Dining Hall Comment Wall

Here are your comments submitted through the QR code on dining room table tents and submitted through the form on our website.

  • Comments go directly to the managers of the dining hall you select on the comment form – so they have the opportunity to react and respond quickly.
  • We have read and are thoughtfully considering all your comments as we plan for upcoming weeks and semesters.
  • We have responded to the comments that included an email address and those responses are included below.

Resident Dining Comments

Diner 10/28/2020

I love the breakfast bacon/sausage egg and cheese on a croissant but sometimes its on the menu and not actually in the diner. I also consistently ask for smaller portions but I’m ignored and end up having to waste food.

Thank you for your comments. Its great to know these breakfast sandwiches have an outspoken fan base. We are having a problem with supply – we aren’t always getting what we order – and are working with this vendor and others to correct it. Thank you for you patience with this 
The other problem you brought up is also troubling. We absolutely want you to get enough food but we do not want to waste food! We will include your comment in our staff meetings and training sessions this week. Please stay in touch and let us know how we’re doing! 

Diner 10/27/2020

I’ve noticed that only “cheap” fruit is offered at the dining hall, and it’s not even offered all day. You guys used to add berries in the cups, and now we don’t even get that. Just melons, grapes and pineapples in small cups for a few hours a day. Last year, we used to have fruit available to us all day and now it feels like we have been completely skimped out on that. It feels very offensive, since we pay the same amount of money for our meal plans. I know that adjustments have to be made because of the pandemic, but can we at least get berries? Or have fresh fruit available to us not just at breakfast time?

Commons Shop 10/22

My comment is about the Commons Shop! i just want to say that whoever was working at 9:50 on Thursday October 22nd has always been so polite and in a good mood. i always appreciate it!

Thank you! We will share your compliment with our team member and with their supervisor! 

Ellicott 10/14

The Cambridge Community Outpost could use some optimization. Being an outpost, they were be better serving the premade salads and meals rather than throwing things together when you come in. The quality of the meals I have gotten there are always lower than that of the diner because they should be making meals, rather just handing them out.

251 North 10/12/2020

My  son is a sophomore and lives in the Denton Community.  He primary only goes to the 251 dining hall, I believe because it is the one he can get in and out of the quickest.  He doesn’t want to be around a lot of people and often goes off hours and to our dismay it appears he is only going twice a day.  
My son has an allergy and from last year was use to reading the boards or the sign that had the ingredients on it.  On Saturday he called to re-confirm that caraway seeds were ok for him to eat (which they are).  It appeared that the kielbasa sandwich he has got several times before was now on different bread.  When he go back to his dorm room and noticed the difference in the bread he looked up the ingredients online and it had caraway seeds.  Needless to say, he didn’t eat it and opted for the microwave mac n cheese he brought from home. Are these changes of the bread noted in the dining hall or on the packaging? Also, when I ask what he has eaten it seems like it is a lot of sweet sour chicken and general sao chicken.  I tell him he is going to grow feathers!!  Can you direct me to the online menu for this dining hall.  Last year he ate such a variety of different foods and this year I feel like he eats the same thing all the time.  I understand you have varieties and he selects what he likes, but were there more options last year and less this year due to Covid?

I’m glad your son has found 251 North, and share your concern that he goes twice a day – I have found that just getting up and moving around is a good thing, and a thing that I neglect in my own life. Maybe he could think of that third trip to the dining hall as more of a movement break and less of a food finding mission. 251 North is open for breakfast and we know that their breakfast has a following – a few students are even requesting that we serve the breakfast menu all day long! Maybe he could find a small supplemental snack or breakfast treat in the morning.
The good news is that in two trips, he’s getting enough to eat. We have worked hard to make sure that dining plans participants can get in and out very quickly and that they can get plenty of food for each meal. To do that, we did have to streamline our menus somewhat – still, there is plenty of variety. The full menus are at nutrition.umd.edu. Select 251 North for the menus and allergens, then click on the apple for the nutrition information. 
I do note that the East Deli has his favorites every day. The Diner in the Ellicott community is a larger dining facility and does offer even more variety. As the semester has progressed, we have expanded our menus, adding custom built salads, rotisserie chicken, simple roast vegetables, and individual desserts from the Maryland Bakery. 
I checked in with our Nutrition team about the caraway seeds on the bread. If an ingredient changes in such a way that it now includes an allergen, we pull all the cards and replace them with new cards. Caraway is not a known allergen for any student currently on a dining plan. The team is also trying to find where he saw “caraway” listed as an ingredient in the bread and cannot. If you can get him to tell you or let us know where he found that, it would be helpful as we investigate. 

