THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2018
ATHENS CULTIVATES RESTAURANTS AND DISHES THAT STUDENTS AND LOCALS HAVE COME TO KNOW AND LOVE. THIS ISSUE IS DEDICATED TO THOSE FAMILIAR FLAVORS.
Brunch life in Athens P6
Athletesâ€™ diets in season P17
Cover story: family kitchens P18
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ELIZABETH BACKO MANAGING EDITOR Kaitlin Coward DIGITAL MANAGING EDITOR Hayley Harding SENIOR EDITOR Marisa Fernandez
NEWS EDITORS Maddie Capron, Bailey Gallion SPORTS EDITOR Andrew Gillis CULTURE EDITORS Georgia Davis, Mae Yen Yap OPINION EDITOR Chuck Greenlee COPY CHIEF Alex McCann
ART DIRECTORS Abby Gordon, Sarah Olivieri PHOTO EDITORS Carl Fonticella, Meagan Hall, McKinley Law, Blake Nissen, Hannah Schroeder SPECIAL PROJECTS DESIGNER Abby Day
DIGITAL PRODUCTION EDITOR Taylor Johnston SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR Kate Ansel BLOGS EDITOR Alex Darus MULTIMEDIA EDITOR Andy Hamilton INTERIM BUSINESS MANAGER Lily Perdomo Demorejon
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FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
Making the food edition
s the end of the academic year nears, The Post staff wanted to produce a paper that everyone could relate to, so we chose do a special food edition. Of course, we write about food during our day-to-day reporting. During this academic year, we reported on the food pantry in Baker Center, the new grocery store in Vinton County, a local farm where students grow their own food and more. In past years, we wrote about people’s favorite late-night eateries and had an entire Post Modern feature dedicated to Union Street Diner. But this time, we wanted to ELIZABETH BACKO / take a deeper dive into some of the different aspects of food. In EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Athens, a lot of human interaction revolves around food. Sometimes, it’s meeting someone at a bar over food or a drink, or sometimes it’s catching up with old friends at brunch on a Sunday. Each year, people compete to see who will leave a legacy in Athens by creating a new sandwich at Bagel Street Deli after winning Pickle Fest. Or for some, that means re-examining a love for pickles after partaking in the competition. People also have the chance to try new foods every year at the International Street Fair, and people can bond with alumni over their favorite Athens-only cuisine during Homecoming. In this issue, we take a closer look at the importance of a balanced diet and how fad diets typically do not work out in the long run. We address the challenges that food truck vendors face, such as inconsistent weather and obtaining a vending license that allows them to sell food on East State Street. For some, the atmosphere of a restaurant adds to the experience, so we dive into how certain restaurants decorate to enhance the meal. Aside from the articles going in the print edition, we also have multimedia content related to food along with a few fun food blogs about the best food apps to download. All of our food-related content from this week can be found on an online landing page created by our digital team. In many ways, food brings us together, and we hope this issue gives you a little taste of Athens. Elizabeth Backo is a senior studying journalism and the editor-inchief of The Post. Want to talk to her? Email her at email@example.com or send her a tweet @liz_backo.
Cover photo by Blake Nissen
A week’s worth of discounted pub grub MADELEINE PECK FOR THE POST
Bars in Athens are known for their lagers and late nights, but during the day, some serve up more than just drinks. Every week day, Court Street establishments offer discounted food specials even wallet-strained students want to gobble up. @M_PECKABLE MP172114@OHIO.EDU
$5.99 for all sandwiches and wraps at The Pigskin Bar and Grille $1.50 tacos, $5 quesadillas and $5 extreme nachos at Broney’s Alumni Grill
Half off appetizers at Broney’s Alumni Grill and Lucky’s Sports Tavern
$2 off any sub at Lucky’s Sports Tavern
Get a free appetizer with any two meals at The Pigskin Bar and Grille
Half off appetizers at Broney’s Alumni Grill
$4.99 for a pound of boneless wings at The Pigskin Bar and Grille
50 cent slices of cheese pizza and 75 cent slices of pepperoni pizza at Courtside Pizza, 5-9 p.m.
$4.95 for oven-baked chicken parmesan at Lucky’s Sports Tavern
$3.25 for a cup and $3.95 for a bowl of beer cheese soup at The Pub (also available on Sundays)
50 cent cheese sticks from 4-8 p.m. at Lucky’s Sports Tavern
$5.95 bacon cheeseburgers with fries at The Pub
ILLUSTRATIONS BY RILEY SCOTT THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 3
A look into the world of vegan podcasts Flashback to Pickerington North High School. It was my junior year, and us theater kids desperately needed something to do to entertain ourselves. Enter the two, fearless LIAM warriors in this anecdote: my NIEMEYER brother, Johan, and our friend is a senior Campbell. Who could go lonstudying ger on a vegan diet and not give journalism into their animal-eating ways? The winner got sweet, sweet bragging rights. The loser would take part in an inaugural, sacred ritual blessed by soda companies everywhere: be baptized in liters of Sprite and be forced to have the sticky, dried soda on their body for the rest of the day. The contest was plant-based; the punishment was cruel, crisp, lemon-lime flavor. Seeing my brother voluntarily give up animal products in his diet not only was entertaining to watch, but it also made me realize how challenging the vegan diet was for someone completely new to the lifestyle. There are plenty of vegan YouTubers and bloggers that help vegan newbies find their way without the usual burgers and steaks that mainstream America consumes daily. That includes vegan podcasters, who talk about everything from new animal-product-free recipes to how to get into bodybuilding consuming only plants. I took a look at few of those podcasts, and I honestly might try to incorporate more plantbased meals into my diet after listening. Also, Johan totally lost. He accidentally ate a Goldfish cracker, which is not vegan, apparently. He hasn’t been baptized, but one day, he will. I give my promise on that, readers. ‘VEGAN WARRIOR PRINCESSES ATTACK!’ The show, hosted by enthusiastic vegans Nichole Dinato and Callie Coker, has listeners know right away what it’s about with a scripted monologue at the beginning of each episode: “(This is) a podcast that attacks a wide range of topics from an anti-capitalist, feminist, anarchist, pro-intersection and, of course, vegan perspective.” One can see Dinato and Coker are good friends based on their constant teasing about various things happening in their lives. But the light-heartedness of their friendship doesn’t get in the way of the tough topics they talk about. The two often talk about recent news and how it relates to capitalism, feminism and the other topics they care about. 4 / APRIL 12, 2018
While some of their conversation can be charming, the podcast was a bit boring. There seemed to be little editing involved throughout, and it was a long listen. Some of their episodes go more than two hours. If the two could condense their episodes down to an hour, then they could retain a lot more listeners in the future. Rating: 2 out of 5 earbuds ‘THE PLANTRIOTIC PODCAST’ What caught my attention with this show is how compelling of an interviewer the host, Jackson Foster, is when he’s talking about topics surrounding veganism and overall health with various people. Foster hosts this podcast alongside a YouTube vlog about his vegan lifestyle, and his conversation comes across as authentic, first and foremost. Not only does Foster ask vegan bodybuilder Brian Turner about how his vegan diet has changed over time, but he also dives into the bullying Turner endured as a kid because of the acne sometimes triggered by Turner’s former diet. There isn’t much noticeable production or editing with this podcast, but it isn’t necessarily a turn-off for me. His personality shines through, and it’s compelling. Rating: 4 out of 5 earbuds ‘OUR HEN HOUSE’ Imagine if the interview style of public radio show host Terry Gross collided with vegan culture, and you might come up with this podcast as a result. Hosted by Mariann Sullivan and Jasmin Singer, this show is dedicated to “end the exploitation of animals,” and the two do that by interviewing people from all sorts of backgrounds animal rights and otherwise about the work they do. If anyone has listened to Terry Gross’ show, Fresh Air, one might know Gross’ questions to be drawn-out and — according to some people — excessively lengthy. Singer and Sullivan seem to have Gross’ interview style down like it was memorized out of a textbook, yet the answers given by interviewees on the show make up for the slightly annoying line of questioning. Along with the folksy intro music, this show is a decent crash course into the vegan universe. I definitely will try to listen to a few more episodes. Rating: 4 out of 5 earbuds Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Will you give these vegan pods a listen? Let Liam know by tweeting him @liamniemeyer.
