New eatery cleans your plate with healthy options
Story by Karen Fernau
Photos by Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau
No pasta salads in peanut sauce. No splash of milk in soups. No hidden soy in tuna.
Simple Servings, a new eatery in Grand Canyon University’s Urban Center Café, serves only foods naturally free of the leading allergens. It’s open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday.
“Those with food allergies no longer have to customize their meals. The food at Simple Servings is prepared just for them,” said Zach Casavant, marketing and communications director for GCU Dining.
All meals at the Student Union restaurant are made free of milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and soy. Gluten-free options also are available. Simple Servings diners also can add to their all-you-can-eat plate from neighboring Parmesan, a pasta bar.
To avoid dangerous cross contamination, workers prepare the food at Simple Servings with separate equipment and utensils.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies are increasingly common, having skyrocketed nearly 50 percent since 1997. Today, more than 50 million Americans have a food allergy.
Symptoms of food allergies range from mild to fatal, from puffy eyelids to a windpipe swollen shut.
But people with food allergies aren’t the only ones drawn to Simple Servings. It also appeals to diners hungry for fresh, home-style cuisine.
Angelina Mikish, a junior biology major from Ukraine, said Simple Servings reminds her of food from home.
“I don’t have food allergies, but I like food that is healthy and not too over-seasoned,” said Mikish, a member of the GCU women’s swim team. “This food tastes like the food I grew up eating.”
She also can count on Simple Servings offering a diet that helps keep her in competition shape — fresh vegetables and lean proteins.
Prominently displayed labels also provide information on serving size and calories.
“Students really like the transparency. They like to know what they are eating,” Casavant said.
The meals range from lemon baked chicken, black bean and corn salad, fresh kale, rosemary pork loin and sweet potatoes to roasted Brussels sprouts. A selection of raw, chopped vegetables also is available.
Since the eatery opened this month, Khalil Alibougy has been dishing up Simple Servings lunches and dinners to rave reviews.
“The food is made from scratch with fresh ingredients and spices,” he said. “For every 10 with allergies, we serve 100 to those who love it because it tastes great and is good for them.”
Contact Karen Fernau at (602) 639-8344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.