Since returning to school, countless gossip and speculation has arisen about a new dining facility on campus. I’m here to confirm that the rumors are true: UREC has officially opened a new dining café. 

For those of you who are challenged in the exercise department like I am, don’t stress. We’ve got all the details on what this café has to offer, as well as what your fellow Dukes are thinking about this new addition to JMU. 

Fast Facts

• This café is located on the first floor of UREC (no stairs!) and is open from 7:30am-10pm.

• The café is officially run by Freshens Fresh Food Studio, a company committed to natural ingredients that benefit the environment and the community.

• Yes, you better believe it: THEY TAKE PUNCHES.

• On-the-go sushi and sandwiches are available for a quick fix.

• And oh yeah, a fully operational Starbucks is open for all students and faculty. 

What's on the menu?

Salads: In case you want to continue your healthy streak after working out or just want to skip the workout entirely and not feel guilty, many salads are available on the menu. These salad options include Roadhouse BBQ Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, and Greek, and can also come served in a crepe.

Crepes: Golden or multigrain crepes are available as both lunch, dinner, and dessert options. Some favorites are the Southwest Crepe, the Pesto Chicken Crepe, and the Hummus Crepe. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available.

Stuffed Baguettes: What’s better than a baguette? One that’s stuffed with more delicious ingredients. Some available options are the Chicken Caesar Salad, the Western Scrambler, and the Po’Boy.

Mac and Cheese: Yes, you read that correctly, there is an entire section of the menu devoted solely to Mac and Cheese. As if standard cheese and pasta weren’t enough, you can choose from options such as the Italiano, BBQ Bacon Cheddar, and Four Cheese. Basically, prepare to gain back all the chub you just burned off in your workout.

Rice Bowls: Rice bowls are the most popular item on the new menu, as stated by the staff. Similar to Chipotle, your dish is filled with brown or white rice and topped with vegetables, meats, and sauces. 

Many of these bowls are internationally inspired, such as the Spicy Korean Bowl, the Mexican Bowl, the Cajun, and the Florence. Better yet, if you don’t see one you like, you can create your own. 

What are students saying?

Positive Feedback 

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“I don’t even know. It was SO good. It tingled my senses. I had the spicy buffalo mac and cheese and it was warm, moist, delicious, and reminded me why I love James Madison University.” –Dyer, Class of 2019

“I am super excited about it, because now I can work out and also grab healthy food afterwards. I’m really looking forward to trying it.” –Stephanie, Class of 2019

“It’s a great place to get a healthy post-workout meal. It improves muscle recovery as well as replenishing glycogen stores. It’s really nice for working out in the morning because I can grab a cup of coffee on my way to class, which is super convenient.” –Mikey, UREC Employee, Class of 2018

Negative Feedback:

“I haven’t been, I’m not a huge fan of eating after I work out or before I work out. It takes me like 30-45 minutes before I’m ready to eat. I never stick around. I’ll vomit if I eat.” –Joe, Class of 2018

“I’m kind of apathetic towards it because I’m not sure if there’s anything there I like and don’t know if I could eat after working out.” –Kerry, Class of 2019

General Confusion:

“There’s a café there? I haven’t even been to UREC yet.” –Ryan, transfer student and Class of 2018

Final Thoughts

A photo posted by Jacob Carlin (@jacobcarlin) on

Regardless of how you feel about the food, the new UREC itself is definitely worth checking out. There's a 137,815 square foot addition, so odds are you'll find something to do. While you're there, go visit the new UREC cafe and try it for yourself. 

Who knows, you might find a new food you love, and as a bonus, you can claim you were working out the whole time.