CINEMA AND SYNTAX
Indie films are home to impactful stories For one week every year, Athens becomes the home to many filmmakers for the Athens International Film GEORGIA and Video Festival. DAVIS The festival covers is a junior topics that aren’t studying covered in the journalism mainstream movie market, from rural America to movie theaters in India. It’s always amazing to see films that are outside of the norm, but why trap them in the indie movie market? The film industry is just starting to diversify itself. It includes some more women behind the scenes and people of color are stepping into larger roles on set. Marvel’s Black Panther just sailed past James Cameron’s Titanic to become the third highest grossing film in the U.S. Though the market is becoming more diverse, it still tells very similar stories without providing commentary on the current social and political states. One of the only films to do so in the last year was Get Out, which highlighted the struggles black people face in America. But it was an exception to the formulaic box office hits. Five of the 10 top-grossing movies of 2017 were about superheroes. The 10 films featured predominantly white casts, and social commentary wasn’t their focus. The top-grossing film was Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which earned more than $620 million at the box office. The second was Beauty and the Beast. The Disney film was the first one from the studio to feature a gay character, but it was only mentioned brief ly, was not the primary focus of the film and was a poor way to portray a gay character. Get Out, which some consider an indie film, was 15th in box office numbers with more than $160 million.
But in the indie market, there were a lot of films that touched on different issues. The Florida Project was a beautiful neorealist masterpiece that highlighted poverty in Orlando. A Fantastic Woman, a Chilean film that won Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards, featured a transgender woman who had to cope with ostracism and the death of her male partner. Call Me By Your Name told a beautiful coming-of-age story about a boy who falls in love with an older man in the ’80s. Those films were not just good movies because they looked aesthetically pleasing — they were good because they told stories no one else is telling. The indie market is not without faults, though. The casts are still very white. Women still have problems making the movies and getting the recognition they deserve. And some of them are just out to get awards. One movie in particular that was interesting but worrisome was Daniel Day-Lewis’ final acting role in Phantom Thread. The movie highlighted problems in relationships, specifically dealing with toxic masculinity. The mainstream movie market is moving toward more inclusion, but it’s not going to get anywhere by sanitizing issues or just adapting young adult novels about gay teenagers. Bigger studios need to push for more social commentary, actually say something about what’s going on in the world and create an active movie going experience. If they don’t, they are doing a huge disservice to their viewers. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What do you think the film industry can do to tell more impactful stories? Tell Georgia by tweeting her at @ georgiadee35.
Changing cuisines, differences in dining WHAT IT USED TO BE LIKE TO EAT IN THE DINING HALLS IN THE 1960S AND ’70S KAITLIN COWARD MANAGING EDITOR
ating in Ohio University’s dining halls used to be a lot different 50 years ago. From locations to food options to prices, here’s a glimpse at how the dining halls have changed in the past five decades: MORE DINING HALLS, LESS CHOOSING Students in the 1960s and ’70s had more options to grab a meal than current students. They could get food from each green, with multiple dining halls on East, West, South and College greens. The current dining halls — Boyd, Shively and Nelson — all served meals, but other locations, such as Bryan, Lindley, Grosvenor and Irvine halls, also offered food. Unlike today, when students can grab a bite at any dining hall they wish, students then were each assigned a hall based on where they lived, and those halls were tacked onto their student IDs. Those students needed to present their IDs and those assignments to get into the dining hall, as opposed to now when students use their IDs to swipe in at the entrance of a dining hall. Though they had those assignments, students did have the option to transfer to other dining halls on Saturday night and Sunday at about noon. OPTIONS AND COST OF MEALS The full buffet-style options and multiple stations at all of the dining halls would be new to anyone who attended OU in the late ’60s. Each menu in 196869 was made up of three salads, two entrees, four vegetables, three desserts and four beverages. “(They) complement each other and provide for the satisfaction of the broadest possible range of tastes and nutritional requirements,” page three of The Food Service Program 1968-69 reads. Each meal cost a different price for
COST OF MEALS FOR GUESTS, NOT ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION, IN 1968-69 Breakfast: 75 cents Continental: 50 cents Lunch: $1.25 Dinner: $1.75
guests in the 1968-69 academic year. Breakfast cost 75 cents, continental breakfast cost 50 cents, lunch was $1.25 and dinner was $1.75. Accounting for inflation, those costs today would be about $5, $3.50, $9 and $12. “A continuous effort is made to improve both of the quality and variety of menus served in order to cater to the varied tastes, appetites and food idiosyncrasies of over 10,000 customers,” page three of The Food Service Program 1968-69 reads. A “seconds program” was created that year, so students could come back for more if they were still hungry. “The reason for our ‘comeback seconds’ policy is the very human, but expensive, tendency to take more than we can eat,” The Food Service Descriptive Literature guide reads. “By requiring those who want seconds to return for them later, we are able to cater to the varying appetites of our customers at a minimum cost.” Carbonated beverages such as Pepsi, 7-Up and root beer were additions to the 1970-71 menu. CATERING OPTIONS People could order a variety of options through catering services, including different types of service from banquet style to cafeteria to buffets. Using any dining hall cost at least $50. Smaller options like tea or coffee cost 30–40 cents, and full meals cost up to about $5. Some dinner options included broiled New York strip steak at $4.75, baked Virginia ham with orange sauce at $3 and fried jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce at $3.
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But first, brunch
ILLUSTRATION BY NATHAN SZOCH
HOW ATHENS RESTAURANTS AND CHEFS ARE SERVING THE LATEST MEAL TREND FLANNERY JEWELL
/ FOR THE POST
College students are lucky if they remember to grab a piece of fruit or a granola bar before leaving for their morning classes. But the weekend, especially Sunday, presents an opportunity to sleep in and enjoy a late breakfast â€” or an on-time brunch. 6 / APRIL 12, 2018
“I think people function well during daylight hours, and brunch is sort of a fun time,” Grace Corbin, marketing coordinator at Casa Nueva, said. “It’s like you haven’t had a lot of interactions, you haven’t been doing chores or errands, and you’re just like, ‘I’m gonna go casually eat a meal.’ ” Brunch, the combination of breakfast and lunch, is a meal typically eaten on the weekend from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some may say brunch foods are a hangover cure; others say the meal is a good way to catch up with friends. Casa Nueva, 6 W. State St., has served a breakfast menu since it opened in 1985, but Corbin said people are sometimes surprised to hear the restaurant serves breakfast every day. Casa Nueva serves a variety of unique breakfast dishes, ranging from huevos rancheros to the “Casa Que Pasa” omelet, a vegetable and cheese omelet with guacamole as the key filling. Hilarie Burhans, co-owner of Salaam, 21 W. Washington St., said about two years ago, the restaurant started offering a brunch menu exclusively on Sundays. “We had ideas of great foods,” Burhans said. “At the time, it seemed like there was an untapped market for brunch.” It seems that some sororities caught onto the brunch trend long before restaurants did. Christina Warner, executive chef at Ohio University’s chapter of Pi Beta Phi, said the chapter has served brunch to its members “every Friday since the girls can remember.” Warner said she notices more women hanging out in the dining room during brunch time instead of taking their food to go. Some of the women’s favorite brunch foods are Warner’s homemade cinnamon rolls and “dippy eggs.” “They’re eggs over medium, but all the girls call them dippy eggs,” Warner said. Sorority sister or not, it’s always time for brunch at Union Street Diner. Located on the west side of Athens, the diner is open 24/7 and offers everything from eggs Benedict to club sandwiches and steak Phillies. Cook Benjamin Shonk said Sunday mornings are the busiest day of the week for the restaurant. The restaurant’s Sunday rush usually lasts from about 8:30 a.m. until around 3 p.m. Shonk has been a line cook for more than three years, and he is very familiar with what people like to order for brunch on Sundays. “People enjoy our country breakfast. It gives you your eggs, your hash, your
Five ways to up your brunch game: 1. THE ‘COMFY BUT CHIC’ LOOK Because brunch foods can also be hangover cures after a long weekend, looking “hangover chic” is a cozy way to enjoy your eggs Benedict. To achieve the look, throw on a pair of sunglasses and some sweatpants. You could even keep your outfit on from Saturday night. It’s Athens. We don’t judge here. 2. MULTIFUNCTIONAL FOOD Although avocado toast is the reason why millennials can’t afford to buy houses, it is relatively healthy and tastes pretty good. Still, it’s OK if your food isn’t the healthiest. So order those chocolate chip pancakes. You deserve it.
