Tag Archives: Encounter

What to Get Your Friends Based on Their Favorite MU Dining Location

Finding the perfect gifts for your favorite people is hard. We’re here to help. We’ve chosen some of the dining locations on campus and curated gifts to match the personality of each spot. Whatever your friends’ faves are, they’re sure to love these gifts.


Grilled Cheese Sandwich Plush Toy

Do they live for the grilled cheese and tomato soup specials at Delish? Then they’ll love this cute-as-a-button grilled cheese plush toy to keep them warm when the sandwich isn’t available.

Personalized Sandwich KeyChain

If you both like to customize your own sandwich at Delish, they’ll love this personalized sandwich key chain. Permanently record their favorite order, or just say something nice!  

Donation to the National Mustard Museum

If they like to douse their sandwiches in that spicy, yellow condiment, make a donation on your friend’s behalf to the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin.  


This Cheesy T-Shirt

If your friends are always down for a slice of pizza from Sundial, get them this punny shirt to wear the next time y’all meet up in Armstrong!

First Stop

Buttered Toast Pillow

Does your friend love breakfast food more than Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson combined? Fuel their dreams of delicious breakfast food with this pillow that’s just too cute to eat!

Pancake Backpack

If you give your friend a pancake backpack … they’ll probably want to get First Stop with you. But would that really be a bad thing??

“Is Butter a Carb?” Phone Case

Combine your friend’s love for Mean Girls and a buttered First Stop shortstack with this trendy phone case featuring a movie line everyone knows.

La Mia Cucina

“You’re My Butter Half” Pins

Give this gift to the buttered noodles to your chicken and pesto tortellini. If you and your friend strike the perfect balance, get them this carbo-loaded pin set!

Bell Tower

“Holy Guacamole” Phone Case

Help your friend protect their phone while they’re calling people to tell them that guac isn’t extra at Bell Tower!

Wing Bar

“I Got the Sauce” Sweatshirt

Everyone knows the best part of any chicken-based meal is the sauce. Show your friends they’re the best with this cheeky sweatshirt!


“Ranch Dressing is a Blessing” Tank

If your friend knows the best way to dress an Americas’ salad is with the staple of the midwest (Ranch), they’ll love this tank. Let them express what everyone’s really thinking with this great gift.

The Q

“BBQ Scented Candle”

If The Q was the Miami University dining addition you needed this year, this candle is the one for you. Get that delicious Memphis-style BBQ scent with this candle that supports a good cause!

Miami Ice

Alphabetical Dessert Print

If your friend is going to crave baked goods over break, keep them satisfied with this scrumptious print.

Donut Temporary Tattoos

Are Miami Ice donuts on the top of your friend’s favorite foods list? If the answer is yes, let them show their dedication, at least temporarily, with these fun accessories!

Coffee Laptop Sticker

If you can always find your friend studying by Miami Ice, let them show off their one true love with this chill sticker that reps their favorite hot drink.

Tea Hive

“My Puns are Koala Tea” T-Shirt

The jokester of your friend group, or just your tea-loving friend will appreciate this pun-loving shirt. It doesn’t hurt that it’s eco-friendly and super soft.

Robot Motorcycle Donut Dark Rider Metal Sign

Do your friends go nuts over donuts? If Tea Hive is the place to be for a quick treat among friends, they might like this funky metal sign for their dorm room!

Coffee and Tea Coloring Book

Help your friends de-stress with this coloring book they can work in while they sip on their favorite Tea Hive beverage.

Pulley Diner

Fry-Day T-Shirt

Does your friend rave about Pulley’s fries? Get them this shirt so they can celebrate everyday like it’s fry-day!

Burger and Fry Earrings

If you two go together like a burger and fries or Late Night and Pulley, get them these super fun earrings for under $15!



Don’t burgle burgers, steal hearts with this quirky purse.

Burger Phone Case

Your friends will be able to protect their phones while they’re texting you about the great burger they just ate at Encounter with this festive case.


Coffee Bean Necklace

If your friend loves coffee almost as much as you love them, get them this beautiful necklace so they can wear their heart around their neck.

Coffee-Themed Poster

Does your friend constantly wish they could be swimming in a pool of coffee? This print might be exactly what they need to motivate them to achieve their dreams.

