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Diversify your diet
For the "food of the gods," you only need to go as far as Jefferson Dining Hall

Nov. 22, 2004

By Emily Mullins

Emily Mullins, a student writer with University Communications and Marketing, recently took a trip to Jefferson Dining Hall to check out its newest addition, the Odyssey Café. This meal option increases food diversity in the dining halls with a variety of traditional Greek foods. Mullins breaks down the café's menu and gives us her take on the dishes.

Calling all picky eaters! For an alternative to the usual meals of burgers and pasta, try out the Odyssey Café, Ohio University's newest addition to the diverse array of food available on campus. Located in Jefferson Dining Hall, Odyssey Café offers a wide variety of Greek food for an ethnic alternative to the regular menu.

Photo by Rick Fatica.Four years ago, the University came up with a master plan to give dining hall services a makeover and to give students a wider variety of choices based on their needs and wants.

"The overriding theme of our plan was to see more food venues similar to what students are used to seeing," says Randy Shelton, director of housing and food services.

The Odyssey Café is the newest addition to this plan, which already includes the Asian food-bar, Jump, Smart Mouth's pizza and chicken, the Wok Bar and sushi and wraps available in Bromley Dining Hall.

Although many students may not know exactly what every item on Odyssey's menu is, one of the University's goals is to educate students about the food of other cultures. Also, the addition of these multicultural food options contributes to the administration's priority of increasing diversity on campus.

"We are encouraging students to try new things and are finding that many of them end up liking what they are eating," says Nikki Ohms, general manager of Jefferson Dining Hall.

The café has experienced a great turnout since opening on Oct. 7, with students regularly opting for the Greek entrees.

The Odyssey Café has a regular menu for lunch and dinner which includes beef and chicken gyros, chicken souvlaki sandwiches, sizzling gyro or souvlaki salads, hummus and pita chips and the customary Greek dessert, baklava. These traditional dishes are offered daily.

Photo by Rick FaticaAlso on the menu are lunch specials which include spanakopita, a baked spinach and cheese pastry; roasted vegetable fillos, vegetables wrapped in a thin pastry; and chicken, vegetable and spicy gyro wraps. Dinner specials include mousaka, an eggplant casserole, and pastichio, Greek lasagna.

My recent visit to Jefferson was not only my first dining hall experience in two years, but it was also my first real experience with Greek food. Sampling most of what the lunch menu had to offer, I was pleasantly surprised at just how good the food really was. The beef gyro, which would not be complete without the tzatziki sauce, uses very lean pieces of meat, making a filling, yet relatively healthy meal. The spanakopita, a student favorite, was also quite tasty. My personal favorites included the pita chips and hummus, made from the dining hall's own recipe, and the baklava, which I saved just a bit of room for at the end.

The café's grand opening will be Jan. 11, after renovations are made to the dining hall. Until then, Shelton, Ohms and the other dining hall employees are perfecting the existing menu based on student feedback.

"We will be adding concepts to this program for years," Shelton says.

Even if you do not have a meal plan, Shelton and Ohms encourage students, faculty and staff to utilize the services and take part in "Communiversity," which is a special offer every Friday when anyone is invited to eat at the dining halls for just $5.50.

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