Gilbert’s Café: A Review

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Rachel Rubino

 

Photos by Rachel Rubino ‘17 and Hana Isihara ’17

Since returning to campus, students have been buzzing about the renovations made to the menus at various Lafayette eateries. Considerable changes have been made to the food offered at Gilbert’s Café. My friends and I were anxious to see if the modifications lived up to last year’s set of choices.

We visited Gilbert’s around 5pm on Monday during a homework break. The place was packed. Kerry Teemsma ‘16 concluded that, besides it being dinner hour, the café was busy due to its new hours. Gilbert’s now closes at 6pm on the weekdays rather than 12am.. As an engineering major, she was disappointed about this change due to her busy work schedule and later eating hours..

Although the line to place orders was long, the service was better than it was last year. This, we conceived, was due to a new ordering system that the staff installed. After you pay for your meal, you are given a buzzer to alert you when your food is ready. The efficient organization is reminiscent of the system used at the food chain TGI Friday’s among others.

The food, on the other hand, is not an improvement on its previous menu. Gilbert’s offers considerably less bar style foods than it did last year. The nacho and smoothie options vanished from the menu. Kerry and I took a moment of silence to grieve the loss of our favorite “late night munchies” options.

Healthier, larger meal options have replaced many of the snack items. For instance, the “Garden Bowl” section included different kinds of new salads such as the Chicken Chop Chop and Turkey Cobb. I settled on the Miso Salmon salad. Filled with fresh lettuce, Kalamata olives, glazed salmon, and sesame soy dressing, it was absolutely delicious. Since I tend to eat healthy, I was particularly gratified by the fact that many of the additions made to the menu were health-conscious.

Teemsma, extra hungry from a long day of classes, opted for the Three Cheese Mac n’Cheese. As the homemade macaroni warmed her belly, she happily reported her delight over the “Baked” section of the menu, which includes three unique assortments of Mac n’Cheese. Joe Ritter ‘17 got the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese sandwich on a toasted English Muffin. “It tastes just like Ma’s home cookin’” Ritter said. Ritter was also content with the establishment’s decision to serve breakfast all day.

Perhaps the most notable point of the dinner was when Sean Mcsherry ‘17 pointed out the price discrimination of the new menu options. He noted that the only Meal Exchange options are, in his opinion, less preferable food items. This means that students with less Flex Dollars, are deprived of equal access to more desirable food options. After studying the menu, I realized that all Meal Exchange options are not only less preferable, but also less healthy. The only truly healthful Meal Exchange options are the Mediterranean and Caesar salads. One cannot even order a side salad without charging it to Flex.

Overall, Gilbert’s menu changes can be seen in both a positive and negative light. While the food and service remain superior, the distribution of Meal Exchange options appears unfair. Whether or not these changes warrant disgruntlement essentially depends on the consumer.

Gilbert’s Café is open Monday-Thursday 8am – 6:30pm, Friday and Saturday 8am – 4pm, and is closed on Sundays.