College Rearranges Late Night Food Options to Make Up for Grille Cuts

By CAROLINE KAPP

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS
Wilson Café will extend its hours on Monday and Tuesday nights to compensate for The Grille’s early closing time.

Hungry students in search of a late-night snack are now facing limited options on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Starting this semester, The Grille will close its doors at 2 p.m. on those days, while maintaining its typical hours during the rest of the week, closing at midnight on Wednesday and Sunday and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Detora explained the cut in hours as part of an ongoing effort to review dining options on campus, citing lower student traffic at The Grille on Monday and Tuesday nights. He explained that the college is trying to better satisfy student needs while also being fiscally responsible.

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Baishakhi Taylor defended the cut to Grille hours, citing the greater number of students who eat in dining halls early in the week. “Monday dinners averaged 99.6 percent participation last year and Tuesday averaged 98.6 percent,” she said. These numbers drop throughout the week as more students make use of alternative dining options. 

Student services is currently evaluating dining options on campus by studying how students use the facilities. Taylor reiterated Detora’s goal of allocating resources to the places where students use them the most.

Student Government Association (SGA) President Nia Robinson ’19 explained that while the SGA discussed the closing, it is ultimately outside their jurisdiction since it is a staffing, budgetary and usage issue. Robinson noted that while many students are upset, they understand the rationale for the change.

Robinson acknowledged the concern around student access to late night dining options on campus. However, Taylor emphasized that the college had actually expanded — not reduced — the eating options for students by making this change.

To make up for the reduction in Grille hours, Wilson Café will now be open until midnight on Monday and Tuesday with a full menu, and GrilleMe will deliver bagel sandwiches as an alternative to Grille food. GrilleMe completed their first round of bagel sandwich deliveries on Sept. 24. 

Midd-Xpress will continue to be open until midnight and Crossroads will stay open until 10 p.m. Midd-Xpress offers healthy snacks such as yogurt parfaits and fruit cups along with new Grab and Go sandwiches, wraps and salads as well as a new pizza option with a variety of toppings.

In an interview last year, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration David Provost said that he would like for McCullough to become more of a student center. “I don’t believe it reflects what most student centers on college campuses look like,” he said. 

While the cut in Grille hours might appear to contradict this goal, Detora explained that he plans to set up an advisory committee that will discuss ways to improve the Grille this fall. The committee will consist of students, faculty and staff.

Taylor expressed an ongoing commitment to strengthening social life on campus. “We seek to understand more about what students show us they want, which is not always the same as what they say they want,” she said.

Students on the full meal plan will continue to have a $25 declining balance each semester. Taylor said that, looking forward, there are improvements to be made at the Grille and even opportunities for food options at the Athletic Center.

While some students may be disappointed that they can no longer order a Dr. Feel Good to accompany their Monday night homework, Nicholas Nonnenmacher ’21 affirmed that the Chicken Parm sandwich from Wilson Café is “an artfully crafted masterpiece.”

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College Rearranges Late Night Food Options to Make Up for Grille Cuts