(Ben Kleppinger)

By Ben Kleppinger

Wide open spaces. Colorful track lighting. Shiny steel. Curvy, brightly painted walls. If you attended Eastern last year, you wouldn’t have used any of these phrases to describe the cafeteria in upstairs Powell. This year, they fit quite accurately.Over the summer, the Fresh Food Company on the second floor of Powell underwent some drastic cosmetic changes.

The food stations have several different kinds of track lighting, and many walls have been torn down or lowered to create a more open feel. On the end of the cafeteria nearest to Powell corner, a low winding wall has been added that blocks people who take the elevator from skipping past the cash register.

In the main dining area that overlooks Powell plaza, the large wall dividers have been taken down, and the pasta station has been absorbed by the pizza station.

A single food conveyor on the Powell corner end is now the only option for returning dirty dishes.

On the end nearest to Todd and Dupree, the area previously occupied by the second conveyor has been opened up for extra seating.

Many students said the changes made the cafeteria look more modern, but some were unpleased by what they saw as chaos.

“I have no idea where anything is,” junior broadcasting major Nathan Underwood said. “There’s no order to it.”

Underwood said the lack of signs letting students know where different food stations are left him unsure where to go.

“I don’t like being confused,” senior English major Kara Lairson said. “I’ve been in the same environment for four years.”

Charlie Brubeck, director of operations for food services at Eastern, said the signs were removed to create a better atmosphere.

“When you go to a sit-down restaurant, you don’t see signs,” he said.

Other students had problems with the large amounts of open space in the redesigned cafeteria.

“They need more seating,” senior nursing major Savanna Summers said. “It’s mostly the same, just a little different looking.”

Brubeck said despite the more open feel, there had been no change in seating capacity.

Brubeck also said that other than the new look, The Fresh Food Company had an entirely new menu. The biggest change students will notice is the addition of a Mongolian grill and a vegan station serving vegan food every day, according to Brubeck.

“I think it’s a big change,” Brubeck said. “And it was time for a change.