by DREW HOWARD
Oakland University is set to provide healthier dining options for its students later this year with the addition of the Plum Market, a privately owned Michigan-based company that will be featured inside the university’s newly renovated Oakland Center.
According to OU’s official press release, the Plum Market “specializes in only the freshest ingredients,” which includes organic produce, all-natural meats and locally-sourced products. The Plum Market operates five full-service grocery stores and 10 food service operations, including a location at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Chris Reed, director of the Oakland Center, said the new dining option is designed with just about every diet and person in mind.
“There are a variety of options, for example quick-and-easy meals you can grab between classes or meetings and a lot of made-to-order items,” Reed said. “There’s also food that can be made specific for you on the grill or put together right there in front of you. The menu hasn’t been confirmed, but it’s similar to Plum Markets in the area.”
While the official menu has yet to be confirmed, a typical Plum Market menu includes the following: Grab & Go artisan sandwiches; organic snacks; all-natural soups with vegetarian choices and meat-based options; all-natural meat and seafood entrees; as well as seasonally fresh composed salads and globally infused recipes.
“There were a number of factors as to why we chose Plum Market, the biggest one being the options they provide,” Reed said. “Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or have certain allergies, they’ll hit just about everything if not everything.”
The Plum Market will also feature Zingerman’s Coffee Company, another Michigan-based company that will operate daily within the Oakland Center. Based out of Ann Arbor, the company is known for its house roasted brews, espresso drinks, tea and baked goods.
The new dining center is just one element of OU’s massive student center renovation project, which covers a 60,000 square foot expansion that will hold additional banquet meeting rooms, offices, kitchen areas, retail space and a student services area.
Reed said it’s still unclear how much space the Plum Market will occupy or how many seats it can hold. He estimates it will be “between 2,000 and 4,000 square feet.”
In addition to the university’s separate parking expansion project, costs for renovations are estimated at $51 million. The Oakland Center is currently 140,000 square feet.
“The expansion is designed to support the student population,” Reed said. “We were undersized, especially compared to other student centers, so we wanted something that brought more life and energy. It’s the central hub of campus, and it’s important we add space for students, faculty and staff.”
The Plum Market is set to be completed and open for business in the fall semester of 2018, and will provide students a healthier alternative compared to other campus options like Subway, Chick-fil-a and Panda Express.
“There are definitely healthier options [at the Plum Market],” Reed said. “We hope it has the campus community thinking differently about how we eat.”
For more information about the Plum Market, visit plummarket.com or read the official press release at oakland.edu under the “news” section.