Students weigh in: how appetizing are the restaurants around campus

Fat Shack, a new restaurant located on University Blvd.  Photo by Danielle Ivanovich

Fat Shack, a new restaurant located on University Blvd.
Photo by Danielle Ivanovich

Despite students at the University of Denver choosing the University for various reasons, one hobby that never goes without notice are the various levels of fitness and wellbeing that hold place in Colorado.

With athletic opportunities such as Alpine club, the Ritchie Center, and the various nearby mountains, many students are avid about utilizing their surroundings, but the issue at hand is whether or not local students’ eating habits correlate well with their physical activity.

While CorePower, Pure Barre and various yoga studios seem to be opening constantly within the surrounding area, it is difficult to say whether or not the neighboring restaurants pair well with the relative physical activity.

The constant growth of the campus area both with the expanding university and retail and housing development has increased the number of restaurants new to the area, which for this school year include Ginza Sushi and Grill and Fat Shack.

A deep fryer Emporium? 

Fat Shack, according to first year student Annie Borge, “Can fry any food you bring in for $1, which is awesome”.

Fat Shack, which has sandwiches such as “Fat Wondergem” which includes “Chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, French fries and golden honey bbq” and “Fat Cow” which includes “Mac ‘n cheese, bacon, French fries, mozzarella sticks, cheddar cheese sauce and buffalo ranch”.

Unfortunately, the neighborhood Fat Shack could not be reached for comment, but the Boulder location confirmed via phone call that this is in fact true.

Items can include vegetables, which they will fry charging $1 for each item, but the fast food chain will not accept foods such as raw meats or poultry. According to the employer who answered the phone however, they have fried items for customers such as already cooked hamburgers as well has individual cookies from a package.

Other options?

More than ever it seems that many restaurants are offering gluten free items, which opened the questioning as to whether or not dietary restrictions affect local students, and whether or not students feel there are enough options on campus.

Kaitlin Hertzog, sophomore at the University of Denver, is an avid participant in physical activity and frequently uses the Ritchie Center, but feels University falls short when it comes to healthy options at the local restaurants as well as the on-campus dining opportunities.

Hertzog said, “I feel like the options on- campus do not offer a lot of variety and reliably healthy meals”.

Hertzog, a member of the women’s fraternity Delta Gamma, lives in the house where the chef prepares meals daily for the members who live in.

When asked about her preference of where she prefers to eat often, Hertzog said, “I often eat at the DG house where Chef Randy listens to our feedback when preparing meals and offers many options… If you have an allergy you can talk to him and he will make sure the meal is safe for all to eat, which is nice considering I don’t have a kitchen to cook for myself yet, and I really enjoy eating healthier options.”


Fresh fruit and Kashi cereal at Delta Gamma Photo by Danielle Ivanovich

On weekends however, Chef Randy at the Delta Gamma house does not cook meals daily.

On those days, Hertzog said, “I will go to Whole Foods or even True Foods in Cherry Creek for fresh foods that I can eat without preparation”.

On-campus options

Borge, as previously mentioned is a first year student who resides in Centennial Halls.

When asked about the food options on campus Borge said, “I feel like there is not a lot of variety within the dining halls and that it would be better if they found what people consistently like and stick to making that dish daily”.

The dining halls as well as various food options such as the café in Anderson Academic Commons are staffed through the company Sodexo, who has pledged to provide better meals.

This initiative is due in part by the opportunity to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-childhood obesity initiative, and according to an article published in the Huffington Post, Sodexo will be “Putting in place a healthy dining program at cafes in industry, government and campus settings by 2017”.

Other choices

Mackenzie Finch, a junior student at the University of Denver lives in off campus housing and cooks for herself after completing a year of housing in one of the school’s dormitories.

Finch, finds that some of the restaurants offer “healthy options” but regularly cooks at home in order to sustain a well balanced diet.

When asked what the surrounding on and off campus restaurants could do to improve their healthy options, Finch said, “It’s a college campus so people want unhealthy things, but if there was more of a verbal need for healthy foods, I think it would be a good change”.





2 Responses to Students weigh in: how appetizing are the restaurants around campus

  • This article seems to hit on an issue that a lot of people are talking about around school. You did a good job in adding some new ideas to the conversation, and your use of hyperlinks was very effective!

  • Isabel Raitt
    Isabel Raitt says:

    It never occurred to me how much the health-oriented mentality of Denver and DU specifically clashes with the restaurants we see around campus. You did a great job highlighting that “representation” issue in your article. I’ve never been to FatShack before, and probably never will after hearing about what they manage to fit into their sandwiches… I’m lucky to live this year with a chef that consistently makes healthy options, hopefully I’ll be able to keep up a similar healthy diet when I have to cook for myself in the near future.

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