SURC Fresh Bar opens despite pandemic

Mitchell Roland, Senior Reporter

While few students remain on campus, those who do have a new dining option.

The new option, Fresh Bar, opened at the start of spring quarter in the SURC. The new eatery features a menu including items such as avocado toast, salmon and fresh juice. Dean Masuccio, the director of dining services, said it was important for the restaurant to open to provide students with more choices.

“We wanted to balance out with the other options that are open,” Masuccio said. “We were committed to providing this new option.”

Masuccio said while options such as a burger or chicken tenders are still available, Fresh Bar offers students a lighter alternative.

Masuccio said Fresh Bar is taking extra safety measures, such as only offering takeout and requiring customers to follow social distancing guidelines while waiting for their food. A plexiglass window was installed between customers and the cashier to limit interaction.

In the kitchen, Masuccio said, employees are preparing the food in smaller portions and are also following social distancing guidelines.

Though Fresh Bar is open, a second restaurant scheduled to open in the spring, Panini, will now not open for several months. Masuccio said the sandwich shop will likely open fully in the fall.

Though Fresh Bar is open, few students have tried it out. Masuccio said Dining Services is currently only serving about 5% of the customers they typically do.

However, Masuccuio said the reactions from those who have eaten at Fresh Bar have been positive, and he anticipates more customers when students return to campus.

“I only see it going up from here,” Masuccio said.

Amos Kibathi, a freshman majoring in physics and engineering, said he’s sparsely visited  Fresh Bar since it opened. Kibathi said while he enjoyed a recent sample of a vitality shot the eatery was giving out, he didn’t like the wrap he ate during his other trip.

“They were a little bit too cold when I ate them,” Kibathi said.

Kibathi said rather than going to Fresh Bar, he prefers the other food the SURC has available such as Lion’s Rock Broiler.

“The burgers are pretty good,” Kibathi said.

Arthur Mosiman, a junior business administration and economics double major, said Fresh Bar is a welcomed addition, and it represents who he is.

“If I was a place who sold food in the SURC, this would be me,” Mosiman said.

Mosiman said a restaurant that serves kombucha and soup embodies who he is as a person, and he’s been pushing for a restaurant like Fresh Bar since Masuccio arrived on campus. While Mosiman said he enjoys the fresh juices, the other food in the SURC isn’t special.

“It’s passable. It’s SURC food,” Mosiman said.

Mosiman said his favorite menu item is the Mediterranean bowl with chicken.

Tomas Mariscal, a sophomore physics major, said he goes to Fresh Bar quite a bit and estimated he’s visited 10 to 15 times since opening.

“I’ve gone to try out now almost every single juice that they have,” Mariscal said. “There’s maybe only like one that I haven’t tried.”

Mariscal said he enjoys the apple carrot juice, which his mom used to make him when he was younger. Marisical also said he enjoys the poke bowl at the eatery.

“I’ve tried their classic poke bowl and the spicy one,” Mariscal said. “Both are really good. I really enjoy them.”

While Panini won’t open until the fall, Masuccio said students will have an opportunity to get a taste of the menu in the coming weeks. Masuccio said Dining Services is holding mini pop-ups every Tuesday, where a currently closed dining option will open with limited items, and that Panini will open for a pop-up soon.

Masuccio said the mini pop-ups are intended “to provide some variety” for students who are still on campus.