Casa Nueva, 6 W. State St., serves breakfast every day and has used a breakfast menu, which includes huevos rancheros and the “Casa Que Pasa” omelet, since it opened in 1985. (HANNAH SCHROEDER / PHOTO EDITOR)
Brunch is something that brings everyone together. It’s a time where everyone can take a moment from their regular lives, catch up and eat good food.” -Maiya Harrell, freshman studying chemistry pre-medicine
toast, and you also get some French toast or hotcakes. That is quite the meal to fill you and your friend up,” Shonk said. “Around noon or 1, depending on the weather, people like to get our clubs. That’s like if the sun is shining and if it’s a nice day.” Especially during Moms Weekend, Shonk noticed people seemed to come
into the restaurant in waves. “No matter where you go, for busy weekends like Moms Weekend or fests, there’s going to be a wait,” Shonk said. Jessica Drass, a freshman studying nursing, thinks a table at an Athens diner is worth the wait. Drass said she usually doesn’t have time to eat breakfast during the school week, but on weekends, she likes to throw on a pair of sweatpants and head to a diner with her friends for brunch. Maiya Harrell, a freshman studying chemistry pre-medicine, said brunch makes her happy. One of Harrell’s favorite on-campus brunch foods is the create-your-own omelet from Nelson Court, and she likes to sit down and eat with friends. “Brunch is something that brings everyone together. It’s a time where everyone can take a moment from their regular lives, catch up and eat good food,” Harrell said. “And who doesn’t love anything more than pancakes, eggs and waffles?”
3. SKIP THE LINE Don’t want to wait to be seated at a restaurant? Have a homemade brunch with friends or roommates. That gives you the freedom to cook your own dishes. If you’re a brunch connoisseur or just a nice person, you can cook all the food. If you aren’t the best cook, split the work with your friends. It could be a bonding experience. 4. INCORPORATE COLORFUL FOODS Pi Beta Phi executive chef Christina Warner said “you always eat with your eyes first, so the more appealing something looks, the more you’re going to want to eat it.” She suggests trying out colorful fruits or cheeses, or putting tri-colored peppers in omelets. 5. TRY A DINING HALL If you don’t want to cook or spend money, and you have a meal plan, head over to any of the dining halls Sunday between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The District on West Green usually offers quiche, crepes and a create-your-own omelet station. Nelson Court offers allday breakfast foods at “Sunny Side Up” as well. THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 7
Paradoxical eats EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE A LOT OF QUALITY CHAIN RESTAURANTS IN THE U.S., THOSE BUSINESSES ARE ALSO STRUGGLING
TAYLOR JOHNSTON DIGITAL PRODUCTION EDITOR
The Great Convergence: ‘Food at home’ spending (green) vs. ‘food away from home’ (red)
8 / APRIL 12, 2018
Within the last few decades, Americans are increasingly spending more money dining out than in grocery stores. 350
he restaurant scene is in a golden age of variety and quality, but it’s struggling financially. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans are spending more money dining out than in grocery stores for the first time in U.S. history. Despite that, 2016 was the worst year for restaurants since the 2008 recession. Dinner and lunchtime traffic continues to decline, and for some people there are too many restaurants nationally. Restaurant owners in Athens have noticed those trends and think there may be a few reasons for those declines. Jessica Kopelwitz, owner of Fluff Bakery, thinks people are becoming more conscious of what they put in their bodies. “There is just a lot more media and a lot more attention to the farm-to-table movement as far as being able to get quality, really good, fresh produce, veggies, grains and meats from local farmers,” she said. Grace Corbin, the marketing coordinator at Casa Nueva, agreed that the trend is going back to farm-to-table, rather than big restaurant chains with the same menu at all locations. “While this is great for diners, it’s become less of a novelty,” she said in an email. “Diluting the pool of genuine farmto-table restaurants, resulting in less customer visits.” While the issue may be that there are too many restaurants in a given area, some say otherwise. Tracy Duncan, the general manager of O’Betty’s Red Hot, thinks there is the right amount of restaurants in Athens. “I personally wouldn’t mind a greater variety of ethnic restaurants and healthy eating options,” she said in an email. Kopelwitz said the more restaurants there are, the merrier. “I think it brings more people to Athens,” she said. “I think people tend to eat out more if they have choices, so I think (in Athens) it’s a balance.” Food choices and the time of day can hurt or help a business, too. It is shown that restaurants specializing in breakfast tend to be more successful.
SOURCE: UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
I think restaurants bring more people to Athens. I think people tend to eat out more if they have choices.” -Jessica Kopelwitz, owner of Fluff Bakery
“You’ve probably seen now that most places offer brunch. (Brunch) can be a lot harder to do — a lot more prep goes into it — but it also can be something that is profitable for restaurants,” Kopelwitz said. ”For us, breakfast has always been a part of our business, and that continues to be a very positive side to our business.” On the other hand, Casa Nueva does not tend to see more business for breakfast, Corbin said. “We have a wide customer base and people come in for different reasons all throughout the day,” she said in an email. With Ohio University’s campus so close to many restaurants in Athens,
many customers who are also students have the option to purchase prepared foods on campus, which adds to competition in the area. “OU has a lot more resources. Recently they built a large, kind of like a Whole Foods type market,” Kopelwitz said. “So we haven’t really seen a decline because of stuff like that, but it definitely is one of those things we have to compete against. We have to continue to evolve and differentiate ourselves to make sure we are ahead of those trends.”
HOW BARS PREPARE FOR SPECIAL WEEKENDS Red Brick orders Tito’s, while Jackie O’s stocks up on Razz Wheat
ASHTON NICHOLS STAFF WRITER If you step into Red Brick Tavern on Moms Weekend, you’ll see Tito’s Vodka. There are several special weekends each year in Athens: Moms Weekend, Dads Weekend and the weekend of graduation, to name a few. Those weekends usually mean more sales for bars, which often require planning and advertising to attract students and their company. Red Brick Tavern bar manager Greg Burlovich said Red Brick, 14 N. Court St., stocks up on Tito’s Vodka for Moms Weekend. “Moms love Tito’s,” Burlovich said. For dads, however, he just makes sure there’s plenty of beer, he said. “They don’t care,” Burlovich said. “As long as we have beer, it’s fine.” Burlovich said for Moms Weekend, Red Brick staffs only men to increase sales and tips. “It’s my favorite weekend,” Burlovich said. “Honestly if you’re a guy and you’re working Mom’s Weekend, it’s the best.” Jackie O’s Brewpub & Public House, 22-24 W. Union St., makes sure to stock up on Razz Wheat for special weekends. Taylor Bowling, assistant manager of Jackie O’s, said she makes sure to overstaff the restaurant and bar because she knows it will be busy. “I just ordered a bunch more cider because I know a lot of (moms) will be drinking that,” Bowling said. “We have a special cocktail menu for Moms Weekend.” Bowling said she usually looks at the number of sales from past years to determine what needs to be ordered. “Jackie O’s has been here for 12 years now,” Bowling said. “It’s a bit easier to know that we are going to be busy no matter what. … Dads (Weekend) and Moms Weekend are pretty equal for sales.” David Fraiser, assistant manager at Cat’s Eye Saloon, 12 N.
Uptown bars like Red Brick Tavern prepare differently for special weekends, such as Moms Weekend and Dads Weekend. (KEVIN PAN / SLOT EDITOR)
Court St., said he determines what will be popular based on past years and what is popular among students. “You look at past years to see how it is,” Fraiser said. “Obviously, with the spring there’s fests every weekend, so we try to get a pretty good idea from Wednesday on what is going to be.” Other bars, such as The Over Hang, 63 N. Court St., only advertise on social media. Eric Moss, the owner of that bar, said he chooses to advertise online only because it is cheaper and easier to reach people. The Over Hang usually just buys more of what usually sells,
I just ordered a bunch more cider because I know that a lot of (moms) will be drinking that. We have a special cocktail menu for Moms Weekend. -Taylor Bowling, assistant manager of Jackie O’s
Moss said. “One year, Miller Lite came out with a different Miller Lite bottle, and we sold a ton of Miller Lite,” Moss said. “The next year, it’s Bud Light. There’s nothing special that the dads drink more than the regular college student does.” Moss said special weekends increase sales by about a third compared to regular weekends, but he can never predict what drinks will be popular. “Every year, you don’t know,” Moss said. “We just get more of what we normally sell. It does bring in more business. The more people who are in town, it just increases what you already sell.”
@ASHTONNICHOLS_ AN614816@OHIO.EDU THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 9
RESTAURANT FOOD PRESENTATION IS AN ADVERTISING TOOL THAT MATTERS
Jessica Kopelwitz laughs while talking to a customer in Fluff Bakery on April 10.
