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Stop by Chemeketa’s Food Court

Chemeketa's Food Court, as seen from upstairs in Bldg. 2, serves a changing variety of breakfast and lunch items and is open Monday through Friday

Chemeketa’s Food Court, as seen from upstairs in Bldg. 2, serves a changing variety of breakfast and lunch items and is open Monday through Friday

By Nathan Pisano – Photo by Ted Stoffers

At Chemeketa’s Food Court, you really can “have it your way.”

“The customers decide the menu as much as I do,” Tim Bucknell, the college’s food services manager, said. “The most important factor is what’s going to sell – what is going to keep the customers happy.”

Bucknell has 25 years of experience with food services, nine of which were as a restaurant consultant. He has worked at Chemeketa for the past two years.

The food available at the Food Court, in Bldg. 2 on the Salem campus, also is determined by the season.

Bucknell said, “When I can buy local and seasonal, I do. During summer term, we have more access to local foods.”

Among the offerings currently available:

    • Hamburgers;
    • Sandwiches;
    • Pizza;
    • Nachos;
    • Tacos; and
    • Salads.

The menu is always subject to change.

Bucknell said that he was constantly trying out different foods.

He said, “The Food Court is very much like an amoeba; there is some kind of morphing going on at any point in time.

“This is why chalkboards are used to display the menu; they are easier to work with and can be changed at any time, even the middle of the day.”

Another factor in deciding the menu is getting good quality foods while keeping the price reasonable.

At around $8 a meal, the Food Court is considered by many to be reasonably priced, although at least some students would like to see more bargains.

“They should lower the price by at least a dollar,” Tanner Kahn, a second-year student at Chemeketa, said. “The food is pretty good, people like to eat there. It’s just too expensive.”

Other staff members and students believe that the prices are more than reasonable, given the convenience of not having to leave campus.

The price seems to be the only bone of contention, however. Most everyone agrees that the offerings served at the Food Court are of good quality and constantly improving.

Chemeketa’s Food Court was even featured in the local newspaper.

Bucknell said, “The Statesman Journal has been here before. They were queued to some changes and wanted to see what it was all about.”

The bottom line is that students have a say on what the Food Court offers.

“I try to take into account the different ethnicities [and] the different tastes of the students at Chemeketa,” Bucknell said.

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