As a first-year or sophomore at Colgate, you don’t have a kitchen in your living space, and are bound to a dining hall meal plan. What this means is that you’re subject to eating in Frank Dining Hall a considerable amount over your first two years.
In my days as an underclassman, this was an unfortunate circumstance, given the unreliability and underachievement of Frank at the time.
Since then, things have changed. Out went Sodexo and in came Chartwell’s as the school’s new food provider. Though I’m not on a meal plan, the switch-over gave me good incentive to head back to Frank and relive the experience as a senior.
So, on one brave Thursday afternoon, I ventured into the dining hall…and actually came out impressed.
Like in the past, there are a few everyday offerings in Frank: burgers, eggs, pizza, pasta, and sandwich and salad bars. However, Chartwell’s has stepped up the options a big notch. In addition to burgers (and veggie burgers, like my friend got on her salad above), you can find grilled chicken, grilled cheese, sausage-pepper-onion, and other classic griddle sandwiches on the regular, along with different french fry variations (sweet potato and curly, anyone?).
The salad bar now has avocado. No, this is not a drill. Avocado is a standard thing in Frank now. That goes for sushi too – there are two sushi options daily. And the sandwich bar has a panini-maker, because, y’know, people do like warm deli sandwiches.
Then, there are the abundant rotating stations for entrées and sides, including a vegetarian station. And both rotisserie and tandoor ovens spice things up even further, adding to the international flair that you’ll now find in the Frank cuisine.
On the day that I went, I filled up on vegetable sushi, chicken marsala, green bean-potato curry, and Moroccan vegetable stew with couscous. On other days, you’ll find Greek marinated chicken, Asian stir-frys, Churrasco and Latin-spiced pork, and Tuscan vegetables.
Plus, that’s not to say that the good ol’ USA doesn’t get represented in the cuisine – slow-cooked barbecue brisket and rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes, sautéed kale, and other sides would like to argue otherwise.
It’s safe to say that my revisit to Frank was positive. I was able to get a feel for what one could find in the updated dining hall, and feel like a first-year one more time. One problem with that, though: Frank is good enough to merit my coming back for lunch, even as a senior off the meal plan. And it’s easy to forget how great it feels to get as much food as you want for a fixed price. Or free, if you can find an underclassman with some meal swipes to spare.