For empty-bellied students between the hours of 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., Late Night at Usdan has traditionally offered a menu with a high concentration of fried foods. On March 21, the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) Dining Committee, in collaboration with Bon Appétit, introduced an updated menu that includes chicken wings, turkey burgers, omelets, egg whites, burritos, a breakfast combo, vegan chili, fruit cups, yogurt parfait, and a new collection of sandwiches.
“There just seemed to be so much room for improvement,” said Zachary Malter ’13, Chair of the WSA Dining Committee. “The menu had a lot of standard fried items but it especially didn’t appeal to anyone who wanted something more healthful, maybe vegetarians or vegans. Also I feel that every static menu like that should be tinkered with every so often, so that people are exposed to something different so that it doesn’t become monotonous, because obviously every night the menu is the same, exempting the specials.”
Visitors to the revamped Late Night said they appreciated the new variety of food options.
“The new items on the menu are great,” said Christian Schneider ’14. “I was getting a little sick of eating chicken fingers and fries every weekend night.”
Randy Linder ’13 was excited for the healthful options.
“I love the new options and how much healthier it is overall, especially the fresh fruit,” Linder said. “Sometimes I want to go to Late Night but I don’t want heavier fried foods.”
Changes to the Bon Appétit menu in recent months were facilitated by new staff additions.
“There is a new executive chef, Brian Dagnall, who just arrived at Wesleyan this semester, and one of his goals coming in was to shuffle around the late-night menu, especially with an eye for what students wanted, but he was very receptive to stepping it up to the next level,” Malter said.
Like many additions to Weshop and the Usdan Marketplace menu, the new options at Late Night originated from student suggestions.
“It was really the student push for it that really inspired me to suggest the idea,” Malter said. “I think at times people eat on campus and have an idea about a potential change but don’t get a chance to raise it and have it implemented. So when I reached out to people they were very inclined to share.”
Students contributed suggestions through several channels, including a link on the WSA website, a blog post, and communicating directly with WSA representatives.
“Michael Strumpf, who’s the Bon Appétit regional district manager, and Brian Dagnall decided which things were really actionable, feasible and those things were implemented,” Malter said.
Those worried about the fate of their favorite Late Night meals in light of these changes can rest assured that all original menu items will remain in place.
“It’s awesome that there’s new food, but I’m still getting the same thing as I used to before,” said Jana Heaton ’14, as she sat down to a veggie burger. “I do like having other options though.”
The new menu makes a variety of breakfast foods readily available any night of the week, as well as healthier, lighter options for those who do not wish to go to bed with a stomach full of chili fries.
Prospective freshman Ryan Brown, who was lucky enough to have his first Late Night experience under the new menu, expressed his satisfaction.
“There are new additions?” he said. “Oh, well I am glad I could get an omelet at one a.m.”