Recapping Local Vendor Day (Fall 2016)

Twice a year, Market Street at MacCracken hosts Local Vendor Day, where local vendors visit Miami University, giving students the opportunity to meet some of the wonderful people behind their favorite on-campus, local products. And, of course, there are free samples!

The fall rendition, on October 6, was no different. Bathed in the sunlight from a beautiful fall day, 11 vendors set up tables and spoke with students about their products while the Pineridge Partners, a local band from Somerville, played music.

Burgers, gelato, chocolate, candy, baked goods and more were available to sample, but those products are readily available for students now. All the vendors sell out of Market Street at MacCracken!

So, learn a little more about the vendors who attended the event, and be sure to stop by Market Street to purchase their incredible local products!

Check out more photos from Local Vendor Day on our Facebook page!

Madisono’s Gelato

Website: http://www.madisonogelato.com

Offering free samples of their Carmello & Sea Salt gelato, Madisono’s Gelato specializes in hand-crafted, unique artisanal flavors of gelato and sorbet. It’s sold on campus out of Market Street at MacCracken and Emporium.

Check out our “Locally Grown” piece about Madisono’s Gelato and learn how a shiitake mushroom farmer learned how to make gelato.

The Organic Farm at Bear Creek

Website: http://www.organicfarmatbearcreek.com

The Organic Farm at Bear Creek provides a wide range of tasty products to Market Street, including salsa, pasta sauce, jams, soups and tea. At Local Vendor Day, owners Jeff and Sandra Ashba handed out samples of the flavorful, fresh salsa.

Check out our “Locally Grown” piece on The Organic Farm and how they ensure consistency in their products by using family heirloom seeds.

Winans Chocolates + Coffees

Website: http://winanscandies.com

Winans Chocolates + Coffees is a fourth generation family owned chocolate and coffee company located in Piqua. They provided free samples of their chocolate-covered espresso beans and chocolate-covered pretzels. Winans sells chocolates at Market Street at MacCracken, Emporium and King Cafe.

Reserve Run Family Farm

Website: http://www.reserverunfarm.com

Reserve Run Family Farm is the farm behind the delicious burgers offered at Maplestreet Station’s Encounter. Samples of burgers were available at Local Vendor Day. You can find Reserve Run’s tasty burgers at Encounter, and you can also pick up other Reserve Run Farm products at Market Street.

Check out “Locally Grown” piece on Reserve Run Farm and what makes their burgers so good.

Windy Acres

Website: http://www.windyacresonline.com

Windy Acres was back at Local Vendor Day with a wide variety of sweet treats for samples. Windy Acres has been a fixture of the area for years and for many, their candy is nostalgic. Purchase your own sweet supply at Market Street and check out our “Locally Grown” piece on Windy Acres.

Miami University Institute for Food

Website: http://miamioh.edu/cca/news/2016/02/food-Institute.html

The Miami University Institute for Food and farm is an interdisciplinary experiential learning project dedicated to cultivating an awareness around issues of food, health, and sustainable agriculture. Look for its fresh produce across campus dining services and purchase your own at Market Street.

Oxford Coffee Company

Website: http://oxfordcoffee.com

The Oxford Coffee Company attended Local Vendor Day with samples of its coffee. Bob Thurston, Miami professor of history emeritus, buys and roasts the finest possible green coffee beans to ensure excellent flavor, subtlety and character with each cup of coffee. The coffee is available at Market Street.

Chubby Bunny Bakery

Website: http://chubbybunnybakery.com

Chubby Bunny Bakery served up samples of its delicious gluten-free and vegan-baked goods, specifically their pumpkin muffins and chocolate chip cookies. Chubby Bunny Bakery products are made with organic ingredients and can be purchased out of Market Street.

Grandola Granola

Website: http://www.grandolagranola.com

Grandola Granola brought samples of its wonderful gourmet granola. The granola is nut-free, vegan and made by hand in small batches with organic and local ingredients. Grandola Granola is sold out of Market Street.

Check out our “Locally Grown” piece about Grandola Granola and learn more about how a daughter’s snack turned into a business.

Raphael’s Pizzelles

Website: http://www.raphaelspizzelles.com

Raphael’s Pizzelles visited us from Middletown and sampled a variety of their tasty pizzelle flavors like Citrus, Maple Walnut and even their seasonal Pumpkin. Pizzelles are a crispy Italian cookie and can be found at Market Street and Bell Tower Place.

