Umpqua Community College expands food services with new cafeteria on campus
WINCHESTER — Umpqua Community College is managing campus cafeteria services again. The River Rush Bistro and Cafe opened Monday.
The college outsourced the cafeteria to owner Sam Gross of Loggers Tap House for the last two years and called it Loggers Café at UCC. With the contract soon to expire and Gross not renewing it, the college decided to provide cafeteria services once again.
“Sam Gross had other businesses he wanted to focus on, and the college is now ready to take that service over,” said UCC Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Redell.
In order to be sustainable for the future, the college combined the cafeteria with the campus catering service and placed them under one head, Greg Smith, the UCC director of special events and food services. The UCC catering department has been serving campus events for six years.
“We’ll be able to create a synergy between the two,” Redell said. “We’ll save on food costs and on employees because we’ll be able to direct the employees where they’re most needed and we’ll also share food.”
The new department now has six part-time employees who cook and serve food at the cafeteria that is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located in the Laverne Murphy Student Center on the UCC campus.
Under the direction of Chef Steve Cripe, the department plans to hire three additional part-time staff members in the future. All the food is prepared in the campus center’s kitchen.
Loggers Café closed its doors last Friday with the new cafeteria opening on Monday, serving a similar menu. What’s different is the new cafeteria has new cooks and prepares its food differently, offering a different special every day.
“The big thing will be the daily specials because that seems to be what everybody likes,” Redell said.
Redell said that the new cafeteria will strive to be a budget neutral venture, providing quality food for the students while sustaining itself.
“It’s always a good move when we can control student services and make sure that we can respond quicker to their needs,” Redell said.
UCC nursing student Martin Nienstedt was pleased with the new cafeteria on Wednesday and said, “I was able to get a breakfast sandwich for lunch,” a difficult feat before. “So far, so good,” he said, pleased with the quality.
“I thought the kitchen looked cleaner and more sanitary, and the French fries tasted better than they did before,” said nursing student Tia Sconce.
The cafeteria will offer items like deli sandwiches, a baked potato bar, salads, soup, hamburgers, hot sandwiches, wraps, gourmet pizza, tater tots, hot dogs, French fries, desserts and unique daily specials like French dips.
UCC human services student Lesa Wolfe enjoyed the salad and said, “The salad is amazing. It’s always fresh and tastes good.” She also said that many students didn’t eat at the cafeteria before because of the high price of food.
Pre-med student Josh Reed liked the new cafeteria better because some food items were less expensive. “The fries and tater tots are cheaper and the quality is good, nothing is burned so it’s good,” he said.
Nursing student Geruen Erandio said the new cafeteria offered more options.
“I usually get a burger, and now I had the option of putting whatever I wanted on it instead of having a plain old burger like before,” Erandio said. He added lettuce, onions and condiments like mayonnaise on his burger.
Transfer degree student Connor Coleman said he noticed a difference in the size of the French fries and the burgers, but said they tasted good. “The food is pretty good if you want a cheap meal,” he said.