After years of comforting students with fresh fish and delectable toppings, Mr. Pak’s was forced off campus in March and replaced with another poke bowl shop. The move was a surprise not only to the shop’s owner, but to a lot of students — especially The Phoenix’s Editorial Board whose members would frequent the shop for a quick, healthy meal on campus.
Sure, it’s not like poke bowls have disappeared from campus. They even come with a variety of boba drinks to choose from now too. But we’re not alone in thinking the new shop has suffered from a severe drop in quality.
“With uninspiring combos and subpar bubble tea, it doesn’t quite live up to Mr. Pak’s legacy as a fan favorite,” wrote Mao Reynolds, a Phoenix arts and entertainment writer in her review of the new addition to campus dining.
When you would order from Mr. Pak’s, you knew the bowl of fish, rice, toppings and sauce was going to be good no matter what choices you made. But aside from the new products tasting different, there’s a human side to the story of Mr. Pak’s that leaves us with a bad taste in our mouth over the shop change.
The university decided to cast aside loyalty to the shop that served students for two decades in favor of a new place that has yet to live up to the expectations set by Mr. Pak’s. Associate Director of External Communications Matt McDermott told The Phoenix the change was in response to student requests for a change.
“We were excited to find Zen Sushi, which not only answered this request, but also matched the mission and values of Aramark and the University,” McDermott said. “There has been great excitement surrounding the opening, and we have received many positive comments from students about Zen Sushi’s Menu and Bubble Tea options.”
However, this was not the case when Phoenix writer Isabella Grosso set out to ask students what they thought of the new sushi store.
The rude dismissal of Mr. Pak’s represents a long-running misunderstanding the university has with its student body.
Whether it’s cutting Xfinity off-campus — a cable alternative providing accessible television to students — or raising tuition amid a global pandemic, it’s clear students aren’t the priority.
It’s hard not to feel as though the university cuts costs and quashes quality in order to make the highest profit.
As students, we want to feel valued. And vendors should feel valued too. Clearly that’s not the case.
Mr. Pak’s is just a small bite of Loyola’s venom.
The university can say what it wants, but The Phoenix editorial board has spoken. We’re not impressed.