Halfway through fall semester, cafe changes still cause unnecessary issues

By Brian Schnell
Features Editor

Two months have passed since County College of Morris drastically altered its cafeteria selections for higher prices and less variety, and many students have taken notice.

In late August, CCM replaced hot food selections in the Student Center and Quiznos in the Cohen Cafe with vending machines and a Chartwells monopoly.

Some students have said that the machines, namely the DigiTouch digital screen machines are dispensing the wrong items. Several of the machines have been reported to just take money and give nothing in return, just like that annoying ex we all have.

Mike Prestano, a music recording major at CCM, said that he had money refunded by the bookstore a few times when the DigiTouch machine incorrectly charged him. He said that a machine had accepted his payment and dispensed no food.

“It authorized my payment, and nothing happened, so that was pretty shitty,” Prestano said.

“I’d rather have the cafe back,” said graphic design major Julio Martinez III. “The pizza, mac n’ cheese, and pasta were better.”

Many students wish for the old cafe to be returned as the new vending machines seem to be a total bust.

“A myriad of problems,” said liberal arts major Zachary Pryer.

Vice President of Business and Finance Karen VanDerhoof did not respond to a request for comment.

It seems that despite the optimistic change in Cohen Cafe’s food selection options, there is no real hope in recapturing the sales of the previous semesters from the students. There is much agreement between students that as time goes on, the demand for the food in the cafe is lessening. The current demand seems to be too high for the cafe to handle even. Often, this results in a nasty bottleneck in the cafe as people wait for their food to be made during peak times, but during non peak times one can see lukewarm burgers, cold onion rings, and tater tots with a questionable taste.

The most outrage appears to be coming from students who become aware that the chicken tenders were removed from the cafe yet still are unable to believe that there is still a slowdown in the ability to consistently pump out good edible food.

“I’m disappointed; the chicken tenders were kind of a snack to eat since the burgers are too much and just eating fries sucks,” said Igor Ramos, a  business administration major.

The Cohen Cafe appears to be slowly removing options in an effort to keep up with the demand, yet by doing so the demand is driven down even further. Many students have expressed concern over this. The soups appear to be slowly vanishing into thin air as well as some sandwich options being removed, almost in favor of the expensive build-your-own system for salads. All of this without a notice or explanation. This drives many students towards the burgers, which in themselves cause a back up in preparation, causing a bigger bottleneck than multiple closed lanes on a highway.

The process of ordering food in the cafe could also use for a streamlining update. The cafe is always out of some sort of asian sauce or part of a secret formula, and students do not find this out until it’s too late and they are hassled by cafe staff to quickly change their order. This a major problem as a cafe should not be consistently running out of food multiple times each day, causing a back up and a lapse in the management of the crowds and overall demand.

Add in that there is barely one register open for students to pay for their food also shows that the cafe cannot keep up with the demand. Even when there is a massive line, the second register is usually not utilized. It seems as though the second register is more of a display item than a functioning cash register. Due to the huge crowd and backlog of people pooling in hopes of checking out and paying within that day, many students just walk through between the cash registers without paying for the food.

When the cafe is unable to handle the demand caused by the students, the students will go else where for food, which in turn will decrease the demand and lead to more and more problems. When this is added to the fact that affordable, better tasting, less sketchy. And better prepared food is available within walking distance, let alone a short drive, it’s the final backlogged, poorly prepared, lukewarm, disgusting nail in the cafe’s metaphorical coffin.


Vegan Options near CCM

Senior Layout Editor

Upon walking into the Cohen Cafeteria, valued County College of Morris students are greeted with the smells and sights of cheesy chicken quesadillas, deli meat subs made fresh to order from Quizno’s, and of course, their famous fried chicken fingers.

As a vegan, this is a nightmare.

Fear not, fellow vegans! We mustn’t go hungry while commuting to CCM and enduring a possible three-hour break in between classes. Whether you feel like fast food, healthier fare, or a relaxing sit-down meal, there are several options surrounding our campus with fulfilling, delicious, cruelty-free foods!

On Rt. 10 across from the Ledgewood mall, stands tall the local Taco Bell, whose tall tables and stools have catered to many a broke teenager stocking up on the Fire Sauce to throw in their glove boxes. Who would have thought that Taco Bell would actually be quite the oasis for vegans? Not I, but when I found these tips and tricks, things became a little bit easier when it came to the accessibility of fast food:

  • When ordering a Crunchwrap Supreme, simply ask for it to be fresco style (which replaces the cheese and sour cream with pico de gallo– delicious!) and ask for beans instead of beef. Luckily, the refried beans at Taco Bell are vegan! This is great for when you’re really hungry on a shoestring budget!
  • Alternatively, the 7 Layer Burrito has all the staples of a classic burrito while still being completely vegan! This is already meatless, so all you have to do is ask for it fresco style.
  • If you’re just feeling a small, salty snack, opt for the chips and salsa or guacamole. All vegan, no problem.
  • Sweet tooth gnawing away at your tastebuds? Surprisingly enough, the Cinnatwists are vegan! Anyone on a cruelty-free diet knows how hard it is to find something sweet without dairy or eggs, so this is truly a gift from the Vegan Gods.

Alternatively, if you’re prepared to spend a little extra money on some quality vegan fare, Chipotle at the Rockaway Mall is the place to go. The beans, rice, salsas, and guacamole are all, of course, vegan, so ask for the veggies or sofritas and you’ve got a meal! (Pro-tip: if you get veggies, guacamole comes free!)

If spice and flare aren’t your thing but you still need something on the go, try Subway! I know, I know, a vegetable sandwich sounds pretty lame, but many of the sauces offered are surprisingly vegan!