PRESENTING TASTE IN THE AGE OF INSTAGRAMMING FOOD, THE AESTHETICS OF FOOD PLATING MATTER MORE THAN EVER FOR CHEFS
BAYLEE DEMUTH FOR THE POST PHOTO BY BLAKE NISSEN
or Gabe Fisher, presentation has always been a big part of food. “If you can look at something and know what it’s going to taste like from the popping ingredients and colors, then it’ll be more pleasing to want to eat,” Fisher said. The way food looks on a plate is what tempts people’s eyes and makes them want to taste it. People eat with their eyes before anything else, Fisher, chef at Purple Chopstix, said. To some restaurants, visual appeal is just as important as the tasting experience. When customers post photos of their food, they are in turn giving those restaurants free advertising, and many food establishments use the posts to their advantage in getting more publicity for their business. “(Purple Chopstix) only advertises by word-of-mouth,” Fisher said. “So when peo10 / APRIL 12, 2018
ple take pictures of our food and post it to their social media for friends and family members to see, we hope they think our food looks good enough that they would want to try it.” Seeing the food on social media that Fisher plated, garnished and cooked by himself makes him feel appreciative that people would advertise his food like that. Sarah Horne, a freshman studying journalism, believes taking food photos and giving restaurants free advertising is the biggest compliment she can give to any business. “It’s just a way of helping out a restaurant that you love and enjoy,” Horne said. “To know that your customers loved the way your food looked so much that they had to share it means the restaurant has to be doing something right.” How food looks matters because it adds a whole new element to what people are eating, Horne said. Knowing the chef was careful and able to plate a clean presentation is something worth taking a picture of. “When you have such good products that
people want to share on their social media, that’s such authentic content,” Horne said. Horne shares food photos, specifically dessert photos, because it’s pleasing to her eyes, and she wants others to experience the bliss of good-looking food as well. “I am a huge chocolate lover, so any cake, brownie or ice cream I’ve probably taken a photo of it,” Horne said. Horne sees taking food photos as a relaxing thing to do during her busy life because there is no pressure looking at pictures of food. “Some dishes I find while scrolling through Instagram are just so unique, and it’s nice seeing something pretty like that in my feed once in a while,” Horne said. Jessica Kopelwitz, owner of Fluff Bakery, is always searching for new and fun foods to add to her menu. “Fluff is known for its total unique comfort foods and the fact that we have such a variety of products,” Kopelwitz said. “I don’t want typical foods or foods that taste like nothing in my business.” Food presentation plays a big part in peo-
ple wanting to buy the dish, Kopelwitz said. There is a lot of inspiration out there when it comes to how foods are plated. They can look nice but not taste good. “I want the foods I eat to look good, and I want them to taste way more delicious than I expect them to be,” Kopelwitz said. Kopelwitz uses Instagram on a regular basis for advertising and loves it because people are so visual nowadays. “So much is based on what people think about your establishment and what people interpret,” Kopelwitz said. “It’s all about that one good food picture that’s able to effectively spread the word.” Putting that extra creativity, effort and time into food presentation does not go unnoticed, and the proof is in all the food photos out there. “It really makes you feel good knowing that you’re putting a quality product out there for people to eat and enjoy so much that they want to share it with everyone they know,” Fisher said.
Local restaurants display appropriate decor to enhance their character
Restaurant owners use interior design to make their businesses appear eclectic, fun or exciting for customers MEGHAN MORRIS FOR THE POST
ood isn’t the only element that creates a better eating experience for customers. Local restaurants can create different atmospheres through themed decor. Hilarie Burhans, co-owner of Salaam, said her restaurant serves cuisine from around the world and doesn’t cook cuisines from the Americas. Instead, Salaam serves dishes from countries like Pakistan, Greece and Turkey. “You don’t have as many options as you would in a large city,” she said. “We have tried to let people experience a variety of ethnic cuisines.” Before Salaam, Burhans and her family operated a hookah bar that served Middle Eastern food. They agreed that making global cuisine was the best part of running the first business, so they moved to a better address to start a restaurant. Salaam’s location at 21 W. Washington St. is unusual for Athens because it’s wide, but they put in some walls and decorated nearly every inch of the interior with pieces from ethnic cultures. “I wanted a really eclectic group of decor items,” she said. “I’m very fond of fabrics (and) tiles. It’s a large enough space that I think everything sits nicely with each other.” When Burhans and her husband traveled to India, she even brought back vases and wired them into lamps for the tables. Mismatched Indian table cloths boasting vivid greens and blues were a necessity because she didn’t want Salaam to be a “white tablecloth kind of establishment.” “My whole decor mission was to make people feel, when they walked into the restaurant, as if they were entering another world,” she said. “Let them get out of Athens just for long enough to have a meal.” Jay Shapiro, co-owner of Union Street Diner, 70 W. Union St., said the restaurant has several pictures of Ohio University and its sports games. The collegiate vibe and 24/7 operating hours make the din-
The interior of Salaam, at 21 W. Washington St., offers Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and North African cuisine, and its interior design matches the food. (HANNAH SCHROEDER / PHOTO EDITOR)
er a prime option for anyone, especially a younger crowd, wanting traditional American food. “People like that, they can come here anytime,” he said. “College students probably tend to come in later in the night.” Tyler Sampson, owner and chef at 9 Tables, said there aren’t many decent places in Athens to order a multicourse meal in a fine dining atmosphere. “I started it out as somewhere you could sit down and have a seven-course meal because you really can’t get that anywhere else around here,” he said. Sampson took the idea of fine dining and brought it to Athens. 9 Tables is only open Thursday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. The restaurant offers a fivecourse meal and a seven-course meal. He wanted 9 Tables to emulate a jazzy vibe with records and antique instruments hanging on the walls. “I like to think of our restaurant as a more relaxed setting than a suit-and-tie
My whole decor mission was to make people feel ... as if they were entering another world.” -Hilarie Burhans, co-owner of Salaam
sort of fine dining restaurant, and I think jazz really captures that,” Sampson said. “It’s an art form that’s a little more relaxed but still classical at the same time.” In Salaam, some wall spaces are covered by several hand-stitched ralli quilts, a type of traditional quilt from Pakistan,
and suzani needlework, a type of embroidered fabric from Tajikistan. Burhans enjoys finding new additions for her restaurants in odd places, like thrift stores, and even tinkering with them to suit a purpose. A few of her ceiling lamps came from Big Lots, and they were originally candle holders. She added light bulbs and curtain tassels so they could fit the interior. Burhans said Salaam doesn’t have the same clientele as many chain restaurants around Athens. Besides visiting the restaurant for personal celebrations and OU events, students and faculty will also bring people from out of town. “We love that we are on the short list of places that people like to bring someone to show off Athens,” she said.
