The Fresh feels new but remains dull


Brian Winters

Brian Winters

Considering the number of petitions that have sprung up over the past few years, it comes as to no surprise that the Fresh would at least attempt to reconstruct its less-than-stellar reputation. Sadly, while there may be a new assortment of greasy food, the Fresh ultimately remains the same.

It is no secret that the Fresh Food Company on the Southern Miss campus has been a place that students tend to dread dining in when compared to other restaurants on campus. Their complaints seem justified, considering several heavily-signed petitions begging for some sort of change in the campus’ cafeteria.

Many students have complained that the number of options is sorely limited, catering to unhealthy food choices while ushering vegan options to the back of the cafeteria. There have also been several videos concerning undercooked, ill-prepared portions, causing further uproar about a more well-run central dining area. Some students simply wish for tastier food and much more variety than what is currently offered.

Over the years, the Fresh has accommodated to these complaints, shifting food preparation stations, filling the menu with more unique food options and making the fiasco of throwing away trash move much quicker. Employees of the Fresh have clearly made an effort at appealing to students with these admittedly minor upgrades, and the facility deserves much more credit than it receives. However, the most recent renovations add virtually nothing to one’s dining experience and even make changes for the worse when it comes to healthy options.

To start, the Fresh has gotten rid of its iconic chicken sandwiches that were pretty much exclusive to the cafeteria. Instead, it now offers chicken and fries baskets that are lacking in both flavor and portions.

Often compared to the local Raising Cane’s restaurant, the Fresh’s new chicken strips are virtually tasteless, as if the strips have been overcooked. While there are plenty of fries in each basket, there simply isn’t enough of both chicken and fries to satisfy a student.

Another new addition is the Fresh’s taco bar, which is easily the best thing about this new Fresh. Rather than occasionally offering the popular Mexican delicacy, tacos are now available every day, and they’re fairly tasty. Fish, chicken and beef tacos are all options, and the queso to top it off is a nice touch.

The new pseudo-bakery adds nothing besides an aesthetic change to the Fresh. The pastries remain relatively unchanged, offering very familiar flavors of cookies. There is very little to offer beyond the usual assortment of over-baked brownies and pies.

While the burgers and hot dogs have received a new station boasting new wrappers and a holding corral, the vegan section has been pushed to the side, hardly ever manned and rarely stocked with food. The salad bar also remains in its lackluster state, and the various vegetables that are offered are still bland and do little in the department of appeal.

Though there have been various cosmetic adjustments made to the Fresh, it blatantly remains unchanged in quality and variety. For those searching for a greasy meal that will only add inches to the waste, it may be perfect for your palate. However, any sort of nutrition is hard to come by when there’s such little to choose from.