Just in time for the new academic year, the dining hall inside Connell Student Center has a fresh new look and some brand-new offerings, including an allergen-friendly food station. 

Renovations to Fresh Food Company, located on the Macon campus, began on May 17 and wrapped up in August. The biggest addition is the new True Balance station, which won’t use any of the top eight food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

“The goal of the True Balance station is to provide allergen-friendly dining options for those with food allergies or food-related medical conditions,” said Mercer Dining Executive Chef Jimmy Brown. “We can also personalize your specific dietary requirements and help you find foods that fit your lifestyle requirements.”

True Balance has its own food storage and preparation equipment, such as ovens, steamers and color-coded serving utensils, in order to reduce cross-contamination from other stations.

A student gets food from the new allergen-free station.
A student gets food from the new allergen-friendly station.

“Our market research studies indicate that there is an increased demand for addressing allergen-related or food-sensitivity concerns, and the True Balance station was implemented to help address these growing food concerns,” Brown said.

Other equipment upgrades to Fresh Food Company include an expanded salad bar that allows for more toppings, high-tech fryers for the grill stations and new hot wells, which keep foods at proper serving temperatures. In response to student feedback, a self-serve waffle bar with new waffle irons has also been created. 

Diners will still find all their favorite food stations inside the dining hall, just in a rearranged order.

Fresh Food Company has also been repainted, and wall decals and décor themed around the culinary food story have been added.

“The concept behind our Fresh Food Company is to create an exceptional dining experience for the guest that evokes a sense of fresh ingredients harvested from local and global cultures delivered with a welcoming smile,” Brown said. “We are focused on providing innovative and on-trend food options, while offering a variety of high quality items for our students and guests to enjoy.”


Do you have a story idea or viewpoint you'd like to share with The Den?
Get in touch with us by emailing den@mercer.edu or submitting this online form.
Andrea Honaker is a digital content specialist at Mercer. She writes feature stories for The Den and creates and maintains content for primary University web pages. She also plans and executes campaigns for the primary official Mercer University social media accounts.