Students can now 'spoon' to satisfy campus cravings

By Sydney Berger, Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 29, 2013

Spoon University, an online food publication, welcomed students in packs to support the launch of its University of Michigan site at World of Beer on Tuesday evening.

The creators of Spoon University say the site seeks to facilitate the exploration of food around college campuses, from recipes to personal food experiences and the best local restaurants. The organization prides itself on its three main goals: to motivate students to construct something meaningful; to expose students to food, journalism and online media and marketing; and to create a strong community on campus focused on food.

Since it was founded in 2011 at Northwestern University it has expanded to 10 campuses across the country, including the University of Chicago, New York University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Amy Henson, editor-in-chief for the local site, works with a team of more than 50 people on campus. Henson emphasized the importance of being a publication geared toward students.

"We are a college website. We focus on affordability and simplicity," Henson said. “People are really excited to talk about food, read about food and most importantly eat food. We aren't expecting chefs to come to the site."

LSA senior Jordan Korn, Spoon’s business director, said they have resorted to social media platforms and events to draw attention to the Ann Arbor site.

"We are still establishing ourselves editorially," Henson said. "A classic startup — with minimal money involved because we are not in print. Writers contribute as volunteer foodies—for the love of food, and to gain experience in a digital space."

World of Beer co-owner Chad Wilson, said the event gave him a good opportunity to connect with students.

"It's not so important for me to have a great sales night," he said. "It's more important for me to connect with our customer base and give back to the community because that's what we like to do."

For a $5 cover fee, students tasted food from Frita Batidos, Ali Baba's, Mrs. Fields, the Wafel Shop, Firehouse Subs and Tíos Mexican Cafe. Live music at the event featured student performers Hannah Elizabeth, Aaron Dombey, a cappella group Kol Hakavod and DJ Dan Hoffmann. Other entertainment included a photo booth and a guessing-game contest to win gift cards to Mani and Isalita.

Students expressed their excitement about how they plan to utilize Spoon UM's website and the resources it has to offer. LSA senior Kyle Jonna said he’s looking forward to exploring Spoon University’s website for the first time.

"What I think is really interesting is that I can go on there, look at any restaurant, and really get a full view of the restaurant before I go so I don't spend any extra money on something I don't want," Jonna said. "I think in the long run, it will help me and the entire student body by making the restaurant selection easier."