phase of the new dining system. The next phase—The Den—will feature a semi-permanent temporary structure on a concrete foundation.
“It will be an aluminum-framed structure that will look and feel like a building,” Begg said. “It has doors like a building and it has air conditioning like a building.”
Although Nevada Dining says the menu of the new dining facilities are comparable to that of the Downunder Cafe, some students still feel unsatisfied with the options for those on a restricted diet.
“So for the last 9 months before and up to starting NevadaFIT I was a pretty strict vegan and super healthy,” first-year student and Wolf Pack Tower resident Tommie Chapter-Clark said. “I specified in my meal plan that I’m vegan and was operating under the idea that there would be substantial options for me daily so I could maintain my vegan lifestyle. Upon arriving to NevadaFIT, where we almost exclusively ate at Howler village, there were sometimes options for me but they often times were not enough to be a substantial meal, or it made me very sick. In the span of 5 days in NevadaFIT, I lost close to 10 pounds due to the lack of meal options I had. I quickly decided that that wasn’t healthy for me and I had to stop being vegan because I was so physically weak and exhausted by the end of NevadaFIT. When the school year started, I was hoping the Overlook would have vegan options in the allergy and special diet section but there was not and they consistently had little to no substantial options for vegans and I was practically forced out of veganism because of it.”
Rich said Nevada Dining aims to have at least one vegetarian protein source per facility, but they often have two or more. Begg said Nevada Dining likely offers more vegetarian meal options this year than in years prior.
“The challenge is now we have more vegetarian options but we’re in two different places,” Rich said. “So now where we two items over here and four items over here, that’s more than we did before over at the Downunder but they’re spread across two places, but obviously they can only swipe into one place or the other.”
Begg said students can find the menus for both Howler Village and the Overlook Eatery in the Dine On Campus app and on menu boards outside both facilities.
Multiple students expressed dissatisfaction to the Nevada Sagebrush regarding allergy-safe foods.
Begg said Nevada Dining knows the approximately 30 students with severe allergies by name and attempts to work with them to offer adequate dining options at both the Overlook Eatery and Howler Village. Additionally, the Overlook Eatery offers a G-8 station, which offers foods free of all eight major allergens.
Rich said Nevada Dining encourages students to report if they feel they are not being offered adequate options for their diets and nutritional needs by completing a feedback form at dineoncampus.com/unr/feedback.
Olivia Ali can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @OliviaNAli