Food, glorious food: Exciting changes in Simpson dining


Julia Crady is the new general manager of Simpson Dining Services. Photo by Randy Paulson/The Simpsonian

by Blake Carlson, Staff Writer

When was the last time you ate in Pfeiffer Dining Hall? Odds are, it’s been quite a while.

Julia Crady wants to change that.

The new general manager of Simpson Dining Services has already started implementing major menu changes and has no plans of stopping anytime soon.

“We are still getting our feet wet,” Crady said. “I like to call it phase one; phase one has started.”

Crady recently relocated to Iowa after working as an assistant director of dining at her alma mater, Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri.

From the moment she stepped on campus at the beginning of the semester, she has been working to improve food quality and presentation in all of the dining locations, starting primarily with Pfeiffer Dining Hall.

Students have noticed an expanded salad bar, as well as a self-serve deli. Moving forward, she says students can expect improvements in the pizza and grill station menus, as well as more variety in the expo station.

Simpson freshman Paris Flack, appreciates the improvements and plans to start eating at Pfeiffer more often.

“I used to hate eating there for dinner,” Flack said. “Now, I like eating at Pfeiffer more than Kent. The food actually tastes better.”

Pfeiffer is not the only facility to experience recent changes. The “grab and go” cooler that was formerly in the Pfeiffer entryway has been relocated to Tyler’s Grill in Kent Campus Center in an effort to be more accessible to students late at night.

Simpson junior Patrick Long-Quian believes the cooler will be a valuable resource in Kent.

“The cooler in Tyler’s is a much better idea because it is much more accessible to more of campus,” Long-Quian said. “I think that more people visit Kent on a daily-basis than Pfeiffer.”

As for long-term goals, Crady hopes to change more than just the menu.

“I would love to see some renovation occur. I have been working closely with Luke (Behaunek) to vary the food options, as well as a facility beautification project in Pfeiffer,” Crady said. “The goal is to make it feel like a dining center and not a cafeteria. Nobody wants to eat in a cafeteria.”

She is also working to be more accessible to students and seek feedback.

“I am always in the dining facilities. A lot of times, I will sit down at the table with students and ask what they like and don’t like,” Crady said. “Give me the feedback, if you don’t like it, I want to know.”

She wants students to know she can be reached via email and also plans to launch a more prominent social media presence.  

“Social media will be a big driving force within the next semester to make food options and feedback more accessible,” Crady said.

Additionally, members of the Student Government Association food committee are available to hear student comments and concerns. Members of the committee are Jacob Becker, Elliot Meyer, Mackenzie Ritscher, Drew Roen, Gracie Shaw and Erik Knouse.

Crady enjoys the environment at Simpson and is looking forward to serving student’s needs.

“At Simpson, everyone is kind of a big family, and that’s really cool,” she said. “I like that.”

Crady’s office is located in the Student Development suite on the second floor of Kent Campus Center. Her email address is [email protected].