@MARVELLLOUSMEG MM512815@OHIO.EDU THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 11
BONDING THROUGH FOOD FOR ATHENS’ FIREFIGHTERS, FOOD — ANYTHING FROM DEER ENCHILADAS TO MEATLOAF — IS KEY TO THEIR TEAM MENTALITY GEORGIA DAVIS CULTURE EDITOR
Paul Schulz waits for his coworkers to arrive from Athens Fire Department Station 2. He prepared dinner for his coworkers on April 10. (BAXTER TURAIN / FOR THE POST)
12 / APRIL 12, 2018
aul Schulz, Brian Mace and Dan Ri- the big red truck to the Kroger on East State ley hovered over a Rival Crock-Pot Street and grab some ingredients. The workers full of pulled pork on the first floor of are so familiar with the firefighters that if they Athens Fire Department Station 1 on are dispatched for a run, the employees will save their food in the Kroger coolers. Columbus Road. Making grocery runs helps them log hours “It will be more like pork brisket sandwiches for training. Each firefighter has to log about if we don’t get more heat in there,” Schulz said. Steam floated out of the Crock-Pot, along 150 hours of training, and a certain number of with the first whiffs of dinner. A bottle of Sweet hours have to be logged behind the wheel of Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce sat next to it. Bowls the vehicle. The station uses a lot of locally sourced foods. of homemade coleslaw and a tossed salad sat on “Paul is the farmers market guru,” Mace said. the almost 30-year-old table. Schulz chopped Schulz likes to buy mushrooms, lettuce, up the ingredients for the salad himself. In Schulz’s 28 years with AFD, he can’t raspberry chipotle salsa and bread from Avremember a time they have not cooked for alanche Pizza from the Athens Farmers Mareach other on their shift. Sometimes, their ket. He said it’s not uncommon to see a couple buckets of tomatoes sitfamilies will join them, ting in the fire station. and the people from the Schulz makes his fire department on Richown bread and is kind land Avenue will make It’s nicer than going enough to share it with the journey across town. to a restaurant. his co-workers. Schulz Schulz, Mace and Riley’s keeps bees, so he’ll even shift cooks more often Here we can sit bring in honey to pair and does the most of the around and have a with the bread. experimental cooking. They also like garlic. The first shift has a lot few minutes.” “Vampires will never of hunters in the group, get in here,” Mace and one of the firefightsaid laughing. ers owns pigs and butch-Paul Schulz, They used to make diners and cures his own ner closer to 7 p.m., but meat. The men will bring Athens firefighter they kept getting called out in whatever they have and on runs during that time so throw together some inthey moved it to 5 p.m. teresting meals. “Now, some of the One of the most popular dishes is deer enchiladas. The men have young guys would say it’s because we’re getting eaten everything from elk to wild turkey to old,” Schulz said. The station, which went on about 1,200 runs antelope. Riley likes the meatloaf, especially when one of the other firefighters uses his art last year, had to ask the Athens Police Departdegree to draw band logos with ketchup on ment to check on the stove a few times to make sure they turned it off before they left, Schulz top of the meal. The men will take all the food in the refrig- said. Other than that, AFD hasn’t had any miserators and determine what they will make haps in the department when it comes to making the food. from the ingredients they have. When it’s finally time to eat the meal, the “We’ll put it all together,” Schulz said. “This shift is the one that will cook a lot. That’s kind men keep up the friendly banter. They like to of the name of the game, ‘What can we do with pick on each other, which is another trademark of the shift. The banter is one of the best parts what we have?’ ” Riley doesn’t usually cook. He will find other about eating a meal together, Mace said. Before the meal, Riley made sure to get ways to contribute to the meal through moneMace’s special plate out of the cupboard: a Distary or food donations. “Everyone needs to be good at something,” ney’s Hercules plate featuring the title characRiley, who has worked at AFD for 21 years, said. ter’s love interest, Meg. “You get to sit and make fun of each other,” “I’m good at eating the foods they make.” On their days away from the nine-truck sta- Mace said. For the others, it is a time for them to sit tion, the firemen will occasionally butcher the meat they want. With the hands-on approach, and relax. “It’s nicer than going to a restaurant,” they are able to cut the meat the way they prefer it. When they cure bacon, Mace said they Schulz said. “Here we can sit around and use about half the amount of salt because it have a few minutes.” tastes better that way. “It tastes more like meat than salt,” Mace, who has been working at AFD for five years, said. @GEORGIADEE35 When the station needs food, they will drive GD4997415@OHIO.EDU
Dan Riley (left) scoops up salad while Paul Schulz retires for dinner at Athens Fire Department Station 1 on April 10. (BAXTER TURAIN / FOR THE POST)
Paul Schulz puts coleslaw on his plate at Athens Fire Department Station 1 on April 10. (BAXTER TURAIN / FOR THE POST)
Paul Schulz and Brian Mace of Athens Fire Department Station 1 talk before they have dinner with their coworkers from AFD Station 2 on April 10. (BAXTER TURAIN / FOR THE POST) THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 13
HOW FOOD TRUCKS FIGHT FOR BUSINESS
WEATHER MAKES OR BREAKS SALES ASHTON NICHOLS STAFF WRITER A sunny day in Athens often consists of several food trucks bordering College Green. Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said the sight of many food trucks on East Union Street is awesome. “If I could see this every day, it would be such a big thing,” Patterson said. “It’s cool having the food trucks and a place where people can sit and enjoy, which is what the College Green is all about. It’s great to see this.” Rudy Nagy has been the owner of Mexican food truck Holy Guacamole for about 11 years. He said the weather is something that boosts his sales and allows him to talk to other community members. “The weather is really nice,” Nagy said. “There’s more business here. You can talk to everybody.” Because food trucks are outdoor-only businesses, they often battle with the weather rather than each other to make sales. Jim Stricklin reopened Burrito Buggy on April 5. He said the weather is greatly responsible for his sales. “The weather is very responsible for your business flow,” Stricklin said. “Even tomorrow, if we were to get the 3 to 8 inches (of snow), that could cripple what we could do. But if it’s 60 degrees outside and sunny, we will be busier. People don’t want to stop when it’s cold.” Vendors also must learn the art of vending — which is something different than food sales, Stricklin said. He said he is used to the nonstop craziness of restaurants, while owning a food truck is about waiting for students to get out of classes to grab a bite to eat. “This is completely new,” Stricklin said. “I’ve been in the food service thing for 30 years, and this is a completely different animal.” May Rath, owner of Dr. May’s Thai Kitchen, said she believes students tend to be happier with nicer weather. “Because I’m from Thailand, there is street food everywhere,” Rath said. “I would 14 / APRIL 12, 2018
ILLUSTRATION BY SARAH OLIVIERI
like to see more of this. I understand that sometimes the weather is not that easy.” Rath said she faces the challenge of students not wanting to wait for her to cook her food fresh, because they often believe food trucks are “fast food.” Because pad thai can take up to 10 minutes to make, some students will not purchase her food because they simply do not have the time to wait. Because food trucks are mobile and do not have a set location, they also face challenges of parking and vending licenses. Councilman Pat McGee, I-At Large, proposed an ordinance April 2 that would change how vending licenses are
distributed and paid for in Athens, according to a previous Post report. Vendors are only permitted to vend on East Union Street. Licenses are distributed on an annual basis and reserve a parking spot for vendors on East Union Street, adjacent to College Green. McGee said the proposed ordinance would lower the cost of a vending license from a $1,500 yearly fee to a monthly $125 fee. He said that would allow vendors to not pay during certain months. The proposed ordinance would also reduce the number of potential vending licenses in Athens from 10 to eight. The ordinance could potentially im-
pact the number of food trucks that would utilize College Green because the trucks would be closer together, creating a tight spot for them to sit in. “Even with this many food vendors here now … you’ve got to have a pick up truck to be able to maneuver it into place, and several of these are like that,” Patterson said. “If everything gets squeezed together because we only have X number of spaces, and it would make it that much more difficult, that becomes a problem.”
TRYING THE U.S. DIET
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS ON CLASSIC AMERICAN FOODS JESSICA HILL FOR THE POST BHARBI HAZARIKA SENIOR WRITER
nima Donkor knew she was in trouble when she had french fries for the first time in the U.S. and didn’t taste any spice. Before she came to the U.S. almost four years ago, Donkor, a graduate student studying media arts and studies from Kumasi, Ghana, watched a lot of American movies and television shows like American Pie and 2 Broke Girls that gave her an idea of what Americans ate. Cheesesteaks crossed her mind as a common American food. International students, like Donkor, had specific perceptions of what American food was like before coming to the U.S., but after living in the country for a while, they have become more positive in their love or distaste for stereotypical American dishes. “So cheesy, fatty,” Donkor said. “I knew I was going to eat a lot of fatty stuff, and you guys like a lot of sugar.” As a vegetarian and someone who does not eat a lot of dairy, she is not the biggest fan of American food. If a restaurant takes out the dairy and adds spice, then “voila!” she said. But not all of the international students on campus hold the same opinion. Abdul Malik Al Jabri eats at Union
ILLUSTRATION BY MARCUS PAVILONIS
I knew I was going to eat a lot of fatty stuff, and you guys like a lot of sugar.” -Anima Donkor, graduate student from Ghana
Street Diner, 70 W. Union St., two or three times a week. He either orders the steak Philly sandwich or the Philly steak omelet. “It’s my best place,” Al Jabri, a sophomore studying engineering from Muscat, Oman, said. Al Jabri said he had the idea that everything was fast food in the U.S., like McDonald’s and Burger King. Although Al Jabri thinks the food in the U.S. consists mostly of fast food, many restaurants offer higher quality dishes than the typical fast food chain. For example, he loves the way steak is cooked. In Muscat, people tend to put a lot of spices on the meat, changing its flavor. What Al Jabri hates the most about American food is the need to put pork on everything. As a Muslim who does not eat pork, he finds that restaurants make mistakes and put pork on his meals after he has asked to remove it.
For some, American dining is an acquired taste. In Kumasi, Ghana, Joshua Okyere had no idea what a burger tasted like, but now it’s a staple in his diet. Okyere, a graduate student studying African studies, initially had trouble acclimating to the American diet. In fact, the restaurants on Court Street did little to satiate his hunger. He felt disconnected to the food. “But as I stayed here for some time, I tried some of the ones that I didn’t know how to eat,” Okyere said. Now, Okyere often finds himself in the long lines in front of the counter at Wendy’s ordering an American classic: the burger.
