Tufts Dining Services to expand campus food options

Newly updated Commons Marketplace is set to open later this fall. Alex Knapp / The Tufts Daily

Tufts Dining Services will implement a number of updates to its dining operations at Tufts this year in response to feedback from faculty, staff and students. The updates include a renovation of the Commons Deli and Grill, which will be reopened as the Commons Marketplace later this fall.

Director of Dining and Business Services Patti Klos explained that the new Commons Marketplace will feature five platforms: tossed salads, panini and wraps, grilled and fried products, a hot and cold food bar and groceries and local items.

There will also be a greater variety of food selections both in the Commons as well as other dining areas around campus, with foods such as sushi, customizable sandwiches and burritos, artisan flatbreads and high protein drinks now available, according to Klos.

She added that there will also be new and better equipment available at the Commons.

“Our [original] equipment was old and slow, making customers wait for their food longer than is desirable, and not up to industry standards,” Klos told the Daily in an email.

She said that because of these changes, Jumbo Express has closed. Some of its elements will be incorporated into the Commons and other locations, including Hodgdon On-the-Run and the Tufts bookstore.

“I’m really excited by all these different changes that are coming to Tufts Dining,” Alex Daniels, a junior, said. “It’ll be nice to be able to have more food options and be able to get groceries all in one place.”

As for updates to Tufts Dining’s other venues, the Tower Cafe will now be open weekdays at 10 a.m. and has a new variety of products on sale, according to Klos. Brown and Brew has a new floor and layout, with an open-air merchandiser allowing customers to self-serve, as well as an upcoming Chobani yogurt bar.

The Mugar Cafe in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy will now be serving hot entrees. The new Tufts kosher deli, which has now been named Pax et Lox, also has various changes in its food and drink choices, Klos added.

“Pax et Lox [has] several new sandwiches, including the Jason Brillon sandwich made of a house-poached chicken breast with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers and spinach, finished with a Grey Poupon Bistro Sauce,” Klos said.

Besides updates to various dining venues, the Premium Plan dining option now comes with $80 JumboCash and four guest meals, she added.

According to Klos, all of these changes come in light of the results of the annual Dining Student Satisfaction Survey conducted last November, along with focus groups and a follow up retail-survey for the Tufts community.

Tufts Dining is also working to be as environmentally green as possible in order to continue its commitment to Tufts’ sustainability initiatives, according to Communications Specialist of Tufts Dining Services Lyza Bayard.

This will include the continuance of the Tufts Farmers Market, now in its fifth year of operation, which is part of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, an initiative of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy that helps new farmers build strong businesses, expertise in the field and a resilient food system, Klos said. It runs Wednesdays from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on the lower patio of the Mayer Campus Center and will continue through Oct. 8.

Tufts Dining also continues to compost 80 percent of its waste, reduce overall waste, source locally and reduce packaging, according to Klos.  They have also switched to using unbleached food wrappers, recycled content takeout food containers and reduced self-service packing for takeout.

“[We use] as much fresh food and local food as possible, and we waste as little as possible,” Bayard told the Daily in an email. “I’m proud to be part of a department that cares about the students and the food we serve.”