Main Campus launches new, healthy dining options

Gauri Raje, News Editor

UTSA Dining recently opened two new dining locations for students at the Main Campus with the aim of providing a broader variety of food options on campus. 

The first addition, Freshens Fresh Food Studio, is located in the JPL food court and offers “healthy, prepared-to-order food inspired by fresh ingredients,” which includes breakfast options as well as an “everyday menu” from grilled flatbreads, rice bowls, crepe salads. The location also offers a rotating menu of trending food items, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and allergen-friendly options.

Rising Roll, the second dining addition, can be found in the Student Union food court. It offers “unique gourmet sandwiches, salads, soups and breakfast dishes made from the freshest ingredients.” The new location has also been advertised to serve a “full Starbucks Coffee menu.”

Kevin Price, senior associate vice president for Campus Services, explained that the bid for new food contracts started in 2019, and was guided in large part by student feedback. Price explained that while students were satisfied with food options available on campus, there was also a demand for adding healthier food options. 

“As we were preparing to go out to bid for a new food service contract in the fall of 2019, we reviewed multiple surveys gauging student feedback which drove our process,” Price said. “Largely, there was a high degree of satisfaction with most food service options, but we did receive significant feedback from those desiring healthier alternatives, including vegetarian and vegan options, and crafted our requirements accordingly for a bid proposal to be successful.” 

This prompted the university to consider brands like Freshens and Rising Roll, which cater to a variety of dietary requirements. 

“Both Freshens Fresh Food Studio and Rising Roll Gourmet Café provide a broad menu with fresh-made food that can be customized to meet a variety of dietary restrictions and requirements,” Price said. 

Price further explained the addition of the two brands included a vetting process that was designed to gauge the experience other institutions had with them. It was concluded that both brands “offer a fast casual, as opposed to fast food, experience at an affordable price point.”

Genevieve Vega

“As with all our dining venues, they offer “meal deals” priced at only $7.00,” Price added. “For students with meal plans, they can use dining dollars or a “meal swipe” to purchase a meal deal option for no additional cost.” 

The funds for installing these brands were provided by Aramark, the university’s food service provider, as a part of their contract.

“Our food service contract includes funds for capital investment in new venues as well as refresh funds as existing venues need updating,” Price said. 

The additions of Freshens Food Studio and Rising Rolls are part of a larger effort by the university to provide alternative food options. According to Price, some of the other initiatives include the addition of a Freebirds World Burrito that offers fresh and customizable vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options, as well as a Plant Forward station in Roadrunner Café — a salad bar with vegan and vegetarian options — and True Balance, a separate food station where meals are prepared without eight of the most common food allergens.

More information about the university’s dining offerings as well as UTSA Dining can be found on their official website.