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Eat this, not that
FAD DIETS, LIKE THE PALEOLITHIC AND KETOGENIC DIETS, ARE OFTEN SEEN AS QUICK FIXES BUT FAIL TO PRODUCE LASTING RESULTS
ALEXIS EICHELBERGER STAFF WRITER Fad diets have been attracting the attention of Americans for many years. Some use a clever phrase or a simple set of rules for the diet to be appealing. Others enlist the help of celebrity spokespeople to convince the public of their validity. In most cases, they promise quick and dramatic weight loss results that will leave those who follow them feeling and looking better. Unfortunately, many popular diets often fail those who use them in more ways than one. In many cases, they fail to include all the components of a healthy and balanced diet or are unable to create longterm results and improve overall health. Deborah Murray, an associate lecturer of nutrition, has noticed the paleolithic and ketogenic diets becoming especially popular recently. The paleolithic or “caveman” diet includes only foods that humans might have eaten thousands of years ago, such as lean meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts, and excludes foods only made possible by modern farming practices, such as dairy products and grains. The ketogenic diet encourages participants to eat a diet that consists of mostly fats, some protein and very few carbs to achieve a higher metabolism. Although many people seem to be attracted to those kinds of diets, Murray said many times they aren’t healthy methods of losing weight and keeping it off. It’s common for fad diets to omit whole food groups or macronutrients, which can create an unbalanced intake of food. “The piece about omitting the food group … that is super problematic,” Murray said. “We’re not nourishing that individual with the six classes of essential nutrients is the real biggie. And because they’re doing that and there are big holes in the diet, it’s hard to sustain that over time.” Despite the common unhealthiness of fad diets, Murray said many people continue to flock to them because they see them as quick and easy fixes. “The message of health and weight 16 / APRIL 12, 2018
Quinoa and quinoa salads have become a more popular grain option than brown rice. Certain foods like quinoa have outshined other foods based on popularity and attractiveness in mainstream nutrition. (EMILEE CHINN / FOR THE POST)
loss over time can be kind of boring, frankly,” she said. “We know there’s some individual differences. But dropping calories consistently and trying to make small lifestyle changes over time is just kind of a boring message. It takes work over time, really redefining and looking at the work that’s involved.” Stephen Adams, owner of Odyssey Nutrition, 30 E. State St., sometimes encounters customers who come into his business while trying diets that involve cutting out major food groups. Odyssey Nutrition sells Herbalife products, which are nutrition supplements added to foods and shakes to help people get all of their necessary nutrients each day. Adams said, as a seller of Herbalife and an advocate for health, he doesn’t believe in or encourage extreme and unbalanced fad
diets. Each macronutrient is necessary, as are the food sources they come from. “To each his own is what I always say, and when people want help and results, that’s what we focus on,” Adams said. “We believe in living a healthy, active lifestyle. We believe in supplementation and helping your body get the extra nutrients. … We focus on consuming the right, healthy meals.” Nutrition lecturer Jana Hovland worked in nutrition counseling before becoming a professor and now specializes in teaching the practice to students. She said in her experience, she has encountered people who tried or were interested in fad diets and often sees college students eager to try them. “I think as a country, we’re often desperate for weight loss,” she said. “If you’re
desperate, you may choose things that you’ve heard have worked or that you haven’t tried yet, so you’re going to try it because it’s out there.” Hovland said the advice she gives to clients who seem frustrated with fad diets is to not only change their behavior, but to change their mindset to one that expects gradual change over time rather than instantaneous results. “My advice is that it takes months or years for us to put on that weight, and it will take months or years to put off that weight,” she said. “The fad diet is tempting, and it can stimulate fast weight loss, but it’s hard to maintain that weight loss. More of a lifestyle change is more realistic for slow, gradual weight loss that you can keep off.”
OHIO'S BASEBALL, SOFTBALL TEAMS STRIVE TO EAT HEALTHY FOODS Ohio's baseball and softball players focus on putting the right foods and fluids in their bodies
ILLUSTRATION BY SARAH OLIVIERI
CAMERON FIELDS STAFF WRITER
or athletes to be who they are and accomplish amazing feats, they can’t eat the same foods the student population does. Eating the right foods is important for the general population, but athletes must be more aware of the foods they eat. For college athletes, the challenge of eating well is predicated on a lack of time. The Ohio softball and baseball teams are in season, and both squads have philosophies on nutrition and wellness. SOFTBALL Ali Manley, the softball team’s wellness specialist, helps players make good food choices. Manley isn’t a certified nutritionist, but her expertise in wellness has been appreciated. “She has really helped us kind of get a feel for what we need to fill our bodies with,” Taylor Saxton, the team captain, said. This season, Manley has started some food initiatives, including a snack of the
week, where she’ll make a snack for the Bobcats and leave it in the locker room. She also leaves the snack’s recipe card if players want to try and make it. Manley and the rest of the team have sometimes gone to Saxton’s apartment for nutrition meetings. During the nutrition meetings, Manley teaches the Bobcats how to make different meals. Manley said that the meetings give the players confidence in cooking meals for themselves. “We’ve done quite a few of those, and those have been really fun, just so they can do some stuff in the kitchen,” Manley said. “They can watch me, watch how easy it is.” Though Ohio strives to eat well, Manley and coach Jodi Hermanek know the team will indulge in cheat meals. Hermanek said a better time for Ohio to indulge is when it’s active instead of an off day. When on the road, a cheat meal doesn’t necessarily happen. But the Bobcats are eating in restaurants more, which likely means eating higher calorie meals. “We monitor it,” Hermanek said.
“There’s definitely things that we’re like, ‘No, you need to change your order. You’re not going to eat this.’ But they’ve made better decisions, and so that monitoring has definitely gotten lesser.” BASEBALL Coach Rob Smith encourages Ohio to eat well, but he knows that not eating well can happen for different reasons. “Some of it is a lack of understanding,” he said. “Some of it is just being 20 years old, and you just eat whatever you want to eat, and you could care less.” Smith also said financial reasons are sometimes a factor. A college athlete may not have enough money to buy healthy foods. Cheaper foods are usually not healthy, but college athletes who are on a budget must stay within their means. Still, Smith values personal responsibility when it comes to nutrition. He knows even if he advises the Bobcats on what to eat, the players still must make the choice. “We can put these guys in a training table and put the right fruits and vegetables in front of ‘em, but then they go home
and crush nine Snickers,” Smith said. Smith said as an athlete evolves, eating well is one of the last steps he can take to gaining a competitive edge. Smith said that aspect isn’t very prevalent in college baseball, though. “Guys aren’t quite looking for that extra edge yet,” Smith said. “Some guys are still talented enough just to eat however they want to eat and be a first-team, all-conference player.” Dan McCauley, a catcher for Ohio, focuses on eating as healthy as possible. Before games, McCauley loads on carbohydrates, such as pasta, to gain long-term energy. He also eats proteins, like chicken. McCauley knows when Ohio is on the road, eating healthy at fast food places is a challenge. Still, some items on the menu are better than others. “Maybe like a chicken sandwich instead of fatty burgers,” McCauley said. “Stay clear of french fries. … And probably like a water instead of a pop.”
@CAMERONFIELDS_ CF710614@OHIO.EDU THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 17
Even when I had my child, he really only got one night off. She was born on a Friday night, and so he took Saturday night off.”
EMPLOYEES AT FAMILY-OWNED RESTAURANTS WORK CLOSELY TO DEVELOP A ROUTINE IN AND OUT OF THE KITCHEN ALEX DARUS BLOGS EDITOR PHOTOS BY BLAKE NISSEN PHOTO EDITOR
-Aysha Fisher, restaurant manager of Purple Chopstix
abe Fisher, the sole chef at Purple Chopstix, didn’t exactly get an extended paternity leave when his wife, Aysha, had a baby. “Even when I
had my child, he really only got one night off,” Aysha, who runs the restaurant at 371 Richland Ave. with Gabe, said. “She was born on a Friday night, and so he took Saturday night off but he was back here on Wednesday.” The restaurant is small but full of life with different local art, much of it made by Passion Works Studio, displayed in every corner. It opened in 1989 by Gabe’s father, Ed, who still owns the place. The restaurant is a popular staple in Athens, and it stands out from other restaurants because of its eclectic design and friendly staff. But even when all is running smoothly, if Gabe is sick or out of town, Purple Chopstix has to close. “There are parts of it that kind of suck,” Aysha said about the family-owned restaurant where she has worked since she was 15. When a couple of people start a restaurant, they create a certain type of relationship with each other. That relationship can be further complicated when those two people are spouses. “It’s challenging. … I think it’s good to have a core friendship first,” Aysha, who was childhood friends with Gabe, said. “He’s my best friend. Of course, at times we can get on each other’s nerves, but communication is key.” The lives of families who own restaurants are intertwined with the owners themselves and co-workers who come to feel like part of the family. Regardless of who’s in the kitchen, restaurants have one purpose: creating colorful dishes their customers can enjoy.
Gabe Fisher, the cook at Purple Chopstix, laughs at something his wife, Aysha, said at the restaurant on March 30.
