The Heilman Dining Center recently amped up its menu with the addition of an avocado bar that features two kinds of avocado spreads and a variety of toppings for any sandwich imaginable.
The avocado bar originated from a Live Well, Dine Green event hosted this past spring, said Karen Hensley, the University of Richmond’s registered dietitian. The positive feedback after the event caused Dining Services employees to consider the benefits of the addition of the bar to the regular menu, she said.
“Our goal is to always incorporate foods that are popular to students, while also providing a nutritional option,” Hensley said. Students on campus have echoed this thought in their reactions to the new addition.
For some students who are vegetarian or vegan, the addition of the bar means a wider variety of meals at the dining center.
“The mere gesture of incorporating avocados into the daily intake of students and faculty alike is a great thing, and I am grateful to the dining services team,” said Avi Altman, a sophomore and self-proclaimed avocado enthusiast.
One question that a lot of students do have for dining services: Where are the slices? Avocado slices would be nice to have as a snack option, Altman said.
The labor required to pit and mash a ton of avocados each day was too much for the staff, when there are also other stations in the dining hall that need attention, Hensley said. Using the avocado pulp allowed for a less labor-intensive option at the bar, which does use a large amount of avocado each day, she said.
Sophomore Emily Turkington uses the avocado bar a few times a week and appreciates this addition to the dining hall, she said.
"It’s by no means the best avocado I’ve ever had and I would prefer having actual slices of avocado, but any avo is better than no avo," she said. "And I do think it shows that dhall tries to accommodate student suggestions and preferences when possible."
Hensley said the dining hall hadn't received any negative feedback from students so far. It is a positive sign that the dining hall hasn’t received any negative criticism, but the members of Dining Services always encourage students to write comments to the text-and-tell service, Hensley said.
One of the recent text and tells said: “The avocado bar is revolutionary. 100% worth the wait.” The text-and-tell comments are presented at Dining Services meetings and used as feedback for future bar options, Hensley said.
“The avocado bar is a great bar that’s fresh, and it’s something different,” Hensley said. “It’s all about keeping you guys happy to eat here for multiple meals a day.”
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