The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Mac’s is movin’ up

I cannot speak for previous years, but for the class of 2010, Mac’s Place is our rock. Mac’s Place is the go-to eatery for hungry McElvaney freshmen for almost every meal. Even if it isn’t open because of the somewhat odd hours it keeps, it is good to know that there is a better-than-just-edible place to eat not more than a football field away from our beds.

But strange things are afoot in the south quad. One fine weekday evening meal, my friend and I were being served some Salisbury steak from the hot section in the middle of the cafeteria when we heard a piece of terrible news. “Enjoy these, guys,” the server demanded of us, “Because tomorrow this will be gone.” The first thought that crossed our minds was – dear Jesus – no more Mac’s place? Thank the Lord, no, that’s not the case, but the next turn of events was the next worst thing: no more hot section.

We sat down at our seats and ate our steak and potatoes, using our tears as gravy. From then on, we believed, we would have to endure the monotonous greasy burgers and tiring same-old sandwiches instead of having the luxury of daily specials.

We went on believing this for about a week, until I finally took action. “You should write an article about this place, man,” my friend said to me in his best “fight the power” tone of voice.

Yeah, I thought to myself, rally the troops, bring back the power of choice, fight the good fight. No longer would the student body sit back and have the same exact meal forced down our throats just because we don’t want to pay money for food or make the extra trek up to the RoFC.

I started asking around and happened upon a myriad of disconcerting rumors. The most believable and consequently disturbing of these was that someone was complaining about the fact that Mac’s Place was not as good as the RoFC, and therefore shouldn’t exist. The whole thing reeked of budget cuts – and the students always lose during budget cuts.

I stewed in my anger for a good long time, wondering where I was going to go for dinner every week day night for the rest of the year. Then I talked to Tim Schaub, executive chef for the dining centers on campus: e.g., The Man – and it turns out he wasn’t just taking away our meatloaf.

I approached him outside of the Umphree Lee Center with the angriest eyebrows I could muster and asked him in the nicest way possible, “What the Hell is going on with Mac’s Place, and where is our damn lasagna?!”

Calm and collected, Mr. Schaub revealed to me his master plan. “We are not totally through with the changes yet.”

Yeah, sure, I thought, so when is Mac’s Place going to close for good?

I almost stopped listening in disgust, but I am unbelievably lucky that I didn’t: the next few words out of his mouth were “gourmet burgers” and “upscale sandwiches”.

As it turns out, my friends and I was absolutely wrong to cry into our mashed potatoes, because the hot section was now obsolete. All good things must get better with both innovation and time, and Tim Schaub is not shy of either. Over the next year, he explained, Mac’s Place is going to become more of an “upscale deli” than a university cafeteria.

After what we thought to be our Last Supper at Mac’s Place, my friends and I did notice a few changes that we could not help but enjoy. For one, Philly Cheese Steaks are now available next to the sandwiches. Another gladly accepted change is the chili added to the burger and hot dog toppings bar. Also, the brand new waffle bar was taken in by the students with such open arms that everyone almost forgot about the old Mac’s Place. Such is the trend that has been happening over the past week and will continue to happen over the next year.

The incentive for the changes has nothing to do with a renegade student bashing Mac’s Place, or even random budget cuts (I did not ask Mr. Schaub, but it seems pretty clear that budget cuts are the exact opposite of what is happening). Improvement seems to be the main drive behind all the Mac’s Place hubbub, and they are going about it in the best way possible.

In addition to polling students around campus as to what they would like at Mac’s Place, the dining staff at SMU interviewed a student union of about 60 kids asking them the same questions. Even better than that, they are accepting suggestions, questions or comments online from anybody who has two cents to put in. The changes that are happening are straight from the stomachs of students to the ears of Tim Schaub.

Aside from the particulars, the general consensus was that the RoFC was a better cafeteria because of both the selection and the hours that it keeps. This is where “student complaint” rumor got started, explaining a whole lot about the attitudes on campus – attitudes that are about to change drastically.

At the end of my conversation with Mr. Schaub, he dropped the bomb that blew away, for good, any misconceptions that I had about the changes at Mac’s Place: 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. People should not get their hopes up too soon, but this is the future and it sure is a bright one. By next year they hope to have revamped the entire cafeteria with the general idea of “upscale” in mind.

Rest easy, SMU, Mac’s Place is not only here to stay, it is getting much, much better.

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