McAlister’s tingles taste buds
In dining areas, it can be difficult to find healthy and affordable options. It seems though McAlister’s Deli, which has been serving the UH for the past five years, has been getting a five-paw rating from Cougars.
“The food is a healthy alternative to other places on campus. The atmosphere is really relaxed,” said sports administration sophomore Brandon Moore.
Moore eats at McAlister’s at least once a week. He likes the customer service, upbeat staff, TVs and music. He finds only one slight downside: the occasional long lines.
“They’re really good at picking their staff. If I did have a problem, it got corrected fast,” Moore said.
Moore likes to order the spicy southwest chicken griller, a grilled sandwich stuffed with chicken, corn, guacamole, pepper jack cheese and chipotle ranch. Alongside that, he gets a country potato.
McAlister’s Deli’s menu consists of such items as the spud ole, a potato crammed with chili, cheddar jack cheese and sliced jalapenos, and the savannah chopped salad is a large bowl of lettuce, grilled chicken, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, tomatoes, cucumbers and gorgonzola cheese.
McAlister’s has a feature menu that changes every couple of months, said Jared Bowser, McAlister’s night shift lead. McAlister’s feature menu for this month is Cajun shrimp. They offer a po-boy, wrap and salad.
Bowser is a hotel and restaurant management senior. He started working at McAlister’s two years ago to get real world experience.
He and the cooks have made up to 200 to 300 orders an hour and he loves being that busy, and the cooks are not the only ones who play a part in making sure the orders are right, Bowser said.
“A lot of times we make mistakes. The expos check food, those people are very good at catching the big mistakes,” Bowser said.
If mistakes do slip past, Bowser testifies that McAlister’s has understanding customers.
“Most of the time, our customers are some of the best,” Bowser said. “Normally, our customers are above and beyond.”
Such customers would be optometry second-year graduate student Valori Waggoner, who likes to get a baked potato when she drops into McAlister’s on her way to the Calhoun Lofts.
“Most times, the food is good. It’s never disgusting,” Waggoner said. “I like (it) because it’s less fast food.”
Waggoner likes the convenience of McAlister’s. She thinks the prices are fair and compared to other places, McAlister’s has better food. Waggoner also likes the customer service.
“They’re very friendly. They try to keep things moving,” Waggoner said.
McAlister’s speed has been questioned by some students such as pharmacy freshman Cameron Billingsley.
“I think they are kind of understaffed. It always takes a long time,” Billingsley said. “The food is of reasonable quality if you’re willing to wait.”
Cameron likes that McAlister’s stays open later than other places on campus, however if he had other options he would go elsewhere, he said.
“They kind of have a monopoly on campus. You kind (of) have no choice,” Cameron said.