Whether it’s a hazelnut latté with soy milk and Stevia or a slice of pizza with mushrooms, tomatoes, and pepperoni, PCC’s dining experience offers variety and freshness. College students, faculty, staff, and guests have an abundance of food options on campus at Four Winds, Varsity, and Grab N Go; plus items for sale at The Palms, The Common Grounds Café, Papa Johns, or The Hut.
“Variety is key to today’s consumers,” says Toby Baker, general manager of on-campus restaurants. “People are looking for their own personal niche in the food market so that when they’re here at PCC, they’re not just one of thousands of people on campus,” he said. “They want to have some of their favorite little things like at home. We’re trying to provide that home feel.”
Some of those little things include seven varieties of milk at The Common Grounds Café (including coconut and almond milk) and five types of sweeteners for drinks. Plus, fourteen different menus in the residential dining area are offered daily—from grilled hamburgers to Asian cuisine (not to mention dozens of desserts, from ice cream cones to slices of creamy peanut butter pie). According to Scott Cochran, director of Dining Services, “We do a little bit of a lot of things. All of the menus are so diverse now.”
With that diversity come healthier options like fish tacos with mango avocado salsa or grilled Italian chicken and asparagus atop a bed of savory quinoa. The Garden Bar, Gluten Free line, and Fresh and Healthy line are just three of the seven lines offered at Four Winds. Cold deli sandwiches, chicken and waffles, Philly cheesesteaks, and chicken fajitas are just a few of the many choices available at Four Winds.
Varsity sports the traditional soup and salad fixings along with three standard college favorites: the Pizza Bar, Hot Deli, and Chicken Tenders. For those in a hurry, the Grab N Go menu offers four different options daily, including a healthy choice like a chef salad served with apple slices and a granola bar.
“I find our products to be fresh, hand sorted for quality, and served with customer appreciation,” said student manager Dustin Howard (Jr., GA) who works at The Palms, Common Grounds Café, The Hut, and Papa Johns. “Personally, I enjoy the convenience of having choices available in case I become hungry in between meals.”
Once the Palms relocates in fall 2016, it will expand its offerings with the inclusion of a Fast Service menu of ready-made items. Baker says this menu option will offer cold menu items, drinks, and sides available immediately for purchase with no wait. Included in the Fast Service menu will be favorite cold sandwiches, salads, and wraps, as well as a variety of fresh fruit, chips, and yogurt. Emily Johnson (Jr., WI) can’t wait to get food from the new Palms Fast Service menu. “I like knowing that any time I order food it’s going to be high quality and extremely fresh,” she said.
For faculty and staff who remember dining in PCC’s early days, seeing the diversity of the food menu shows them how greatly the Lord has blessed PCC. English faculty Ann Raymond recalled when there was only one option for each meal and students looked forward to their favorite being served. It wasn’t all you could eat in those days, but it was simple, wholesome food. Now, time has added convenience and variety.
With over 10,000 meals served across campus daily, PCC’s Dining Services continually meet a high standard for freshness and variety. Senior Kirby Brandenburg (OH) appreciates that. “I enjoy the freshness and ability to live a healthy and active lifestyle through the variety of choices which are provided,” he said. “Dining Services really want to give the students what they want, and I believe they have done a more than ample job by providing fresh and delicious options any lifestyle can appreciate.”