Heather’s Goodies

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Heathers-Goodies

Heather’s Goodies joined us at Local Vendor Day and offered samples of their delicious baked bread, specifically banana blueberry bread. Heather’s Goodies is based out of Bellbrook and their products can be purchased at Market Street.


What’s New on the Menu? – Maplestreet Station

A new school year brings a new, fresh look to some of our menus with exciting new additions and different offerings that we are sure you will love. With the start of the 2016-17 school year fast approaching, we want to share some of our most anticipated menu additions with you!

Maplestreet opens this year with Starbucks in tow, after the wildly popular dining destination opened last spring. While nothing quite on that scale is in store this year, Maplestreet does have some exciting new things for you to try when classes start!

The Q

Formerly Red Brick Pizza, The Q is Miami’s very own BBQ house, offering smoked meats like pulled pork, turkey, chicken and hot dogs (okay, the hot dogs aren’t going to be smoked). The Q has its own smoker in-house and will be preparing the delectable meats right there at The Q. Sides will include items like Mac & Cheese, two types of baked beans, homemade pickles, a couple varieties of cole slaw and corn muffins. This is a prime spot for meat lovers and definitely worth a visit when you get back on campus. You can even get a hot dog topped with pulled pork or turkey!

meat tornado


Delish remains what you love about Delish with customizable sandwiches of different varieties. We are excited to announce that the ordering process has been simplified with choices between Single, Double and Triple sizes for your sandwiches. This is in an effort to streamline our service, but also to give you more control over your order size.

As you might gather, Single is for one meat, Double is for two meats and Triple is for three. When you order Double and Triple sandwiches, you can order different meats or stick to the same one, if you’re looking to “beef” up your sandwich. For example, you can purchase “The Gobbler,” which is a triple turkey sandwich.

Delish will have fried eggs as a possible sandwich item and will be serving up fresh baked cookies. Delish will also be a GET App mobile ordering option, if you’d like to order ahead, skip the line and pick-up your sandwich on your way to, or from, class!

Download the GET App for Apple and Android, or order online here.


Say hello to the Spicy Chicken Sandwich! Encounter will now be selling one of the top menu items on campus after we received a great deal of positive feedback when it was offered as a limited time offer at Encounter last year. Encounter will be serving their delicious burgers on brioche buns, which is exciting. Sweet potato fries will now be offered as well, along with cranberry ketchup (a little sweet, a little spicy), which is very much deserving of a taste test.

First Stop

Build-your-own omelettes will be available at First Stop, like Pulley Diner, allowing you to pick your own fillings and customize your breakfast. The same “build-your-own” process will apply to ordering pancakes and french toast. First Stop will now be offering made-to-order breakfast sandwiches and will be featuring three brand new breakfast bowls, which will make for wonderful early-morning treats. To-go breakfast items will be available, for those on-the-go (obviously). Finally, we are replacing the cubed home fry potatoes with shredded hash browns. Like the cubed potatoes, the shredded hash browns are a fresh potato product and go through the same preparation process, they’re just served differently.

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim is going buffet. This year, you will be able to use a buffet meal at Pacific Rim and enjoy all-you-can-eat of your Pacific Rim favorites. Made-to-order stir-fry is still available, featuring vegetable blends like Armstrong’s Mein Street, to help speed-up service. Pacific Rim’s made-to-order stir-fry is allergen-friendly with soy being the only top 8 allergen served there. Due to these considerations, the Pacific Rim stir-fry station is a wonderful spot for those with special diets (still be sure to notify staff of your allergy when ordering) and for those looking to avoid gluten.

Pacific Rim will also serve different international entrees, like pacific dishes and Indian cuisine, and will offer up some of the more traditional American menu options as well. There will be prepared salads, a pudding bar, desserts and Pacific Rim will serve brunch on the weekends. Pacific Rim is definitely an exciting location for this upcoming school year!


20160127_145651-minAmericas is still featuring a Trader’s Greens salad bar, along with the very popular quinoa bowls, but now Americas will be serving Taco Bowls as well. If you’re missing your Serrano fix, stop by Americas for street tacos or a taco bowl. Fish (cod) is now an available protein, making fish tacos a reality. Americas is also going to be serving (for dinner only) a steak dinner, so keep that in mind when you’re craving that Ribeye.


Starbucks is going to keep on, keeping on.

