When I think of the Union Cafe, the first thing that comes to mind are fried foods.
Whether it’s a box of late night half-size buffalo chicken tenders or the impeccably seasoned french fries they used to have, many of my fondest Messiah memories happened with some golden-brown fried Union goodness right by my side.
So, when the Union brings about Mac & Cheese bites to their menu, it’s a big deal to me.
Today’s day and age of fast food has taught us many things – the most important of which being that anything can and will be fried. Chick-fil-A is now deep frying cauliflower as a substitute for their chicken, fried oreos are a staple of numerous tourist destinations, and no matter who you ask, everybody says the Mac & Cheese bites are the best fried app at Sheetz.
With that in mind, does the Union Cafe deliver?
First and foremost, the price is there. While this may not matter for students who are on the meal plan, a lot can be said about the quality based on how much the seller is willing to charge for it. The Union prices these at $5, and for that you get a decent amount of them. I counted six.
Also, there is something to be said about this particular item and its religious component. I’m no Sunday School teacher, but the three crispy edges of this Mac & Cheese bite are very Trinitarian. Maybe it’s the Messiah University student in me, or maybe I’m just trying to come up with something cheesy.
Did I enjoy them? Truthfully, I thought they were alright. They’re fried foods dumped straight from the freezer bag to the fryer. It’s not a game changing menu item, and I can see myself really only buying them for a snack.
There is a case to be made that these taste better based on what time you order them. I couldn’t see myself snacking on these mid-day. But, when I want something fried but not too much, these hit that perfect niche.
But, in today’s day and age of campus dining, sometimes what you need is something simple. Something consistent.
Lottie took a hit during COVID and hasn’t bounced back with slam-dunk menu options like the Grantham Grill. The Falcon is awesome, but it can be tough to make a stop there given its limited hours. Most food at the Union can be pretty hit or miss depending on how well it’s made. But this is something so simply satisfying I can’t help but be pleasantly surprised.
So if you find yourself in the Union late on a Thursday night taking a study break and playing pool, I cannot think of a better way to satisfy your fried food craving.
RATING – 7 Kim Phipps’s out of 10