Golden Bear Cafe stops serving fried food, turns to healthier options

After receiving news that the Golden Bear Cafe will no longer serve fried foods in favor of a healthier menu, some students have expressed disappointment on social media over no longer being able to access popular snacks such as chicken tenders at the campus dining spot.
Jessica Gleason/Staff
After receiving news that the Golden Bear Cafe will no longer serve fried foods in favor of a healthier menu, some students have expressed disappointment on social media over no longer being able to access popular snacks such as chicken tenders at the campus dining spot.

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Cal Dining has stopped serving fried foods at the Golden Bear Cafe, instead choosing to focus on healthier and more sustainable options.

The decision was officially implemented after the spring semester ended, according to Shawn LaPean, executive director of Cal Dining, and has drawn some criticism from students. He said Cal Dining has been changing menus in order to better reflect the campus and its food and wellness programs. Instead of fried chicken, the cafe will now serve burritos.

“The Golden Bear’s grill menu did not represent Cal Dining well and didn’t represent UC Berkeley well,” LaPean said.

Pat Brown’s and GBC are two on-campus restaurants that are currently undergoing menu changes — a process that has been going on for more than a year and a half, according to LaPean.

Some students expressed outrage through Facebook as news traveled that GBC would no longer be serving fried foods. According to many students, the fried foods provided at GBC, such as chicken tenders, provided convenience and were easily accessible as well as comforting to eat before or after a day of classes.

“At first glance, Cal prioritizing healthier foods … seems like the way to go, but I think it would hurt their sales and even our morale because delicious meals are one of the many long-awaited benefits of a tough day in class,” said sophomore Gabby Bozmarova in a Facebook message.

According to LaPean, Cal Dining works closely with the campus’s Residence Hall Assembly and the food committees when making decisions about menu changes.

“They can be mad at me as director, however I need to make decisions that are best for the program. We can’t be everything to everybody all the time,” LaPean said in an email. “Our choice is to try to be most things to most people most of the time.”

Cal Dining decided to implement a burrito section at GBC, redesigning the burrito recipes that were, according to LaPean, very popular at Pat Brown’s to be “healthier and sustainable.” The fryers at GBC were taken out to be replaced with a different piece of equipment for the burrito shop. Other menu changes will include new salad and sandwich options.

The fried food options, such as chicken tenders and fried chicken, will still be available in the dining halls and during Late Night.

Contact Sujin Shin at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sujinjshin.