Keep tabs on the latest happenings in dining by following us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram! We are very excited to have you all back on campus and we can’t wait to serve you during the 2016-17 school year!

5 Classic Food Pairings and their Origins

Inspired by National Best Friends Day earlier this week and the countless people who shared pictures and kind words about the peanut butter to their jelly, we wanted to dive into one of the great discussions of our time; classic food pairings.

After all, regardless of how long you’ve been attached at the hip with your bestie, these foods have been putting up with the other for longer (presumably) and to much success.

So, let’s get started with some of the top #friendgoals (as it relates to food) around.

1. Peanut Butter & Jelly

Peanut butter and Jelly is arguably the gold-standard in terms of food pairing, going back to early childhood for many. Some might say it’s the greatest invention since sliced bread, but that would be incorrect. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich’s origin dates back to 1901, when it was first published by Julia Davis Chandler. Even though peanut butter was considered a delicacy at the time, kids latched onto the sweet combination, thus beckoning the evolution of the PB&J into the sandwich titan it is today.

Sliced bread? The process of slicing and wrapping bread wasn’t invented, at least on a commercial level, until the late 1920s by Gustav Papendick, which allowed kids to make their own PB&J without needing a potentially dangerous kitchen knife. There was no stopping this food pairing after that.

Nowadays, students can stop by our dining locations like the markets, Bell Tower Place or King Cafe during our PB&J Specials to enjoy their own creative take on the classic pairing!

Source: SeriousEats

2. Bacon & Eggs

What’s “breakfast” to you? For many, it’s the power couple that is bacon and eggs. This pairing has its roots in the 1920s when the Austrian-born Edward Bernays was brought in by Beech-Nut Packing Company to help create demand for bacon, which they sold.

Bernays, also known as the “Father of Public Relations,” went to his own agency’s doctor, asking if heavier breakfasts were a healthier option compared to the light morning meals of the time. The doctor said yes and wrote to 5,000 other doctors, asking them to confirm his findings. Major newspapers and magazines published the study, urging the public to eat heavier breakfasts, featuring the bacon and eggs combo, for their own health, which is where this food pairing truly got its start.

Bacon and eggs are available throughout the campus. Both can be found at Pulley Diner and First Stop, but our buffet locations also serve bacon and eggs intermittently as well.

Source: The American Table

3. Macaroni & Cheese

The origin of macaroni & cheese dates back a little further to the late thirteenth century in southern Italy, with the first modern form of the recipe appearing in the 1769 book The Experienced English Housekeeper written by Elizabeth Raffled.

Mac & cheese in North America, however, can trace its origins back to the early European settlers and even Thomas Jefferson. As the story goes, Jefferson was rather infatuated with macaroni & cheese, even attempting to make his own macaroni noodles to pair with imported Parmesan cheese, making for some of the earliest forms of modern macaroni & cheese on North American soil. Some sources claim that Jefferson’s daughter, Mary Randolph, is the true inventor of the dish after taking up hostess duties of the house following her mother’s death.

Years later, in 1937, Kraft took this tasty food pairing and ran with it.

Macaroni & cheese is another item found at various spots across campus, especially during special events, but also intermittently at other locations!

Sources: Food52 and CliffordAWright.com


4. Hamburger & French Fries

Hamburgers and french fries are certainly among the top food “besties” and are deserving of recognition on a list about food pairings. The origin of this combo is traced back to the early 1900s, specifically 1921, with the opening of the first White Castle in Wichita, Kansas.

Serving fast hamburgers, White Castle was in need of quick finger food to pair with their fast food offering. Around this same time, soldiers from WWII were back from Europe, craving the fried potatoes that were sold as street food in Europe. The quick and easy “meat and potatoes” combo was ultimately a match made in heaven, resulting in one of the more celebrated food pairings.

On campus, the hamburger and french fry combo is a popular meal and is one that is widely available at our dining locations. For those looking to enjoy this food pairing, check out Encounter for fresh, local beef patties, or keep your eyes peeled at most of our other locations!

Source: Huffington Post


5. Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is another tremendously popular food pairing that is a fixture of many households. While spaghetti and meatballs is considered an Italian dish, this combo is really American. Certainly the concept of noodles, marinara sauce and meat has Italian roots, but “spaghetti and meatballs” really got its start in the late 1800s and early 1900s with Italian immigrants coming to America. U.S. meat quickly took hold of the dish, combined with noodles and canned tomato sauce, called “sailor sauce,” because it was one of the few items available at local grocers. Since then, this food pairing has become a fixture of American households.

