The Kean University student newspaper, the "Cougar's Byte," reports on the success of the Cougar's Den, the new "all natural, healthy & delicious cafe."
Come eat at the Cougar's Den!
By: Strawberry Gallagher
above: (right) Chef Erik Weatherspool (left) a student meeting in the atrium seating area.
The Cougar's Den is the newest organic eatery on campus at Kean University. The idea of a healthier eatery on campus was created by President Dawood Farahi. He wanted an eatery on campus where the food was natural, healthy and delicious with a relaxing and inviting atmosphere. Carla Roberson a junior majoring in psychology stated that "the best thing about the Cougar's Den is that you do not feel like you are at school. You feel as though you are at a restaurant." Roberson enjoyed the Cougar's Den so much that she brought her father to the eatery to try the food.
Mark Dabundo, executive chef of Gourmet Dining, is an advocate of healthy eating and was very excited about the idea of renovating and re-opening the Cougar's Den. He believes the new Cougar's Den is beneficial for both Kean University and an urban environment, where there are numerous fast food corporations and few healthy food options. Shelsie Datilus, a senior that is majoring in elementary education with a dual major in special education stated, "The new Cougar's Den is very vibrant compared to the old one and the service is very good. I really like the plates with the Kean logos and the healthy options they have."
The Cougar's Den is different than any other eatery on campus. When students enter, they place their order in the front with the cashier, and then are given a number. Once the food is prepared, it is brought to you at your table. Tosin Adeodun stated, "The customer service is good and the workers are very friendly." The Cougar's Den has fresh fruit and nourishing food including salads, sandwiches, flatbreads and wraps. There are no preservatives, pesticides or additives in any of the options served at the Cougar's Den. Meats, cheese, honey, fruits, as well as herbs such as mint, oregano, thyme and basil are all natural and local products provided with the meal. Majorie Michel, a senior that is majoring in recreation and administration major said, "It is beautiful and different and I enjoy coming here to eat. It is upscale and five star quality. I approve of everything I have ordered here."
Mark Debundo commented, "Kean University and Gourmet Dining gives the community here a real choice now on what they choose to eat. There are plenty of options its up to the students to make the choice". He also made the menu in favor of diversity. There are many different dishes to meet the cultures of students such as Italian Middle Eastern and Mediterranean. Steven Sedano, a senior majoring in theatre, said, "I was here when they still had the old Cougar's Den and this one is way better. The food is so much better."
Beverages served are also nutritious and healthier; there are freshly made fruit smoothies, organic New Leaf iced teas, Planet Water, Naked juices and Bolyan sodas that are made from pure cane sugar. There are also many cakes served for dessert at the Cougar's Den. These desserts do not contain any type of fillers or artificial flavoring; all the sweeteners are natural. Camille Lambert, a senior majoring in sociology, stated, "It's really nice and both the food and service is excellent. We should have had this a long time ago. Now there is no excuse to eat unhealthy because there is a healthier option on campus."
The Cougar's Den is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on the weekends.