As The Rock Café reopens during the fall semester, students share both excitement and skepticism about the cafeteria’s new changes.
The Rock Café closed down to start renovations on May 7. Over the summer semester, The Quad Café served as Ferris’ main cafeteria. The Rock officially reopened on Aug. 8 and has sparked excitement and skepticism in Ferris’ student body.
According to digital animation and game design sophomore Jason Zawacki, the front desk is now a standalone in the center as opposed to a counter against the wall. A few of the food locations moved around, but there were no changes to the core structure of The Rock Café itself. A more modern and aesthetically pleasing design has been added to the café, and nothing has been taken out.
“[The Rock] feels a lot more modern with all of the metal,” Zawacki said. “I think The Rock generally has a cleaner aesthetic than before, but more of it feels like minor improvements. Which begs the question, what was the reason for the renovations?”
Zawacki’s believes that there may have been more changes behind the scenes, making things easier for student workers and staff since the renovations don’t make much of a difference to the students.
“There were no changes on the core structure of The Rock itself,” Zawacki said. “Maybe it was more backline changes or invisible changes.”
In the eyes of social work senior Jason Fitzpatrick, the changes The Rock Café has made make navigation much easier. With the entrance and exit signs at the dish return removed, bumping into other students becomes less of a problem. However, this has been the only way the user experience of The Rock has changed.
“I’ve noticed some aesthetic differences too, such as the newly stylized lighting and the map of Michigan drawn on the wall in the room to the right of the entrance,” Fitzpatrick said. “There is now a station for providing food to people with food allergies as well.”
While many students report an improvement on The Rock’s aesthetics, Fitzpatrick, express that the changes felt unnecessary. Aesthetics are not as important as problems that have been ignored, such as the food quality.
“The changes they spent the most money on matter the least,” Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t think the aesthetic changes add much to the experience of the dining hall.”
Other students, such as graphic media management sophomore Bec Johnson held similar opinions.
“I don’t think they’ve made all the necessary changes they needed to for the means of appearance,” Johnson said. “They hung up modern lamps in the front, but what about the rips and tears in some of the couch cushions? It’s the same as the years before when I was here in 2021.”
Johnson feels that the changes in aesthetic are not the problems The Rock Café should have been focusing on during its renovations. They believe that the quality of the food is more important than what the Rock looks like, and should’ve been taken care of first.
“The food is basically the same as the years before,” Johnson said. “It’s mid at best. Nothing higher by all means with quality as well as edibility.”
While students’ opinions are diverse, Johnson shares distaste with some of The Rock’s foods. Most students report high satisfaction with multicultural foods such as the Mongolian station and Chef’s Special, served only for a few hours every Saturday.
“The Mongo is my go-to,” Johnson said. “It’s the only thing that surpasses the ‘mid range’ of quality [in my opinion].”
Overall, The Rock’s summer renovations have improved the cafeteria’s aesthetic with a cleaner and more modern look. While the changes are visually pleasing to the student, the quality of food has not changed with the exception of an added allergen-friendly station. If The Rock continues its changes, students would benefit from higher quality food outside of the multicultural foods rather than visual changes.