On campus, Garden Commons serves made-to-order pasta, but other locations rotate through different types of pasta. La Mia Cucina is always a good bet for some tasty spaghetti and meatballs too!

Source: Escoffier

Other Great Food Pairings

– Hummus & Pita

– Milk & Cookies

– Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

– Coffee & Donut

– Chips & Salsa

So, what do you think? What are your favorite food pairings?

Top 10 Most Popular Menu Items from Spring Semester

There are 11 different locations on campus, offering a wide array of food. From the epicenter of student activity at Armstrong, to King Cafe and Dividends, there are a variety of flavors available to students across the Miami University campus.

That got us thinking. What are the most popular meals on campus?

Without further ado, let’s take a look back at the spring semester and countdown the top 10 most popular menu items at our a la carte locations.

10. Spicy Chicken Sandwich

The spicy chicken sandwich gets the countdown rolling at No. 10. Available at Pulley Diner, Bell Tower Place and Garden Market, as well as buffet locations on occasion, the spicy chicken sandwich is a tasty choice that students flock to. Keep tabs on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts next year so you don’t miss out on spicy chicken sandwich specials, like the one we had at Encounter this past semester.


This spicy chicken sandwich was offered as a limited time special at Encounter earlier this spring semester.

9. Burger with Fries

This classic meal is available across campus, but Encounter, Pulley Diner and Bell Tower Place are the primary culprits for this ranking. Be sure to try a smash-style burger from Pulley Diner, or head over to Encounter for a local burger, fresh from Oxford’s Reserve Run Family Farm.


Encounter is home to the Encounter Burger, made with Reserve Run Farm beef.

8. Chicken Fingers

You knew chicken fingers would find a way on to this list. After all, you can’t go wrong with chicken fingers! They can be found across campus, particularly at the likes of Pulley Diner and Bell Tower Place.


Chicken fingers are offered across campus, but they are certainly a favorite at Pulley Diner.

7. 16oz Gourmet Coffee

Coffee is the life-blood of the college student and this ranking supports that thought process. Whether just waking up or preparing for a late study session, coffee is a go-to on campus. King Cafe, Miami Ice, Tea Hive, Garden Market and our new Starbucks (located at Maplestreet Station) are the primary coffee destinations, although it is available at other locations across campus.


A number of campus locations can cure coffee-deprivation.

6. Deli Sandwich

Deli sandwiches were the sixth most popular item from the spring semester. Available at Haines’ Boulangerie, Delish, King Cafe and Bell Tower Place (along with different wraps at other locations), the deli sandwich has a wide reach. While all the locations mentioned allow you to customize your own, which is hard to pass up, be sure to try the deli stations at the buffet locations too!


Yum. Delish.

5. Banana

Checking in at No. 5 is perhaps the most surprising of the top 10; the banana. Yep, that’s right, the banana was the fifth most popular item across campus during the spring semester. Bananas are smart choices when you’re looking for a snack or need something on your way to class and can be found all over campus. They are nutrient-rich and have been linked to a variety of health studies as a wonderful addition to any diet. Plus, they are a great source of potassium for those of you who are hitting the gym!


Bananas are a great addition to any diet and can be found across campus at a variety of different dining and market locations.

4. RedHawk Water

We like to share with you the importance of drinking lots of water, so it’s good to see water amongst the top items from the spring. Like bananas, water is available across campus and is a great thing to get more of in your diet. Water could be even higher on this list, as this doesn’t even account for SmartWater or some of the other brands that are sold on campus.


RedHawk water is another item that can be found across campus, particularly at our market locations like Market Street at MacCracken.

3. Dividends Salad

At No. 3, we have the beloved Dividends salad from — you guessed it — Dividends! Trader’s Greens salads are available at Dividends, Americas and Haines’ Boulangerie, but salads are also available at buffets. We’d be remised if we didn’t at least mention the popular dressing of choice; the delicious sweet herb vinaigrette that certainly helped the Dividends salad in these rankings.


Trader’s Greens, the salad station at Dividends, is also located at Americas and Haines’ Boulangerie.

