If I May: I Love the Burger Bar
Issue   |   Tue, 01/23/2018 - 22:38

The longer I have been at Amherst, the more my opinion of Valentine Dining Hall has soured. This is not to say that I have a problem with the way the dining hall is run, and of course it is not to say anything derogatory about the incredible Val staff. I have simply become tired of the limited food options. Our cyclical meal schedule is the main culprit for my weariness of Val’s food; I like most of the “Traditional” lunch and dinner options, but many of them occur so often that they’ve lost their zeal. Furthermore, when I do not like the “Traditional” options, there is not much else I am interested in at this point.

Of course, these complaints are pretty much not important at all. The fact that each day I get to walk into a room filled with prepared food of which I can take as much as I want is an immense privilege for which I am greatly thankful. Furthermore, Val has taken measures to increase food options, like the upgraded panini presses and the stir-fry station. It is also clear that the Val staff and those in charge of making changes are aware that increasing the choices of food is a great way to increase the overall quality of the dining hall. That is why I was so pleased to see, over the past couple of lunch periods, the addition of the Burger Bar (located where the pasta station normally is).

Before I speak very positively about the Burger Bar, I will admit that I am not sure that it’s a permanent addition, so this whole article could be moot if they decide not to continue with it. However, from what I’ve seen, it seems like it has been well-used by students so far, so I am hopeful.

If you haven’t checked out the Burger Bar yet, I strongly recommend doing so. It has a meat burger (one day it was chicken-quinoa, the next it was a standard hamburger) as well as a veggie burger option. In addition, it has onions, mushrooms and peppers, all sautéed, to use as toppings for the burgers, or for whatever other Val creations you can come up with. This addition to the Val menu is huge for many reasons. First, it adds another hot food option, which is always a plus. Second, and perhaps more significantly, it adds another hot food option for vegetarians. While I am not a vegetarian (and I know from talking to some vegetarian friends that Val does have a decent selection of non-meat choices), I can imagine that adding a significant aspect of a meal (a veggie burger) makes a significantly positive difference. For me personally, the sautéed veggies are the best part of the Burger Bar. Not only are these toppings delicious on a burger and are not normally served on traditional burger days, they also can be great additions to other Val meals.

I am often one to be fairly critical of Val (sometimes unfairly so, I’m sure). Often, these complaints boil down to a lack of options, especially when compared to other college dining halls. However, I also know that the Val staff — both those in charge of preparing the food and those in charge of making conceptual changes — work tirelessly to make our dining experience as positive as possible. The addition of the Burger Bar is another example of the Valentine staff understanding that students want a variety of options, and that any increase in variety is an increase in quality.

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