University Marche Opens for Business

The University of Vermont has a new dining experience in town. A sort of “reincarnation” of the old Weathervane, the March??, which literally means “market” in French opened last Wednesday next to Alice’s Caf?? in the Living/Learning Center. The project, which took a total of two years from start to finish, was modeled after various march??s across the nation on college campuses. Among these are Food Life in Chicago and the Move and Pick March?? in Boston and Montreal, which Living/Learning directors, Dining Services representatives and students visited to get an idea of what the area should look like and how it would run. Kenneth C. Bean was the architect for the project. One major aspect of the March?? that differs from the residential dining halls on campus is that the food is not made to sit in a warming pan for two hours before the students even walk through the door. “We wanted to sell the idea of freshness: so students can see the food being made in front of them,” said Richard Riani, director of University Dining Services, UDS. Chocolate-dipped strawberries, pepperoni pizza, Vermont Cabot Cheese, and Samantha’s Fresh Juices are among the items offered at the March??, either made to order by the chefs or in the form of pre-packaged goods. “The idea is to bring restaurant-quality food at a reasonable price and at the same time spread some grocery in there for the students and offer them variety.” said Riani. While most students agree that the food is good, many think that the prices of foods at dining services on campus are not at all reasonable. “You don’t even look at the prices when you’re buying anything. And all of a sudden when they’re ringing it up you’re like, ‘I just paid seven dollars for this? What was I thinking?,'” sophomore Melissa Holmes says as she looks down at her half-eaten salad. Sophomore Kristin Kovel agrees. “You don’t even think about it. I think the actual cooked food has decent prices but the groceries are too expensive.” Another customer, Jonathan Mann, says that although the food is expensive, it’s an easy way to get a good meal. “You don’t have to walk all the way to main campus or downtown. It’s convenient.” Along with convenience, UDS is also trying to cater to the major trends and consumer desires of college students. “We’ve developed a larger product variety list than what we were able to provide at Alice’s. We’re also representing a greater portion of vegetarianism and veganism,” says Riani. In addition to the new March??, Alice’s has changed as well. Once the main market center on East Campus, most of the products were moved next door and it has become a quickie mart for students on the go.”Alice’s has really become kind of the express area,” Riani said. “The place you go to get your bagel or a coffee in the morning.” New foods, better variety, and a place to see and be seen are the major things that fitfully describe the March??. With around three thousand transactions on opening day and no indication that business will slow down, the March?? is a must see at the University of Vermont.