2. Pizza

Pizza makes the world go round, so it’s only fitting that it jumps in here as the No. 2 most popular item of the spring semester. Pizza is available at Sundial, Red Brick Pizza and Bell Tower Place, but is also available at La Mia Cucina, through LMC Pizza Delivery and at buffet locations (slices at Garden Commons and personal flatbread at Western Dining Commons).


Pizza is a tasty staple of college life and it’s available across campus at Sundial, Red Brick, La Mia Cucina, LMC Pizza Delivery and buffets.

1. Stir Fry

And at No. 1 is… stir fry! Stir Fry is available at Mein Street, Bell Tower Place and Pacific Rim and is clearly a campus favorite. Stir fry can offer some great health value and is simply delicious. If you’d like to get a taste of the top item from this spring, it can be found at the above a la carte locations (Mein Street is open this summer) or is available at Garden Commons buffet as well!


And stir fry reigns supreme! Available at Mein Street, Bell Tower Place and it can be ordered at Garden Commons.

Local Vendor Day Spring 2016

Whether it’s an old family recipe, a unqiue approach to their preparation, or just an interest in offering something different, local products have a special place in our heart stomach.

Local Vendor Day, held twice a year at Market Street at MacCracken, is an event where local vendors come to Miami University’s campus and share their products with a student body that values local.

On Wednesday’s spring rendition of this event, there were free samples ranging from candy, chocolates and gelato to burgers, salsa, hummus and vegan grahams. Students had the opportunity to meet the people behind the products, which are made by hand with the freshest of ingredients and – best of all – the full-sized portions are available just inside at the market!

Looking for more about our vendors? Those who attended are listed below. Be sure to stop by Market Street at MacCracken and pickup some of these truly wonderful, fresh, local items!

Chickpea Chicks

Website: http://www.chickpeachicks.com

Chickpea Chicks was offering up samples of their small batch, artisanal hummus and leading guests on a “hummus tour” from Toasted Sesame, all the way to Wasabi Green Onion (with Lemon Zowie, Smokin! and Cincy Style in between). Their hummus is gluten free, dairy free, vegan, has no preservatives and is available at Market Street!

Madisono’s Gelato

Website: http://www.madisonogelato.com

Madisono’s Gelato attended with some of their delicious Carmello & Sea Salt Gelato. Madisono’s specializes in hand-crafted, unique artisanal flavors of gelato and sorbet, which are gluten free, lower in fat than ice cream and are fresh from Cincinnati at Market Street! Looking for more info on Madisono’s? See how a mushroom farmer dove into the world of gelato (side note: did you know there’s an Ice Cream University?).

The Organic Farm at Bear Creek

Website: http://www.organicfarmatbearcreek.com

The Organic Farm at Bear Creek provides a wide range of tasty products to Market Street, including salsa, pasta sauce, jams, soups and tea. At Local Vendor Day, they handed out samples of their flavorful, fresh salsa, fresh from the farm. No really… none of the ingredients that go into their products, much less the completed product itself, have ever been off the farm until they are shipped to places like Market Street! Check out our “Locally Grown” piece on The Organic Farm and how they ensure consistency in their products by using family heirloom seeds.

Winan’s Chocolate + Coffees

Website: http://winanscandies.com

If you’re from the Dayton area, this likely isn’t the first time you’ve heard of Winan’s. Their delicious chocolate products, specifically their chocolate cover pretzels, were available at Local Vendor Day for sampling, and boy were they good. Be sure to get your chocolate fix by picking up some Winan’s chocolates from Market Street!

Reserve Run Family Farm

Website: http://www.reserverunfarm.com

Reserve Run Family Farm is the farm behind the delicious burgers offered at Maplestreet Station’s Encounter. Samples of their burgers were available at Local Vendor Day. The story behind their products is certainly an interesting one and one that warrants a read through in our “Locally Grown” series. You can find Reserve Run’s tasty burgers at Encounter, but you can also pick up other Reserve Run Farm products at Market Street!

Grateful Grahams

Website: https://www.gratefulgrahams.com

Grateful Grahams is a new face at Local Vendor Day with their handmade, vegan graham crackers, which are the perfect tasty snack for any occasion. They aren’t currently available in Market Street, but are scheduled to appear on the shelves come this fall, so set a reminder for when you come back to campus in August!

