Welcome to Auburn, AL, where “War Eagle” is the common greeting, orange and blue blanket the town, and agriculture reigns supreme. Auburn is the home of Auburn University, an enormous public college with a small-town feel. And nestled deep in the campus, attached to a residence hall, is Plains2Plate, a restaurant that is willing to go the extra mile to give its students the best food options possible.
Plains2Plate has only been on campus at Auburn University since 2013, but around lunchtime, there is often a line out the door. Built per request of the students asking for healthier food choices around campus, the restaurant offers a wide selection of wraps, salads, flatbreads, and healthy sides. Allie Einarsson, a junior at Auburn and a vegetarian and nutrition enthusiast, said, “Plains2Plate offers a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, something that is not available at other campus dining facilities.”
In addition to great-tasting, fresh produce, Plains2Plate also provides students with several vegetarian options. “Plains2Plate is wonderful about supporting a vegetarian lifestyle from veggie wraps, kale slaw, to, my favorite, butternut squash quinoa salad. This is a great place on campus to get complete proteins without your meal revolving around meat,” Einarsson added. Plains2Plate is very willing to customize a student’s favorite food item to fit their lifestyle.
And if the delicious, healthy fresh produce doesn’t get your taste buds watering already, Plains2Plate takes it to another level: Most of their food is local. Plains2Plate prides itself on being in a state full of blooming agriculture and takes advantage of all the products it has to offer such as: a local farmer who supplies all fruits, vegetables and salad toppings; Sister Schubert’s rolls from Montgomery; Conecuh sausage from Evergreen, AL,; and grits from Birmingham. “I appreciate that they support the local economy by providing us with local ingredients. You don’t have to wonder where your food is coming from. It’s satisfying to know that your food is coming straight from the plains to your plate,” Einarsson said. Using local growers helps Plains2Plate achieve a healthy, sustainable restaurant for students to enjoy.
Students at universities across the country are speaking out and asking for healthy, local options on campus. Auburn University chose to listen to the voices of its students and provide them with a venue that fits all lifestyles. So if you happen to find yourself in Auburn someday, say “War Eagle” to everyone you meet, enjoy some of their long-standing traditions, and delight in one of their newest traditions, Plains2Plate.
Katie Nahay is a junior at Auburn University majoring in nutrition dietetics. She plans to become a registered dietician and then continue on to physician assistant’s school or continue writing in the nutrition field.
Photo Credit: Auburn Family, Auburn University, Katie Nahay