  • Order a vegetable sandwich on either Hearty Italian, Italian, or Sourdough bread, then go crazy with veggies! If your local Subway claims any of the veggies are not vegan, turn around and run as fast as you can.
  • As far as the sauces go, you can chose from yellow and deli brown mustard, oil, vinegar (not vinaigrette!), sweet onion sauce (which is my personal favorite) or the fat-free Italian dressing.

One of the hardest things to give up after going vegan was pizza, but when I found out that Domino’s has options free of animal products, you’d better believe I put Pizza Maker Pete to work and had him fire up his virtual oven.

  • The thin crust pizza is 100% vegan, as well as the regular sauce, so request extra sauce and you’ve got a good starting point for your veggie pizza.
  • Go crazy with any of the vegetables! My personal favorite is to do extra onions, mushrooms, and pineapple, but other veggies include banana peppers, green peppers, spinach, black olives, jalapeno peppers, roasted red peppers, and diced tomatoes.
  • Surprisingly, a lot of the dipping cups are vegan, so add flare to your thin crust veggie pizza with garlic and BBQ dipping sauces.

The best part is, you can order straight to campus!

However, if you don’t mind spending a little extra money and feel like sitting down to a nice dinner off campus after a long day of classes, my number one suggestion for vegan fare within the vicinity is the Loving Hut. Don’t get it confused with Pizza Hut– this vegan chain restaurant carries several options including classic veggie and tofu burgers, sandwiches, sushi, “fish” dishes, pizza, desserts, you name it! Because Loving Hut is strictly a vegan restaurant, there are no tips or tricks when it comes to ordering, but I will list a couple of my favorite appetizers and dishes.

  • To start, the steamed dumplings are totally satisfying with a variety of flavors, and are perfect if you’re craving something really hearty. The California roll is also a great substitute if you’re missing that Americanized Japanese treat.
  • As far as entrees go, I highly recommend the Sweet and Sour Joy, Sweet Potato Sandwich, and the BBQ Hot Pot. The best part about Loving Hut is its variety, so don’t be afraid to try something new. I guarantee you’ll be surprised.
  • There are desserts aplenty, including decadent milkshakes (chocolate is my go-to!), cheesecakes, and varieties of other cakes and pies. Don’t expect your typical chocolate flavor, though– Loving Hut uses raw chocolate for many of its recipes, so it’s very rich, and very delicious.

Vegans on campus are not restricted to curly fries and cut up fruit anymore. With sites like PETA giving helpful tips on vegan-friendly restaurants and the newfound accessibility to cruelty-free options, we no longer have to accept defeat! So eat on my fellow vegans, and omnivores, go outside of the box and enjoy food animal-free!

Fruits and vegetables – the millennials’ new happy meal

Copy Editor

A sizzling charcoal flavored burger, a side of crispy golden fries topped off with a cold refreshing drink is not the ideal happy meal for the millennial demographic at County College of Morris.

“I don’t eat a lot of fast foods,” said Daniella Peppe, a dance major. “Probably only once a month. As a dancer, I try to stay healthy and stay away from processed foods like McDonald’s and Burger King. I mainly eat salads because I’m concerned for myself, plus diabetes runs in my family.”

A report found millennials, defined as between 20 and 36 years old, have an obesity rate of 20 percent compared to 32 percent of Generation Xers (37-51years old) and 33 percent of baby boomer era (52-70 years old).

The decline in obesity rate is partly due to nutritional information becoming widely accessible, from information obtained by In 2015 the Food and Drug Administration released new rules that require fast food restaurants of 20 or more locations to provide calorie information on their menus and menu boards.

Nicole Gomes, a nursing major at CCM, is currently enrolled in a nutrition class. Gomes finds herself equipped with the knowledge on how to properly read a label. “The class teaches  you how to read a nutrition label, and I now know what to  look for,” Gomes said.

Gomes points out that consumers need to be wary when looking at the nutritional value and ingredients. “Sometimes what’s on the labels is not always what’s in the ingredients,” Gomes said. “If the ingredient is less than one gram, the company doesn’t have to put it on the nutrition label, they can just put zero. So, consumers need to look at the ingredients in written form to see what product goes in.”

Today 51 percent of millennials are gravitating towards a fast casual type of restaurant such as Chipotle, based on freshness and quality of ingredients, according to Morgan Stanley Research.

“I like Chipotle and Qdoba,” said Sara Riker, a nursing major at CCM. “I feel like those types of fast food restaurants don’t use frozen and processed ingredients.”

Even farms and apple orchards are diversifying their retail business by offering a variety of farm to table foods.  

Steve Pennings, owner of  Pennings Farm in Warwick, N.Y. started a cafe called Harvest Cafe to incorporate the farm to table trend into his business.

“Pennings Farm was looking for more customers and we saw millennials as a target audience,” Pennings said. “With us being a farm, it made sense that we can offer a menu that had some local produce, plus the use of our own produce.”

Pennings said it was an opportune time for the farm to test out this type of cafe. As the issue of healthy eating was coming into focus, “it was a good time for us to experiment the farm to table menu,” Pennings said. “I think healthy eating has finally become a major component to people’s diet.”

Holly Tighe, director of dining services for Chartwells is noticing the opposite choices being made at both cafeterias at County College of Morris.

“Since I’ve been here for the last five years, students are trending towards chicken tenders and french fries,” Tighe said. “We do offer grab-and-go salads. Students can customize salads at our Quizno’s location. There is also a full salad bar along with a fruit parfait bar. Students can purchase fruit cups as well as carrot and celery sticks, which has been going really well for us this semester.”

Fresher food options and advanced nutritional information will guide this generation into a healthier lifestyle.