Windy Acres

Website: http://www.windyacresonline.com/store/

Windy Acres was back at Local Vendor Day with a wide variety of sweet treats for samples. Windy Acres has been a fixture of the area for years and for many, their candy is a bit nostalgic. Purchase your own sweet supply at Market Street and check out our “Locally Grown” piece on Windy Acres!

Ruby’s Chocolates

Website: http://www.rubyschocolates.com

Ruby’s Chocolates made the trip from just down the street (Hamilton, Ohio) to join us at Local Vendor Day, and we couldn’t be happier! They offered samples of their chocolate products, including Buckeyes and more. Ruby’s Chocolates is the perfect treat for those with a sweet tooth and they’re available at Market Street!

Thank you everyone who joined us for Local Vendor Day and a special thanks goes out to the vendors themselves who took the time to share their world-class products with us! We hope everyone involved had a great time!

As always, keep tabs on the world of Miami University Dining by following us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook! Don’t miss out on any future events or specials!

Locally Grown: Reserve Run Family Farm

How local is Reserve Run Family Farm?

Pretty local… like “Oxford, Ohio” local.

The farm, owned and maintained by Miami alum Drew Johnson, is a local provider of beef for Miami University and was present at Miami University’s Local Vendor Day a couple weeks ago. While there, students had the opportunity to sample the fresh, local beef that Reserve Run Family Farm supplies to Miami University. However, odds are, you’ve tried their product before.

Featured at Maplestreet Station’s Encounter and sold out of Market Street at MacCracken, Reserve Run Farm beef is easily accessible to students looking for a high-quality and all-natural product. It is a traditional farm with tried and true ways of doing things. All the cattle (and chickens they sell) are free-range and are hormone and antibiotic-free. They take great pride in their work and work very hard to ensure that the quality of their beef is consistently top-notch. This results in some of the best beef around.

“The meat is just second to none cause of how we feed and raise them,” says Johnson’s father-in-law, Dan Cartell, who represented the farm at Local Vendor Day. “Nobody raises beef like we do.”


Dan Cartell served free samples of Reserve Run Farm beef at Local Vendor Day on Oct. 15, 2015.

Reserve Run Farm has been supplying customers with their high-quality product for over 60 years now and has been a presence on-campus for a couple years now as well. As for Cartell, he knew Johnson was onto something the first time he tried a Reserve Run Farm steak.

“Drew gave me a steak, wrapped in the white paper,” says Cartell while putting more beef on his small portable grill. “I thawed it as I drove back up to Cleveland. I cooked it up without seasoning or anything and it was so good. I called him up right after and asked him what he did to it. He was selling it shortly after.”

The free samples Cartell was giving out at Local Vendor Day also had students asking the same question. The natural, unseasoned flavor of the beef is remarkable. In order to accomplish that sort of high-quality, natural flavor, Reserve Run Farm has one primary focus in raising their cattle that differentiates them from others.

As with most great things, it all starts with food.

While the debate rages over grass-fed over grain-fed beef, Reserve Run Farm feed their cattle a balanced diet of unlimited high-quality hay, corn silage and a little ground corn. This is referred to as a “high forage diet” as it is mainly plant material (plant leaves and stems). At least 90% of the diet is made up of green matter.

While there is a much more thorough explanation of the diet in it’s entirety on the Reserve Run Farm website, here’s how they describe corn silage;

Corn silage is a forage food. It is the entire corn plant chopped into small pieces when it is still green. Once we chop the corn, we blow it into the silos where it uses gravity to pack itself tightly. Because we put it in the silo a little wet, it combines with natural yeasts already on the plant and ferments in the silo to naturally preserve itself. The product is a high quality feed which is highly palatable and digestible for the cattle. Corn silage has largely been phased out in American agriculture because of it’s labor intensive nature. We spend a good deal of time filling and maintaining our silos. We also spend a good deal of time feeding them silage via a wheelbarrow.

Cartell calls corn silage “cow’s beer”, saying the cattle would eat it all day if they had the opportunity. A part of the diet that is unlimited though, is the hay, which is also a forage, served out of feeders that cattle can eat from at any time of the day. The hay is grown from a variety of different seeds that can be adjusted based on dietary needs, time of year and other factors. Finally, the grain is the icing on the cake, actually served on top of the corn silage. Everything Reserve Run Farm feeds their cattle is grown and produced right there on their Oxford farm. It’s a little more work, but ultimately benefits the final customer in the way of quality and taste.

