Thoughts on the Mane Dish from students and staff


Kate Oborina

The Mane Dish has many options available for many different diets, but concerns from students are still prevalent.

Southeastern Louisiana University has a variety of food choices for students and employees, from Starbucks, Subway and Taco Bell to the campus’s cafeteria, “Mane Dish.” 

The Mane Dish is a school cafeteria that has been ranked as one of the best in the state. It is a popular food spot at SLU that provides breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. 

Mane Dish takes care of students and always looks for alternative options for those who follow specific diets or have allergies.

Gianna Nastasi, the marketing manager for Dining Services, said a few students have individual preferences; however, the staff tries to accommodate everyone. 

“We ask that if a student has a particular preference, allergy or dietary concern, they set up a meeting with one of our chefs and managers to further discuss how we can best assist them,” Nastasi said.

Since the beginning of the spring 2023 semester, The Mane Dish has expanded its stations, adding a new vegan option. Students can choose the ingredients that are 100% vegan, and one of the chefs sautés the ingredients right in front of them. 

According to Nastasi, students with allergy concerns can always talk to Mane Dish employees to ask for individual preferences and are always eager to help. 

“Our chefs and managers always have a listening ear when students come to them with food allergy concerns. Our True Balance station is also open Monday-Friday and is always free from the nine most common allergens – milk, eggs, wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soybeans, sesame and fish,” Nastasi stated.

A lot of students are satisfied with the Mane Dish options. Nevertheless, some people have concerns. 

Football athlete Jett Booker eats at The Mane Dish daily and his main concern is food portions. 

“The portions are small, so I’m going up and getting more food every 5-10 minutes. They treat us like non-athletes and give us a regular portion size, but we need more nutrition to fuel ourselves.”

Many athletes complained that food on the weekends is not good enough because there is a poor variety of healthy choices, such as burgers and pizza. 

Nastasi said all the stations are open during the weekends, including the salad and vegan stations, with the exception of True Balance. The other open stations during the weekend all have healthy options such as salads, veggie burgers and grilled chicken, as well as gluten-free options upon request.

Many students, however, complain that food on the weekends is no more than fast food options. 

“Each weekend I try to eat out because there is simply nothing in the cafeteria other than burgers, pizza and the salad station,” said a student who wished to remain anonymous. 

Despite the complaints, The Mane Dish contends it continues to attempt to accommodate everyone and their personal dietary preferences. Students can view The Mane Dish menu online and email [email protected] with any specific comments or suggestions.