Student Dining Options Change & Expand / Gracie Lee
Throughout the last few years, MC’s campus dining has changed drastically. Students who were freshmen in 2018 or 2019 have seen the decline of Pimentos and their beloved 1826, as well as the emergence of Einstein’s and Chick-fil-A. As a result, the fast-food scene on campus has transitioned from those MC trademarks to chain restaurants.
Despite their new surroundings, many students miss their favorite haunts, like 1826. “It may not have been the healthiest, but the food was good,” Todd McInnis, a junior, said. The popular burger joint closed in 2020 and is now only utilized as an event space. Its famous menu items included sliders and quesadillas. It also stayed open in the evening hours, unlike other campus dining options, which allowed students to eat after their labs and night classes.
Pimentos, the sandwich shop on Jefferson Street, temporarily closed on Jan. 19 due to COVID infections in their staff. It previously closed for the first time in February of 2021, and again in September, for the same reason. Since then, its doors have remained dark.
Even so, the arrival of Einstein Bros. Bagels and Chick-fil-A in the fall of 2020 appeased most students. Between the two, students have the option to eat before their morning classes or enjoy dinner with their friends. Einstein’s hours are 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7:30 a.m to 2:00 p.m. Friday. Chick-fil-A is open from 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday. Both restaurants are closed on the weekends, except for Chick-fil-A, which closes early at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Eliza Mims is a student worker at Chick-fil-A. “It’s nice to get to see all the different students that come by. I love the people I work with too,” she said. “They’re some of the best people I’ve met on campus.”
Cups, while not directly affiliated with campus, is never empty of students studying, drinking coffee, or meeting with professors. Students who choose not to frequent the ever-booming Commons claim it as their cozy hideaway to get homework done. Its presence has stayed constant throughout campus dining’s transitions with the times.
After hearing of the city aldermen’s approval of a new Arby’s at 320 Highway 80 East, students have many ideas as to what additional eateries should fill campus’s empty spaces.
Although Mims loves her job and appreciates its challenges, she doesn’t eat her complimentary employee’s chicken nuggets as often as her peers might. “I wouldn’t mind a spot that serves something other than fried food or bread,” she said. “When you eat chicken every day, four to five days a week, it really starts to feel mundane.” Many other students agreed, wanting healthier fast food, like Tropical Smoothie, Chicken Salad Chick, Subway, or Newks.
Most students voted that Clinton should soon house a Raising Cane’s. Some may argue that the local area doesn’t need another fried chicken dinner restaurant, but those in favor disagree. “No one wants to go drive to Flowood for Cane’s. I go to Chick-fil-A for the chicken. I go to Cane’s for everything else,” Maria Guay, a sophomore said. “I go for the sauce, the fries, and the toast–everything but the chicken.”
Whataburger came in second in student support. “We all need a honey butter chicken biscuit in our lives,” Sarabeth Tidwell, a senior, said.