By SIERRA HORTON
The Underground Café is a well-known and loved dining option for both students and faculty at UMW. It rests in the heart of the campus, on the second floor of Lee Hall, and it’s just that convenient location that strengthens the appeal.
“It’s a perfect place for a quick bite to eat,” said senior and business administration major Lauren Catington. At one time, I would’ve agreed. However, there has recently been a change in the menu from sandwiches and pub foods to Mediterranean food that has students, including myself, missing the old Underground.
Toward the end of last semester, I went to the Underground to grab my dinner before work, ready for my typical meal of a turkey quesadilla with lettuce and a fruit cup. Instead, I was surprised to find a display case of quinoa, lentil salad and kabobs.
The menu had completely changed from a wide variety of sandwiches and chicken nuggets to a Mediterranean menu of rice and falafel. I thought to myself, I can’t be the only one who is startled and dismayed by these sudden changes.
“I went to the Underground the first day of classes this semester, hungry and ready for a turkey club. I first noticed the almost empty display cases and some lonely falafels, and then sadly remembered that the menu had changed,” said Catington. “I loved the turkey club and the country joe, but having to use past tense is so sad.”
When it comes to the prices, a bowl at the Underground with a grain of your choice and a kabob is a meal swipe plus about $4 of flex; however, you can get a bowl for one meal swipe plus $3-$5, depending on your entree choice, at Qdoba with much more food and a broader variety of options- which is important to students.
“The past menu was great, it had so many options and it made me happy. The new menu is not my favorite and it’s not what I expect when I come to the Underground. It’s not something I crave and there aren’t as many options as there used to be,” said sophomore Colleen Cragun.
Senior and international affairs major Kelsey Burham and other students began to notice changes before the most recent modification of the Underground’s menu.
“At the start of fall 2018, I noticed that the Underground had less options. Then, the first week of spring semester I realized that they completely took away the old sandwich options and replaced it with Mediterranean-inspired food. I was sad because I ate at the Underground because I specifically enjoyed the sandwich and soup option. My favorite was the turkey quesadilla and I definitely miss it. I would get it most nights before going to work in the Admissions Office because it was so convenient,” said Burham.
The current menu isn’t terrible, and the Underground still serves its beloved soup, but it does not appeal to as many students as the past menu did. Mediterranean is a very specific type of food, unlike the past menu that had a variety of options that appealed to the majority of students. This especially negatively affects those who are pickier eaters or do not like the new types of food that are being offered, like Burham.
“I’m not a fan of Mediterranean food in general. When I went to the Underground none of the options looked appetizing to me. Also, the prices seemed to be more than what the food was worth, but I am glad they kept the soup around.”
The eatery that hosts karaoke and packed bingo nights appears to be taking a hit, and students are taking note.
“I can appreciate the Underground wanting to revamp options, but I don’t think it’s paid off. It used to be impossible to find a seat on Wednesdays at lunch, but now it’s a ghost town. I more than likely won’t be making anymore trips to the Underground, aside from going there to get some work done since it’s so quiet now,” says Catington.
I loved the past comfort foods the Underground offered and the plethora of options and combinations. The new menu is simply too targeted specifically to fans of Mediterranean food. I miss the old Underground and I hope that the infamous sandwiches make their way back to the menu soon.