By David Ford
With food options increasing around campus, Youngstown State University students and faculty wrestle with the one question: where to eat.
YSU offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options across campus, from locations in Kilcawley Center to the strip on Lincoln Ave.
Charlie Staples recently began accepting Pete’s Points, a leading food currency for students. Danielle Blair, the manager at Charlie Staples, said this change was made to meet student demands.
“The majority of students are always looking for different places to eat,” Blair said. “We allow the points to draw more students in.”
Charlie Staples is near the outskirts of campus, next to the University Edge apartments on Rayen Ave. Famous for its southern-style original barbecue, Staples has been in business for over 40 years, utilizing a barbecue recipe that hasn’t changed for a century, Blair said.
“It’s a landmark of the city and one of the best restaurants around,” Blair said. “That’s why more people should come.”
Charlie Staples, despite its historic standing, is just one of many restaurants in the area. The Mahoning Valley Restaurant has offered people of Youngstown, especially YSU students, a place to eat for several years.
MVR hosted a Barstool Sports pre-game show for the YSU/North Dakota State football game back in October.
While Youngstown has no shortage of places to eat for its college students, some still have trouble making the decision.
One YSU student, Mathew Perry, is always trying to find new places to grab some food. For Perry, the cost plays a major role.
“I think there’s a decent amount of food options but the prices suck,” Perry said. “I often find myself picking one place to eat over another because of their prices.”
Perry said he typically eats at a variety of different places, but found one restaurant in particular he enjoys for both its food quality and price.
“I love Subway. The food is pretty good and is a reasonable amount [of food] for the price,” Perry said.
Perry also said he believes there’s a good variety of places to eat that taste good, and ones that are strictly health-based.
Zara Rowlands, an associate professor and chair of the Human Ecology Department, said nutrition students did a study a few years ago where they looked at different restaurant menus on campus, seeing what would be healthy for students and what wouldn’t be.
Based on the results, Rowlands said there’s no reason someone can’t find healthy food options.
“You can find them anywhere, you just need to know [what] you’re looking for,” Rowlands said. “For example, there’s a spinach and tomato salad at Inner Circle, famous for its gooey pizza.”
According to Rowlands, most people are on the run and don’t have much time to sit down and eat.
“The things most people buy are pizza, and it can be 700 calories or more for one or two slices,” Rowlands said. “Most of the food they eat is fast food, meaning what they eat is portable. You can walk around eating a burger and some of these burgers get ridiculous [with their contents].”
Rowlands said a lot of options around campus are fast food. For most students, this option is convenient.
“Fast food places develop their menu to taste really good. It’s fatty, it’s salty; they aren’t too concerned with your health … After they’ve been sued so many times, they made more efforts to add healthier options,” Rowlands said.