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A COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP Lulu and Juan Jose Lopez know what it’s like to make sacrifices for their restaurant. The couple, who opened El Camino, 1017 E. State St., in 2015, work with their son, Joshua, and nephew Cesar Marquez. Lulu and Juan worked in restaurants for 26 years, including a few of their own, before opening El Camino. Lulu has always worked the floor because she enjoys interacting with customers, while Juan always has worked in the kitchen. It’s a lot of effort, and sometimes personal opinion can make its way into the professional workspace. “Some days are good days, and other days there are
situations,” Lulu said. “Working together is fine when we work like a team.” Lulu and Juan hopes Joshua and Cesar will be able to learn everything about running the business and take it over one day. She loves being able to work with her son, because culturally, family is extremely important to Latinos. “Everything we do is for our family,” Lulu said. “We want to be close to our son and daughter. … We may not be the perfect people or the perfect family or the perfect business, but we try to do the best with everything.” Lulu added that it’s easy for them to get through rough patches because everyone at El Camino loves their jobs. “It’s the reason I came here to the United States: the ‘work and thrive’ mentality,” Juan said. “So when I want to return to my country, my business can keep thriving with my nephew and my children.” CORE VALUES AND CONSISTENCY The commercial kitchen environment can get hectic, and the people working in those kitchens tend to develop close relationships because of long hours together and close proximity to one another. The kitchen at El Camino can sometimes feel as if it’s going a thousand miles a minute — someone might be flipping two dozen tortillas and a few pounds of meat on the grill with their back to another person assembling multiple combo plates at once. It’s this close environment where Juan learned how to be a chef. Juan and Lulu met and married in Mexico; at the time, he knew nothing about cooking. When he immigrated to the U.S. in 1991 with Lulu and got a job in a kitchen, he learned by watching the line cooks and chefs. “I started working without knowing anything, completely nothing,” Juan said. “And six months later, I was head of the kitchen.” The line cooks do their best to keep each dish consistent, but they are willing to customize meals for customers’ tastes. They have a huge menu, so it’s important for them to try to keep it all straight so the customers receive exactly what they order when their food is delivered to their table. “In the kitchen, there has to be control,” Lulu said. Juan’s favorite part of cooking is preparation. He is constantly mixing flavors to create something people cannot get anywhere else with authentic ingredients. Everything besides the tortillas at El Camino is made from scratch and is created in Juan’s mind through careful experimentation. “I do not want to lose my recipes … and I like to try new things,” Juan said. While Juan is constantly changing the menu at El Camino, sometimes every few months, the menu at Purple Chopstix has been almost the same since 1989 with a few tweaks along the way. Part of the reason why it hasn’t changed is because of how many regulars go to the restaurant. “A lot of people they come, they like a certain thing and they get that every time so it’s like ‘well we can’t take that off because they get that every time,’ ” Gabe said. Unlike large commercial restaurants, Purple Chopstix does all of its shopping locally and on a nearly day-to-day basis. The shelves in the surprisingly spacious kitchen are filled with Asian spices from Panda Market on East State Street and colorful jars of base ingredients bought at Kroger. The fridges are full of fresh produce, some of which is bought at the Athens Farmers Market when it’s in season. Because those regular customers expect the same quality each time they come in, Gabe said it’s important for him to really focus on making each dish right. “When you’ve got a bunch of tickets up and you’re in the weeds, you try to cook as fast as you can and maybe I’ll put something out and (Aysha) will let me know if it’s not right,”
Juan Jose Lopez, an owner of El Camino, prepares a meal in the kitchen on April 5.
Gabe said. “We know our clientele. Some of them, we know what they’re going to order before they even come in.” Jim Mason, a regular at Purple Chopstix, is one of those customers who has been going to the restaurant almost since it first opened. “I’ve had the same thing probably 50 times,” Mason said about the Bolivian chicken. Molly Gassaway has worked in many restaurants in the past, but she says none of them were like Purple Chopstix. She came into the restaurant for dinner one day, and Aysha convinced her to work for them part time. Aysha told Gassaway, who has now worked part time at the restaurant for four years, that it was different than any other restaurant, and Gassaway soon found out her friend was right. “I had kids, and I stopped and I said I was never going to (work at a restaurant) again,” Gassaway said. “But then when I moved here, Aysha tricked me into working here.” Gassaway, along with the other employees, understands the importance of multitasking. She simultaneously serves customers while prepping a dozen salads in the back during a busy dinner hour. The staff does what is necessary to make the dinners at Purple Chopstix run as smoothly as possible. No one knows that better than Aysha. Even though she doesn’t cook, she does basically everything else: scheduling, waitressing, managing, shopping, dishwashing and more. Her job is very social, and she gets to chat with customers while seating them. But when it’s needed, she and the other employees don’t shy away from rolling up their sleeves and clean pots and pans in the back. “There’s only a few of us. We do it all,” Aysha said. “It’s a lot of organization, and we have it down. … You learn by your mistakes and then you grow from it.” BEYOND BLOOD Outside of the family members that operate those restaurants, other workers make up the small staffs of the two businesses that end up becoming a part of the restaurant’s family. “We end up developing bonds because it’s that small
and intimate of a place,” Aysha said. It’s the same story at El Camino. Juan feels as if the people working in the kitchen are his family now because most of them have worked at his restaurant since it opened. When the workers come to El Camino, they know nothing about how to prepare the meals the restaurant serves. Juan teaches them everything about how to make the recipes correctly. “Everyone comes together because we have so many hours and so many years together that, in the end, we are friends and we help each other and act like a family,” Juan said. Lulu’s main focus is to make sure the customers are treated the way she wants to be treated in a restaurant. She loves being able to talk to the customers and make them feel welcome. There will never be a time that customers will walk into El Camino and won’t be greeted with a warm welcome of “hola” or “bienvenidos.” “We worry about our customers,” Lulu said. “We want to treat customers like family.” Not only do the other workers at both the restaurants feel like family, but the customers do as well. “Our customers are also kind of like our family at this point,” Aysha said. “There were regulars that were literally invited to our wedding.” With the restaurant industry being so unpredictable, it’s hard to tell what will happen in the future. For El Camino, Lulu and Juan hope they can keep it in the family, while Purple Chopstix wouldn’t mind expanding a bit to take a little off its plate. The two establishments, however, have one thing in common: their dedication to both their work and family, which often intertwine. “We bring our daughter, Addison, in. … Last night she was even pushing a broom around — she’s only 1 1/2,” Gabe said. “Being a small, family-owned restaurant, I think it’s just really nice that if you work a lot, you spend a lot of time there, so we get to spend a lot of time together.”
@_ALEXDARUS AD019914@OHIO.EDU THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 19
Man carried airsoft gun to avoid pitbulls; women had large amount of money stolen from purse ASHTON NICHOLS STAFF WRITER Sometimes, dogs aren’t man’s best friend. Athens County sheriff ’s deputies were dispatched to Eighth Street in Jacksonville on April 7 for a report of a man with a gun. Deputies spoke with a man in the area who said he had an airsoft gun with him due to many reports of “vicious pitbulls in the area,” according to the sheriff ’s report. Deputies checked the air gun and confirmed it was not an actual firearm. NOTHING TO SEE HERE The sheriff’s office was called to North Akron Avenue for an incident report April 9. The caller said his neighbors had security cameras facing in the direction of his house, according to the sheriff’s re-
port. The caller showed deputies the location of the cameras, and the deputies explained to him that the cameras were pointed toward the public roadway and there was nothing criminal about the location of the cameras. HIGH-PRICED BURGLARY The sheriff ’s office responded to Crestview Drive on April 9 about a burglary complaint. The caller said someone had entered her home and removed an orange handbag with approximately $6,000 to $7,000 inside, according to the sheriff ’s report. The burglar allegedly came through the unlocked front door. NEEDLE PICK-UP The sheriff’s office was dispatched April 5 to a New Marshfield Road residence on a report of trash and needles
found on a driveway. Deputies collected the needles to be disposed of and found a small amount of meth and collected it as well, according to the sheriff’s report. TREE TECHNICALITY The sheriff’s office responded to a report of people trespassing and cutting trees on a property in the New England area April 8. When deputies arrived and spoke to everyone involved, there were discrepancies as to who actually owns the property the trees were on, according to the sheriff’s report. Deputies told the people that a survey should be completed prior to any more trees being cut. FOUR-WHEELER FLIP The sheriff’s office responded to State
Route 356 on April 4 to assist EMS on a possible vehicle crash. The original 911 call stated a Vinton County man was involved in an accident of some sort, according to the sheriff’s report. Deputies met with EMS, who found the man at his residence. He said he had rolled his four-wheeler and wanted medical treatment. The four-wheeler was found off the roadway and no one else was involved. EMS then transported the man to OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital for treatment.
