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In Light of Survey, Improvements to Muddy River Café

Photo: Abbi Matheson '17

Photo: Abbi Matheson ’17

If the Emmanuel College chapel is the heart of our token campus body, what does that make the Muddy River café beneath it?  From all accounts before recent times and the 2013 Administration building renovation, our mystical third dining option was not the campus capillary it was intended to be. If a scattering of fifty year old photos from the Cardinal Cushing Library give any impression to the space it was, the Muddy River Café was a terracotta-tiled bowel, albeit a remotely functioning one.

Virtually no evidence remains today (no pieces left behind!) of the Muddy River Café’s sordid past, minus the exception of a large refrigerator reminiscent of those mid-century blues. The new fridge is now home to grab-and-go salads with mixed chicken and steak. On a small group tour of the updated facilities during Tuesday night’s open house, we were reminded that this fridge could provide serious relief for wait times and long lines throughout the café. (Side note: The Muddy River Café now offers “composed salads” as well, which feature hearty and garden fresh ingredients. The risotto, tomato, basil, mozzarella and feta cheese salad is highly recommended and was less a composure than a delicious orchestra.)

Today there is ample seating for 175 hungry students and faculty members. It can fill up quickly, but at the height of capacity during a weekday afternoon the room still insulates those who prefer a quieter atmosphere to eat and work.

While a lovely alternative to the main dining hall, in a survey provided by the staff of Bon Appetit last fall, students responded that they inevitably felt mounting pressure from the existing management of stations. Enter the new “Express side line” for small dishes like yummy mac-and-cheese and veggies, taking place of the former pasta option by the pizza station. New equipment will also allow faster turnout of regular favorite sandwiches and specialty items, while menus were reduced by some items to help mitigate crowds.

Assume that a side dish is still its own meal; no mention of changes related to how meal options are considered was spoken of during the tour.

According to the survey, many students felt under served when seeking healthy dining options on campus. During the group tour, our guide spoke about the gluten-free variety of foods now available in the Muddy River, helping to alleviate the burden for those who are calorie conscious or who wish to eat lighter portions.

Bon Appetit has appeared before the SGA on several occasions to address changes and concerns. If you would like to contact Bon Appetit @Emmanuel, visit or e-mail General Manager Kelly McDonald at

Paul Rowley ’16 is a Staff Writer and Columnist for The Hub. Follow him on Twitter @almanacalism or e-mail him

Posted by on January 15, 2015. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.