UPDATED: Tortellini Tuesday sells out before 4:30 p.m.; Local Java’s hours reduced

Campus Dining announced five changes to menu and location options over Instagram this week.

Buns+on+the+Run+food+truck

The Buns on the Run food truck visited campus during lunch hours on Sept. 10. (Hustler Staff/Emma Mattson)

Emma Mattson, Copy Editor

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect Vanderbilt Campus Dining’s transition to Stage 3 of the Campus Dining Reopening Plan, effective Sept. 21.

Vanderbilt Campus Dining announced several changes to their services this week, including updated Munchie Mart side options, the return of classic Rand dinners, reduced Local Java hours and a new lunch pickup spot near the Blair School of Music. 

Campus Dining transitioned on Sept. 21 to Stage 3 of the Campus Dining Reopening Plan, which allows graduate students, residential faculty and other faculty and staff to purchase food in dining locations across campus.

Tortellini Tuesday Returns

Campus Dining announced on Sept. 11 that Rand would reinstate several dinner menu items that had been discontinued during the first months of COVID-19. Beginning Monday, Sept. 14, students were able to pre-order a customized version of the dinner special, including tortellini bowls on Tuesdays and grain bowls on Fridays. 

“I’m super excited for Tort Tuesday’s to be revived!” junior Blair Lipham said in a message to The Hustler. “My roommate and I always looked forward to getting tortellini last year, so we will definitely be hitting it up when they put it in the circulation!”

Campus Dining Instagram screenshot
Screenshot taken from @vandycampusdining (Hustler Staff/Emma Mattson)

The menu item’s popularity was corroborated early Tuesday night: according to @vandycampusdining’s Instagram story, Tortellini Tuesday pre-orders were sold out by 4:30 p.m. 

“We have to make a limited amount because we can only serve so many students an hour (bc social distancing),” Campus Dining said in an Instagram comment.

Local Java’s hours reduced

Campus Dining announced on Friday, Sept. 11 that Local Java’s hours would be reduced to 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Since its opening this year on Aug. 24, the coffee shop had previously been open until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

Junior Bethsy Harrigan said the change in hours would generally hurt the student population.

“Many people go to Local Java between [or] after classes to get their caffeine boost or a quick meal,” Harrigan said in a message to The Hustler. “With an already limited dining selection, this change makes it even more difficult for students to find adequate food options. I am sure there is reasoning behind the early closing, but it just seems like students are getting blindsided and our best interest isn’t being considered anymore.” 

New Blair Pickup Spot

Effective Friday, Sept. 11, Campus Dining moved the University Club pickup spot to the Blair School of Music. The Instagram announcement received positive feedback from Blair students. 

“It’s great to finally have full meals available at Blair,” junior Sophia Meyer said in a message to The Hustler. “Having a pickup spot at our building makes us feel like a part of Vanderbilt’s campus.”

Per Lipham, Blair students last year frequented the Highland Munchie Mart’s hot bar and the Suzie’s Cafe located in Blair. Since neither the hot bar nor that particular Suzie’s location is currently operational, Blair students had been struggling to find good food close by, Lipham said. 

“I’m really glad we were seen because, even though we have the smallest number of students, we have the highest return rate of students during COVID and probably the highest rate of in person classes,” Lipham said. 

Meyer and Lipham both said they hope the pickup spot remains even after COVID-19 regulations on Campus Dining lift.

“I would often find myself at Blair from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. because of class time and practice time combined with night rehearsals,” Lipham said. “I really hope this pick up spot can become more permanent after COVID-19.”

Food Trucks on Campus Daily

On Sept. 7, Campus Dining began welcoming a rotation of food trucks to campus, located behind the Bishop Johnson Black Cultural Center (BCC) and near Blair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

First-year Daniel Katcher said he decides whether to frequent the food trucks based on the Rand menu for the day. 

“I wasn’t super excited about the dining hall options today,” Katcher said, “so [it is] definitely nice to have that [alternative].” 

For Smokin’ Buttz BBQ food truck owner-operator John Cathey, the Campus Dining rotation adds a bit of variety to a schedule affected by COVID. 

“We normally do a lot of lunch spots, a lot of office buildings,” Cathey said. “But since corona’s been going on, we mostly do a lot of dinners.” 

Per Cathey, a good day at Vanderbilt means serving at least 45 students. The Bubs truck did a trial run near Blair at the beginning of the semester and has been back on campus multiple times throughout the past two weeks. 

Buns on the Run food truck owner operator Marlin Singletary said the truck has visited Vanderbilt a few times through the past several years. 

“Seeing the students coming back out, enjoying the interaction with them, being something new and fresh—that’s the excitement that we have today,” Singletary said. 

Students Encounter Raw Chicken and Maggots at Commons

On Sept. 2, first-year Thomas Higgins was served a chicken nugget that appeared raw inside.

“I emailed Campus Dining a video and a strongly worded email about my displeasure,” Higgins said in a message to The Hustler. “The person that responded was quite nice and offered two free meal swipes. While they didn’t say it in the email, they also credited me 20 dollars of meal money.”

Despite the remuneration, Higgins said he feels disappointed in Campus Dining overall. 

“Overall the food has been very poor,” Higgins said. “I truly have no idea how someone could use more than 10-12 meal swipes at the most a week with the quality of the food.”

Maggot in Commons Dining Hall broccoli

Screenshot of email

Screenshot of Instagram post
Screenshots taken from @xoxovandyfoodreviewnotofficial. (Hustler Staff/Emma Mattson)

Two weeks later, a student found a maggot in a piece of broccoli while eating lunch at Commons. 

According to email screenshots posted on Sept. 16 by @xoxovandyfoodreviewnotofficial, Campus Dining offered to provide the student in question two flex meals in compensation.

“Undercooking chicken and washing produce [sic] are a gross violation of our own Internal Standard Operating Procedures, and are taking swift corrective action,” the email from Campus Dining reads in part. “Our operations management team has notified the unit manager, who will be retraining staff on proper food safety protocols.”