Thank you for returning the email. He does go for breakfast and then it seems like he goes around 3 or 4 for lunch/dinner.  Yes, the Dinner is a larger facility and always had more variety and that is where he mainly ate last year.  This year he prefers 251 because there are less students there, less interaction with people.  Can you tell what he is eating everyday at East Deli or just that he goes there?
He looked up the ingredients online, I will have to confirm that it said caraway seeds or if he just said that is what it was.  He know what they look like.  I’m guessing it was multi grain bread that they used.  I don’t really know.  Are the signs still posted like last year in front of the food?  Last year the Diner offered pulled pork a bunch, do they offer that at 251?  He can’t eat the bakery items because of his nut allergy, he always stays away from desserts.
I will take a look at the daily menu for 251 and encourage him to eat different things.
Thank you again for responding back to me.

I have three ideas for you. 
I based my comment that he eats at the East Deli on the menu. You said he too frequently eats Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken or General Tso’s Chicken and those items are served almost daily at the East Deli. My first idea is that if he were to visit a different station, he would walk away with a different meal.
Second idea: Is he / are you aware of the “Purple Fridge”? The Purple Fridge is a self-serve freezer in each dining hall (there’s one in the lobby of 251, near 251 Fresh) that stocks allergy friendly foods to microwave, including nut-free desserts.
Finally, in the current situation, The Diner is never even close to crowded. He’d have to walk a little further to get there, but there is more variety. People aren’t hanging out there – they come and go quickly, and especially if he went mid-afternoon as he seems to at 251, he would find that the space is very large and the serving area has plenty of room for generous physical distancing. Maybe he (or you) could look at the menu and when there’s something he likes at The Diner that is not being served at 251, he could make a quick trip over. His call, his comfort level, of course.
I appreciate your speaking up on his behalf. Please let your son know that he can reach out to me with any questions or concerns he has about Maryland Dining. I’d be very happy to talk with him.

Thank you. I will continue to encourage him to go to the Dinner for a change of scenery and a change of meal selections! My son of course just goes with the flow.  It is more me wanting him to eat different things, I’m sure!

 

Diner 10/11/2020

Can we do a chicken tender and fries day. And an everyday wrap station like 251 North has.

South 10/07/2020

I attend the South Dining Hall, I am wondering if there is a way to include breakfast food such as pancakes, waffles, bagels – things of that sort, all day. Many times I come to the dining hall late for breakfast, however, the kitchen has already switched over to lunch. Additionally, many popular restaurant establishments have taken a similar path with consumers as they want breakfast food all day.

The idea of breakfast later in the day has many fans – and we’re listening. We have planned a breakfast for dinner special in the upcoming weeks so keep a watch out for that one! 
We started the semester with a very streamlined menu and (as I hope you’ve noticed) have added to that menu every week. While we absolutely understand the desire for breakfast later in the day, we are limited as to the staff, space and number of food items we can have on the line at one time. Breakfast is currently served from 7:00 – 10:30 (or later) on weekdays and as brunch on weekends. We know some people want breakfast later in the day – others expect a full lunch ready to go before 11:00! 
Thank you for your comment – I’ll share it with the culinary team and we will include it in our process as we plan menus and specials for upcoming weeks. 
Thanks so much for your prompt and helpful response! 
I appreciate you sharing this idea with the culinary team, I think many students, including myself 🙂 , will love it. 

251 North 10/07/2020

The salad bar rarely has what is listed on the online menu. Its nice to have a variety of heathly proteins there, not just chicken strips. Also what happened to pre-made salads? those were very good

251 North 10/07/2020

The desserts have been great so far, besides when they run out at 8:30. I was just wondering if we could ever have ice cream in any of the dinning halls, that would be great!

We are planning a hand-scooped ice cream special! Watch for it a little later this fall.

Diner 10/06/2020

Would it be possible to have small containers of marinara sauce with the other sauces?

We can’t because marinara needs to be kept hot or cold (and fresh). If you ask at the counter, we are happy to put marinara in a small cup for you. 

Diner 10/06/2020

Last semester I really enjoyed the buffalo fried cauliflower bites that were served periodically at the vegan station. I rarely eat vegan items but those and the vegan cookies were always great! Is there any chance they will be coming back this semester? Thank you for all you are doing, especially recently with reopening the dining room!

Thank you – Great to know that some of our popular food happens to be vegan! When we streamlined services this fall to make sure that we could serve quickly and safely, we had to trim the menu. As the semester moves along, we are putting more and more of the past favorite foods back in the dining halls. You might even have noticed other faves making a return. I’ll share your comment with our culinary team – so keep your eyes open, Buffalo cauliflower and vegan cookies might suddenly appear! 

 

South 10/05/2020

I’ve noticed you guys ONLY serve fruits during the morning (breakfast time). As you guys pride yourself on healthy meals, I feel like fruits should be available all day, just as your desserts are. As much as I love your yummy desserts, fruits are a very important and almost essential part of most peoples diets, to regulate gut and overall health. I find it very sad that it’s not served all day, if dessert can be provided all day, I feel like fruit should be as well.

