Gut Reaction: Holly Pointe Café offers great food, no hassle

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Holly Pointe Cafe
A student picks out a sandwich at the Deli Corner in Holly Pointe Cafe. – Photo by Assane Drame

One of the features of Rowan’s new residence hall, Holly Pointe Commons, is its two-story, 20,000-square foot, 550-seat dining hall, Holly Pointe Café. My first trip to the new dining hall was mostly positive. However, it was fraught with a few issues that come with the opening of a new establishment.

As I arrived, students were being evacuated for a fire drill with plates in hands. After about 20 minutes, the fire department left and we were allowed to go
back inside.

The crowd of hungry students stood around the still-locked doors, chanting, “Food! Food! Food!” After some long minutes of waiting, cheers erupted as a chef opened the dining hall doors.

My first impression was that the hall was spacious and organized. The food selection included a deli corner, a grill bar, “Chef’s Table,” salad bar, “Piccola Italia” (meaning “Little Italy”) and “Hispanic Kitchen.” There were also were areas for dessert, grilling, fruit and all-day
breakfast foods.

I went over to the self-serve grill bar to pick up a safe option: a cheeseburger and fries. As someone who prefers their fries smooth, long and skinny, I can say Holly Pointe Café delivered in the fry department.

I sat near the windows, which looked down upon students walking across the lawn, as well as the ends of the Holly Pointe building extending in both directions. After I finished my burger, I went for seconds; this time going to the “Chef’s Table.” The featured entrée was smoky, chili-crusted chicken served over mac and cheese and green beans.

Unlike the buffet-style grill bar, at “Chef’s Table,” my entrée was served to me. They put just enough food on my plate. The meal was delicious, and the mac and cheese looked and tasted like mac and cheese should.

Other students found the food impressive as well, but lamented issues with the service.

“They have a nice deli where they have made really good Rueben’s, Cuban’s, and BBQ chicken wraps,” said junior radio, television, and film major Thomas DiNapoli. “The service is a little slow, but so far that has not been a problem, since it isn’t too crowded. But, I can foresee a problem in the future.”

Freshman biomedical engineering major Shola Karimu, a resident of Holly Pointe, felt the new dining hall had the same vibe as the Marketplace in the Chamberlain Student Center, but with fewer options. However, she was appreciative that Holly Pointe Café felt open and inclusive.

“The café is like a little hangout spot for other students who live in different dorms to check out Holly Pointe,” Karimu said. “I like how it doesn’t exclude other students from different dorms to eat there as well.”

The experience of eating at Holly Pointe Café was mostly positive. I can certainly see myself going back in the near future. The food was fine, the atmosphere was cool and it had the “new year, new me” feel that goes along with a brand new establishment. The service was solid and welcoming, and the price, $8.50, was decent for an all you can eat dining hall. It is a bit early in the semester to be giving out grades, but Holly Pointe Café earned a B+ in my book.

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