Colleges and universities unveil new menu options

This school year, many campuses are expanding their plant-based roster and use of global flavors.
Many universities are expanding their plant-based options. / Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

As the 2022-23 school year kicks off, colleges and universities are enticing students with refreshed food concepts and changes to their menus.

From new dining locations to expanded plant-based options, here’s what’s in store for some colleges and universities this year.

University of Texas at San Antonio (USTA) adds new dining locations

USTA brought two new restaurant brands to campus—Rising Roll Gourmet Cafe and Freshens Fresh Food Studio. Rising Roll menus gourmet sandwiches, salads and soups, and its breakfast dishes range from burritos and avocado toast to croissant sandwiches.

Freshens offers customizable, healthy options, some of which are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. Freshens also offers grilled flatbreads, crepe salads and rice bowls. In addition, it will offer a rotating menu of “trending now” items, such as artisan melts, pizzas and pasta bakes.

University of Connecticut expands plant-based options

UConn, which last year opened an entirely plant-based cafe, has added more plant-based options to its menus. The new additions include coconut yogurt and two brands of plant-based cheese. Retail locations will also begin to sell vegan egg sandwiches and a beef analogue crumble. In addition, dining halls will also offer breakfast taco and dumpling bars.

John Hopkins University menuing freshly rolled sushi

This summer, John Hopkins’ dining team became self-operated after ending its partnership with Bon Appetit. The new program comes with some new menu items, including freshly rolled sushi. The university has also added a build-your-own bowl station and a new coffee and dessert concept that features locally made gelato.

Western Carolina University adds two new dining stations

Western Carolina’s Blue Ridge Burger will feature high-quality burgers including a vegan version, as well as a fish sandwich, Philly cheesesteak and a hot dog. The university is also adding a sandwich concept called 1889 Bistro, which will offer Reubens, roast beef, subs and grilled cheeses. Both concepts, which will be operated by Aramark, will serve hand-cut fries, house-fried chips and house-made coleslaw.

Simon Fraser University opens doors to new dining commons

A new dining facility at Canadian university Simon Fraser offers customizable options for students with a range of food preferences and restrictions. It has a focus on global cuisines and plant-based options, which will be served at the facility’s more than 10 new culinary stations. Offerings include a teppanyaki grill, sushi, wok cooking and made-to-order salads. Additionally, the building features a pantry dedicated to gluten-free options.