More diversity in dining options needed near campus

Photo courtesy Google Image.

Chick-Fil-A on the right, another Chick-Fil-A on the left, a chicken store down the street, and chicken tenders around the block.

Sound familiar? If so, then you’re probably thinking this sounds a lot like Tallahassee.
Many students have complained about the lack of diversity among the restaurants in the areas predominantly occupied by students.

Now granted, one may say you can drive to the outskirts of town if you really want to expand your taste buds and have a broader selection of dining spots at your disposal. However, how unreasonable would that be for the young students without cars? Are they not privileged enough to experience such delicacies in perhaps, Thomasville, across the state line in Georgia?

“It really sucks that just about every restaurant around campus serves mostly chicken and fries. I don’t have a car, so it’s not like I can just drive out of town for a meal,” said Cynthia Andre, a second-year psychology student at Florida State University. “I guess you can say I’m food depressed because of the lack of options.”

Food is a big way for people to bond and explore cultures outside of their own. There is no better time to try new things and meet new people than during the four — if not more — years you spend away from home at college. And Tallahassee is full of students from various backgrounds looking to expand their palate and enjoy new foods.

For example, establishing more restaurants or casual dining spots dedicated to ethnic cuisine such as Greek, Thai, and Italian food into the town’s metropolitan eateries can bring in more local tourism while allowing students to enjoy some of their new favorite meals.

“I love to eat and try new foods. It doesn’t matter what it is; I’ll try it. I even get my friends to try new things with me, and it’s like our thing,” said Dorothy Noriega, a third-year business student at Florida A&M University. “But it’s gotten kind of redundant when everything tastes the same. I mean, it’s practically all chicken-related in the area. If there were more cultural restaurants near my school, I’d probably be a food connoisseur by now.”

The chicken crisis near campus is not only about diversity but some students even worry for their health. When most of the food in the area is fried and salty, it makes sense that many students are searching for healthier, vegan options. However, these eating places are rare gems between the two schools, FAMU and FSU.

“I can’t lie; I am just slightly worried that one day eating like this will catch up to me. I just know it’s not healthy for me, for anyone really,” said Adrienne Lane, a fourth-year health science major at FAMU. “I’m a health major, so trust me, I check for these things, and I just think we all could use something healthier and more fulfilling. Everyone just wants the best for themselves, and it can start with what you eat and your personal health.”