Au Bon Pain serves up healthy options

Interior of Au Bon Pain

All menu options at Au Bon Pain, located in the Behavioral Sciences Building, include a list of ingredients and nutritional information. Photo: Alex Rauch/UIC News

By Humaa Siddiqi

UIC’s newest campus restaurant, Au Bon Pain, gives students and staff more healthy food options.

The eatery, which opened Feb. 21 in the Behavioral Sciences Building, replaces Skinners Grill and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Each entrée — including cafés pastries, savory sandwiches, soups and salads — informs customers of its caloric intake.

“Au Bon Pain is a national brand that is quite popular throughout Chicago,” said Heather Payne, marketing director for UIC Dining Services. “They are a company that is not only very health conscious, but also supports a number of sustainable initiatives that UIC Dining Services practices as well and that was an important consideration in the decision-making process.”

All café items include a list of ingredients and nutritional information, and there’s a kiosk on the café wall that provides extensive nutritional details for every item on the menu.

“Having a healthier option is better for the university overall, as people are busy in their day-to-day lives and this is one less thing necessary to stress over,” Payne said.

Au Bon Pain Salad Bar

The salad bar at Au Bon Pain, a new dining option in the Behavioral Sciences Building. Photo: Alex Rauch/UIC News

“Eating healthy has been shown to provide many benefits in terms of concentration, energy and other aspects that are important in the lives of busy students.”

UIC students like the scrumptious entrees, on-the-go snacks and reasonable prices.

“My favorite thing on the menu has to be the ‘create your own salad’ for $6.99,”  said Nick Schiller, a junior in psychology and communications. “You get a large salad with one protein, three toppings and dressing. It also comes with bread.

“The previous food places in BSB were nice, but they seemed to focus on sugary, fatty foods and drinks.”

But for some university students, fresher food means pricier costs.

“It is kind of expensive for a student budget, but it’s nice to have a few times a week, not every day,” said Madeline Miller, a sophomore in communications. “I think they will see a lot of business, especially since it is the only place to get good coffee in BSB. I think a lot of students [overall] will be satisfied.”

“I find that the quality of food is equivalent to the price they ask for,” Schiller said. “Au Bon Pain offers full meal options for reasonable prices and that is just what the students who eat in BSB need.”

Payne said customer feedback is important to the Dining Services staff.

“We are focused on providing options, equipping people with the knowledge to choose the type of food that is right for them and going about all of this in the most sustainable way possible,” Payne said. “We take feedback very seriously and utilize what our customers tell us to grow and improve.”

• Humaa Siddiqi is a freshman in political science.

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