Staples student pines for Staples salad bar, hopes for return


Graphic by Lilly Weisz ’23

The Staples cafeteria removed the custom salad bar as a COVID-19 safety precaution. However, as we return to normal at school, so should our dining options.

Ever since we returned to school during COVID-19, I have eaten yogurt twice a day — once for breakfast and once for lunch. My friends cast searing eyes at me as I consume pounds of fermented milk, but it’s what I have to do in these trying times. After all, Staples no longer has a salad bar.

With the return of self-serve food options in the cafeteria, so too should the salad bar come home.

I know I sound a bit crazy, but bear with me. I always seem to have the misfortune of having lab lunch, so waiting in the sandwich line is no easy option; I am a student athlete, so I can’t really just eat pizza every day; I began inching towards plant-based eating as a freshman, but this year I took the jump to become a pescetarian.

You know what was the easiest, fastest, most reliable source of food for me every day? The salad bar. You know what was removed, understandably, for COVID-19? The salad bar. You know what I now eat instead? Yogurt. 

In terms of hot lunch, plant-based options often tend less towards a meal a meat-eater would happily receive and more like a tray of vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I love the vegetables in the cafeteria, and I am grateful for Staples’ high quality food, but veggies don’t quite check every box in the food pyramid.

I’m also not the only plant-based eater in this school, and it may be nice to have more options.

— Lilly Weisz ’23

I’m happy that Staples is beginning to carry out meatless Mondays, but I would prefer not to have to wait a week at a time to purchase a full meal at school. I’m also not the only plant-based eater in this school, and it may be nice to have more options. We’ve even had the salad bar returned to us before — oh glory, let us rejoice! — but it disappeared just as quickly as it arrived. 

Also, I don’t know about any of you, but I find the new location of the unpredictably available salad bar to be particularly uncomfortable. Next to the line for the hot lunch, I’ve gotten squished against the counter, with my mouth almost touching the plastic barrier (which is disgusting).

This leads me to another point. You might be thinking, “So what? The pescetarian is crying about not eating her salad. Boohoo.” But, the issue isn’t only a matter of dietary constraints.

I can’t be the only one who has to cross a warzone every time I journey from one end of the cafeteria to the other. Returning the salad bar to its original throne on the left side of the cafeteria will dilute the crowd from the bottleneck at its center. More people will opt for the alternative food option, speeding up the lunch ordering process for everyone.

Staples, please give us back the salad bar. Every day I mourn its loss as I pass the paltry pre-packaged salads in its place. I promise, I will be forever grateful.