CBS Sports’ Allie LaForce will be OU’s spring commencement speaker; Qdoba to open on East State Street in May TAYLOR JOHNSTON DIGITAL PRODUCTION EDITOR It is week 13 at Ohio University, and the end of the semester is near. Catch up on what news you may have missed during the week: CBS SPORTS’ ALLIE LAFORCE WILL BE OU’S SPRING COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER Allie LaForce, an Emmy-nominated reporter and anchor for CBS Sports and Turner Sports, will deliver the 2018 spring undergraduate commencement address, according to a news release from OU. LaForce graduated from OU’s Honors Tutorial College in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Before her career with CBS Sports, LaForce was an anchor and reporter
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for Fox 8 News in Cleveland. She also served as a sports anchor and host of the Emmy-winning football show Friday Night Touchdown. “It’s truly an honor to be given the opportunity to visit OU and speak to this year’s graduating class,” LaForce said in the news release. “I can’t wait to return to where it all started and share this oncein-a-lifetime experience with family, friends and colleagues.” QDOBA TO OPEN ON EAST STATE STREET IN MAY A new Qdoba location will have a grand opening in May. Qdoba, a Mexican food chain, will open May 1 at 859 E. State St., which used to be home to Abrio’s Vera Cucina, Matt Herridge, owner of the franchise, said. The new location was scheduled to open last fall, according to a previous Post report. Construction timelines pushed
the opening date back, Herridge said. “What happens is with most of these new builds, if there is a lease going on, the leasing party usually waits until the space is ready by the landlords,” he said. “Then we are able to take that over and finish out the interior.” Before the grand opening, Herridge plans to have another special event called “Sneak Peaks.” That event will occur the weekend before the official opening, and the restaurant will invite certain target groups, he said. The event will give people a preview of the menu. FEWER PEOPLE OBTAINED CONCEALED CARRY LICENSES IN 2017 Fewer concealed carry permits were issued in 2017 than in previous years, according to state statistics. On March 1, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released the 2017 annual Concealed Carry Report, which contains
concealed carry permit statistics for Ohio. A concealed carry, or carrying a concealed weapon, states a person is permitted to carry a weapon in a concealed manner in public. According to the report, 77,281 new permits were issued in 2017. That contrasts with the 117,953 new licenses issued in 2016. Athens followed that trend and reported about 153 fewer new licenses issued in 2017 compared to 2016. Athens County Sheriff Rodney Smith said that the drop in permits issued does not indicate a disinterest in concealed carry permits but simply reflects how long permits are valid. Smith said there is usually a five-year cycle between influxes of people getting their licenses because a permit is valid for five years before it needs renewed.
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Passion Works to mark 20th anniversary with Big Bash
The studio will host its Big Bash at Central Venue on Saturday night MAE YEN YAP CULTURE EDITOR
atty Mitchell founded Passion Works in 1998, and this year, Mitchell will be returning to the studio as Passion Works’ executive director to celebrate its 20th anniversary. “It’s amazing,” Mitchell said. “You keep your head down and keep working, and when you look up, it’s been 20 years.” The Passion Works 20th Anniversary Big Bash will take place Saturday at 6 p.m. at Central Venue, 29 E. Carpenter St., which will be decorated with pieces from Passion Works artists. “It’ll be like a Passion Works wonderland,” Nancy Epling, the program director for Passion Works, said. Tickets for the event cost $20 per person at the door, but attendees are encouraged to sponsor tickets for Passion Works artists by purchasing the various ticket packages on Eventbrite. Passion Works, 20 E.
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State St., is a collaborative studio that encourages people to participate in programming through creative arts. The studio aims to be inclusive by creating job options for people of all abilities to collaborate with one another. The studio was formerly under the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities as an ATCO art program that dissolved early 2017, according to a previous Post report. Since August, Passion Works has been collaborating with Creative Foundations and adopting the latter into its programming. The studio has since been able to provide a wider range of services to its clients, like providing transport for artists from surrounding counties and allowing artists to stay at the studio for longer periods of time. Epling is excited to celebrate the studio that has had affected the lives of many residents from Athens as well as from surrounding counties. “It just feels awesome because I’m 25 years old, and it’s been around for as long as I’ve been alive,” Epling said. “That’s a pretty magical thing to know that it’s been changing people’s lives since it started.” Athens Mayor Steve Pat-
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Passion Works 20th Anniversary Big Bash WHEN: Saturday, April 14 at 6 p.m. WHERE: Central Venue 29 E. Carpenter St. ADMISSION: $20 at the door, cash only
The interior of Passion Works, 20 E. State St. (MCKINLEY LAW / FILE)
terson said he is amazed at Passion Works’ contribution to the Athens area. “It’s so interesting to me that you go to any business in the uptown area and there are passion flowers on the wall,” Patterson said. “It’s the city flower. How cool is that?” Epling encourages everyone to visit the studio. “If anyone is interested at all — especially people who think they’re not
artists and ... not creative and people who don’t know how to ‘act’ around people with disabilities — I just want them to come here,” Epling said. “All it takes is just walking through that door, and all your perceptions … all of those boundaries that you think are there, will just crumble.” Passion Works studio has many plans in store for the near future like its
growing partnership with Ohio University and making the studio’s model one that is common. But for now, having the Big Bash is a way to commemorate what the studio has achieved in the past years. “We’re really looking forward to it and we’re just going to celebrate (Passion Works),” Mitchell said. Even after all those years of not being on the executive board for Pas-
sion Works, Mitchell has never stopped thinking about the studio. Now that she has returned as the executive director, Mitchell is excited of all the future opportunities available for the studio. “I’m home,” she said. — Shelby Campbell contributed to this report.
WHAT’S GOING ON? GEORGIA DAVIS CULTURE EDITOR Friday
Fridays Live the 13th: Hayden Takes Athens at 8 p.m. in the Radio Television Building, fifth floor, Studio C. In the penultimate episode of this season of Fridays Live comedy show, Hayden will take over “one of the weirdest nights of the year”: Friday the 13th. Admission is free. Spring Literary Festival at Walter Rotunda, Baker Theater and Alden Library. The 2018 Spring Literary Festival will come to a close Friday. Geoff Dyer will give a reading in Baker Theater at 7:30 p.m. Aisha Sabatini Sloan will give a lecture on the fourth floor of Alden Library at noon. People can join Mary Gaitskill on Friday at 11 a.m. in Alden and Rosanna Warren at 8:30 p.m. in Walter Rotunda for readings. The events are free. Athens International Film and Video Festival at The Athena Cinema, 20 S. Court St. The film festival will wrap up this weekend with different screenings. Friday night will conclude with animation night at 9:30 p.m. and Saturday morning cartoons will start at 11 a.m. The film fest will conclude with Under the Tree at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Saturday Station 116 Annual Zine, Comic, Art Book and Print Show at 6 p.m. at 116 N. Lancaster St. In its second art show, people publishing comics, books or prints can sell them at the art gallery. Admission is free, and
items will be available for purchase. Darrin Hacquard at 7 p.m. at Little Fish Brewing Company, 8675 Armitage Road. The singer-songwriter will perform at the brewery. People will get to experience Hacquard’s guitar playing and “hillbilly jazz.” Admission is free. Coal Fired Bicycle at 7 p.m. at Jackie O’s Brewery and Taproom, 25 Campbell St. People can enjoy some beer while listening to “alt-left country” from the Columbus-based band. Admission is free. Lost Flamingo Theatre Company Presents Assassins at 8 p.m. in Baker Theater. The musical is about a murderous carnival game that gives people the opportunity to kill U.S. presidents. The music varies throughout the show to reflect the different eras. There will be another performance at 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5, and doors open 15 minutes before the show. Mothman at 10 p.m. at the Smiling Skull Saloon, 108 W. Union St. The Ohio-based band will bring blues, country and everything in between to the Skull. People can kick back and enjoy some drinks and music. There is no cover charge for this performance. International Dance Night at 10 p.m. at Casa Nueva Restaurant and Cantina, 6 W. State Street. Get your dancing shoes ready and celebrate the world with International Dance Night. No price was listed for this event, but cover charges usually range from $3 to $7.
Sunday Athens Marathon/Half Marathon at 8 a.m. at the corner of Court and West Union streets. The Athens Marathon has taken place for more than half a century, and this year, a half
The exterior of the Athena Cinema, 20 S. Court St. (CARL FONTICELLA / FILE)
marathon and competitive walk were added. It costs $90 to compete in the marathon, and $80 for the half marathon or competitive walk. Admission prices will increase by $10 on Friday.
can dress up, but fake weapons, face-concealing makeup and items that disguise a person’s body shape are prohibited. A limited number of fans will get a commemorative item.
Survival Sunday at 8:30 p.m. at the Athena Grand, 1008 E. State St. All The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead fans can watch the season finale and premiere, respectively, on the big screen. Fans
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740-594-9098 THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 23
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