Students react to reopening of vegan eatery ‘The Garden’ on campus

"Our goal in this is to create a friendly and inviting space for students and guests." January 26, 2023. (Photo by Mila Bales).

The Garden, a plant-based eatery that opened on Southern Adventist University’s campus last winter, reopened this school year on Jan. 16. 

The eatery’s reopening was delayed due to nationwide supply chain shortages, wrote Maggie Pickens, manager of The Garden, in an email to the Accent. It had to wait longer than expected to receive “vital large equipment.”

Now that The Garden is open from 12 to 2 p.m. on weekdays, students consistently line up outside its doors on the fourth floor of Wright Hall when classes end at 11:50 a.m., said multiple students in line for the eatery on Jan. 19. The line regularly extends beyond Wright Hall’s doors on the promenade, they added. 

“Compared to the cafeteria and CK2, this feels a little bit more like a complete meal,” said Rosela Disla, sophomore physical therapy assistant major, about The Garden while waiting for its doors to open.

“It was pretty good,” said Christiana Nardi, sophomore computer science major, describing food she’d eaten at the eatery earlier in the week. “I was excited for it to open.”

“I really like the food that they had last time, like the lasagna,” added Nardi’s companion, Amanda Leitao, sophomore biology major. “It didn’t even taste like it was vegan. Like everything had a lot of flavors, which is good compared to the cafeteria food.”

According to Pickens, some students have already become regular customers.

“When asking students what their favorite menu options have been during our two weeks of operation, they will smile and say, ‘It’s hard to pick one specific meal!’ she wrote. “Usually, they will list a few of their current favorites each week. Most students are excited to have the option to incorporate more plant-centered eating into their lifestyle.”

The Garden’s weekly menu is posted on its Instagram, the_garden_atsau. Only one meal, which costs $10.49, is served each day. For example, according to Instagram, Thursday’s meal will be “The Poke Bowl.” The eatery accepts student ID, staff ID, debit and credit but does not currently accept cash.

The menu has expanded significantly this school year and will continue to expand as the semester continues, wrote Pickens. She provided examples of new items, including pumpkin pesto pasta, sweet potato curry and sassy Moroccan lentil eggplant stew.

The venue has also undergone changes, with new wooden flooring, canvas art prints and “a welcoming color scheme,” wrote Pickens.

“Our goal in this was to create a friendly and inviting space for students and guests,” she added.

Pickens is thankful for the hardworking students employed at The Garden; however, she is still looking to fill a few positions. As the team’s labor force increases, Pickens aims to provide small pick-up orders for campus departments and increase lunch hours to accommodate various class schedules. Eventually, Pickens would like to open during supper hours; her target date is fall of this year.

Share this story!

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Leave a Reply