White Hall cafe offers healthier alternative to fast food

Allen Hines

A new cyber cafe is now an option for the 1,000-plus people who work and take classes in White Hall every day.

The focus of the new cafe is healthier food and smaller portions with a menu of low-fat items, including salads, wraps and other snacks.

“We have smaller cookies that are not as big as your head,” said Greta Siler, director of the cafe. “They’re like a normal-sized cookie in hopes that you’ll have a sandwich, maybe a piece of fruit with it. You’ll have room for it.”

Every item in the cafe has zero grams of trans fat, which, like saturated fat, can cause heart disease.

Siler said she became involved after David England, former dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services, approached Dining Services about creating a place to eat in White Hall. Dining Services suggested the School of Family and Consumer Studies tackle the project. At that point, Siler’s master’s adviser suggested she make it her project.

After two years, the cafe is now open.

“The Health Department came and said everything looked very good, and, actually, they said they were very impressed,” Siler said.

Prices at the cafe are comparable to those around campus. One difference is that smaller wraps cost less. The cafe accepts cash and FlashCash. It does not accept meal plans because it is not part of Dining Services. They also do not accept credit cards to avoid the 5 percent fee on sales.

The cafe also has Wi-Fi and two big-screen TVs.

Siler said all employees are nutrition and dietetics or hospitality management majors. Half are ServSafe certified, meaning they have taken a class and passed a test on safely preparing food.

Fast-food restaurants sit across the street from White Hall, but Siler said she hopes, in addition to the healthier food, a relaxed atmosphere, along with convenience, will attract more customers.

“Most days I go across the street, but today we decided to try this because it was new,” said Lynne Guillot, assistant professor in the Office of Counseling and Human Development Services.

Contact College of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Allen Hines at [email protected].