We agree, fruit is an essential part of a good diet. At this time, we are providing cut fruit at breakfast and whole fruit at lunch/dinner in all our dining halls. Please feel free to pick up cut fruit to eat later and you are welcome to take the whole fruit all day long. Stay healthy, stay in touch.
 

South 10/01/2020

I really enjoyed having Beyond Burgers last week! I was wondering if you can have other types of veggie burger options for us vegetarians. Often many of the vegetarian options are spicy, and that makes it much more difficult to have any amount of variety in my food.
I’ve also been very glad that I can have a custom salad now, but I was wondering if some kind of protein like black beans could be added to the salad options? I’d love to have some more simple vegetarian protein options.
I’ve also noticed that breakfast hasn’t been fully available past about 10:30. They have usually stopped making the “main” dish. I find it very annoying that I have arrived at the dining hall at 10:30 or 10:40 and cannot get a full meal. In addition, the scrambled eggs irritate my stomach, so when there is no longer an egg and cheese option I have no protein options for my breakfast. This morning, I arrived at 10:32 and they had already stopped making the egg and cheese croissants.

South 10/01/2020
I would really like to see chicken tenders back in the dining halls. I know during a regular semester, everyone would get really excited for “Tendie Day” and I think us students need that pick me up now more than ever. The chicken tenders were the highlights of my dining experience last year and I really miss them. Please bring back chicken tenders!

Hi – We know tendies have a huge, super enthusiastic following — and we want to make you happy! Our biggest worry has been about physical distancing – tendies always cause lines! We fry and fry but just can’t keep up! This week, we gave it a cautious try and served tendies at 251. It went well, and you all seemed really happy to see them. We plan to do it again soon so keep your eyes open!  

South 9/30/2020
I know you’ve said multiple times that french fries and tater tots are coming, but I’ve been to the south campus dining hall everyday since the start of the semester and I still have not seen any 🙁 after only eating the healthy ones once or twice a week I’m really craving the real deal full potato fries and tater tots.

Yes, you asked for curly fries and potstickers in the dining halls and I assured you that they would be coming soon. It turns out that “soon” is mid-October. I didn’t fully understand that we have a supply of the veggie fries and rings we need to use first. These were special-ordered when we thought there would be a full campus and must be used while they are still fresh. If you get back to me with your email address, I’ll update you when I have more information. 

South 9/28/2020
Thanks for doing a great job transitioning to carryout! The new breakfast sandwiches are great. I like the fried eggs in those sandwiches, but I don’t like the scrambled eggs served most of the time – would you consider serving fried eggs on days when the breakfast sandwiches are not served? I’d also appreciate if the salads changed occasionally. I like salads without cheese, but there’s only one kind of salad (spinach/black olive/red onion/carrot) consistently served without cheese.

Thanks for the kind words. We are trying to give you the best possible Maryland Dining experiences! Fried eggs are a conundrum – to get you a good fried egg, it has to be prepared to order (they don’t hold well on the line) so we cannot prepare them ahead and have them waiting. On the other hand, we can’t have people standing and waiting in the serving area (physical distance issues). We are working on a solution for that and when we find one, we will make sure everyone knows! 
Salads – over the last few weeks, we opened custom-built salad stations at 251 North and The Diner – and today we officially started serving custom-built salads at South Campus ! Please remember to ask for what you want – many of the stations can do a little customization even if its not on the menu. We could have been making you a salad without cheese all along. 
I hope this helps and you have many great meals with us! Stay in touch
Okay, thanks so much! Looking forward to trying the new custom-built salads- I saw the sign up today.
 

South 9/28/2020
If we can make our own vegan wraps, is there any way you guys can bring back deli meat so we can make our own sandwiches again?

Thank you for your comment. As the semester unfolds, we are noticing two things 1) people really appreciate how fast we are getting them in and out of the serving areas and 2) people want more customization. We need to balance those competing priorities. 
So far, we have increased customization of what goes in each carryout container, the build-to-order vegan wraps that you noted, and the build-to-order salad bars. We are being extremely careful so that we don’t open a station that would make lines form and people wait in the serving areas. That would impinge on the physical distancing health requirement that is so important right now.
We are in the early planning phase of opening a build-to-order deli line that would offer a very, very short list of very, very simple sandwiches. I’d also like to say that the fresh sandwiches we offer now are extremely popular! Please check out the menu in advance so that you don’t miss your favorite. nutrition.umd.edu 
Again, thanks for writing in – keep your eyes open for changes, and stay in touch.
 

South 9/25/2020
Can you serve honey mustard sauce please:)

We have added honey mustard at South! 

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