ZeBi criticized for expensive options, unwelcoming milieu

BY JUSTIN KOZLOSKI ’14
Senior Editor

As I am sure everyone knows by now, Jazzman’s (my wonderful, caffeine haven) has been replaced by ZeBi, as in, Zest Bistro. While the change definitely inspired campus response, at least amongst upperclassmen, I have yet to see how this improves my life or on-campus dining variety.

My first complaint about ZeBi is the name. I am positive I have not heard two people pronounce the name in exactly the same way.

Not only does no one know how to say the name, but the building has become a relatively cold and modern chic eatery as opposed to the warm and welcoming café I used to trudge to for refuge after a long day in Shad.

One of the most endearing qualities I found in Jazzman’s was the décor; the café atmosphere was what made Jazzman’s special. Now all of those coffee shop qualities have been replaced by the cold, steel and glass interior that screams high school cafeteria more than anything else. Where there was once a homey and softly lit menu which easily listed all of the options very clearly, there is now a giant, obnoxious and glaring flat screen, which is more irritating than anything else. And where there were once racks of coffees, teas, and pastries all displayed in the traditional café display case, there is now a cold wall of glass, which slashes the space into two distinct spheres and ruins the formerly welcoming atmosphere.

Appearances aside, I cannot come to understand why the whole restaurant had to change for such insignificant “improvements” in dining. Yeah, I get it, there is now more fresh and organic food, but the menu is hardly something to die for. There are about five sandwich options and the “customization,” which was the main selling point of ZeBi, is limited to adding lettuce, tomato, and sauce to each sandwich in varying degrees.

Also, when I heard fresh and organic, I had images of really awesome items made with exceptional, locally grown ingredients, but I soon discovered all of the sandwiches are made with lunch meat that can essentially be purchased at the local grocery store — the furthest thing from my mind when I think of organic.

However, all of the lauded “improvements” do not come cheap. I was hoping the new eatery might bring an affordable option to campus for people like me who do not have a meal plan (as the other eating options have made it apparent that to have one is detrimental to my health). I was sadly mistaken. For a piece of bread smaller than the average cell phone, a pitiful piece of lettuce, and a few slices of processed lunch meat, one can expect to pay an exorbitant $5.19. Oh, I forgot the side salad! Sure that is included but it is composed of bagged salad mix and a few croutons — how nutritious!
I know for a fact making the trip to Panera would provide not only a better, but also healthier experience, since both restaurants list the calories of their entrees. ZeBi is nowhere near the same level.

Overall, the changes to the restaurant formerly known as Jazzman’s Café have failed to address many of the problems they were supposed to. I am all for changes to campus dining but I disagree that ZeBi brought about any of the changes students need or want.

Questions? Email Justin at jkozlosk@fandm.edu.

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