Between the way their cattle is cared for and the way they are fed, Reserve Run Family Farm produces a high-quality product that can be found on campus at MacCracken Market, stored in freezer bags that maintain the freshness of the beef, and at Encounter in the form of an Encounter burger (or double Encounter burger), which you can top with your favorite toppings. Reserve Run Family Farm has a website and are on Facebook if you’d like more information. Otherwise, be sure to check out their products at our campus locations!

“We’re very proud to sell to Miami,” says Cartell. “They have a very thorough process for getting involved, so we really appreciate having the opportunity.”

And Miami University appreciates having the opportunity to serve the locally raised beef from Reserve Run Family Farm.

Reserve Run Farm beef is sold at MacCracken and used at Maplestreet's Encounter.

Reserve Run Farm beef is sold at MacCracken and used at Maplestreet’s Encounter.

Local Vendor Day Fall 2015

“Would you like to try some free samples from some of our local vendors?” one MacCracken employee says to two students, passing along the sidewalk.

The two girls exchange a quick glance and grin. At once, they reply “sure” and head off, walking amongst the tables set in the grass, just outside Market Street at MacCracken.

It’s a gorgeous fall day, not to warm and not too cold. The setting afternoon sun, from just over Porter Hall, seems to spotlight the Local Vendor Event, flooding the lawn area. Two former Miami University employees play musical instruments, providing a folksy, down to earth ambiance, drawing in student after student, including one tour group, absorbed into the inviting, quaint setting.


There was something natural and authentic about last Thursday’s 2015 fall rendition of Local Vendor Day. A certain charm about it. The premise of the day was simple; some of Miami University’s local food providers come visit, offer free samples and answer any questions students have about their products or how they are made. The draw for students, is not only that they can meet the people behind their food, but that students have the opportunity to taste test items that can be easily purchased right there at MacCracken. Not to mention, it puts a face to the name for some of the products featured at the MacCracken market, literally introducing students to the people behind readily available, homegrown, local food.

The vendors who attended this Local Vendor Day were: Grandola Granola, Reserve Run Farm, Just Mike’s Jerky, Windy Acres, Madisono’s Gelato and The Organic Farm at Bear Creek. Each vendor provided samples of their own products, which included vegan granola, locally raised beef sliders, beef jerky of various flavors, a variety of candies and goodies, authentic Italian gelato and delicious organic salsa, respectively.

While a rather odd assortment when listed together, each and every vendor was well-received by students, many of which seemingly unaware that the products they were tasting were just under their noses in the MacCracken market.

While the event allowed the vendors to introduce their products to students, it also gave students the opportunity to meet the faces behind their food and hear their stories. We place so much value on natural, authentic and high-quality food. What is more natural and authentic than products grown locally?

Grandola Granola and Madisono’s are both Cincinnati based businesses. The Organic Farm at Bear Creek is located in Ohio’s Washington Township (Clermont County). Just Mike’s Jerky is from Medina, Ohio and Windy Acres is from Wilmington, Ohio. Reserve Run Farm, who sells beef at the MacCracken market and provides the beef used at Maplestreet’s Encounter, is from our very own Oxford, Ohio.

The beauty of buying and selling locally is that there is something very authentic about that relationship. Whether it is the story of how Reserve Run Farm came to be, how the owner of Madisono’s attended Ice Cream University in New York or how Grandola Granola began as merely a quick snack for a loved one, there always appears to be more than meets the eye. After all, these are local businesses, started by normal people who had a passion for what they were doing.

Thank you to those who stopped by and got a taste of Local Vendor Day! If you want to know more about these locations, continue to check-in here at The Miami Spread as we will dive deeper into the stories behind each of the six vendors who attended. If you want to dive into the food though, you can find products from each of these vendors in Market Street at MacCracken!

“Locally Grown” series;

Madisono’s Gelato

Reserve Run Family Farm

Just Mike’s Jerky Company

Grandola Granola

The Organic Farm at Bear Creek

Windy Acres

On The Road At Downing Fruit Farm

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to take a drive to New Madison, Ohio and find the home of Miami University’s locally grown apples and pumpkins, Downing Fruit Farm (photo gallery below).

Downing Fruit Farm has been discussed on this blog before. The family-owned farm has been around since 1838, located in the village of New Madison, Ohio. According to Google Maps, the fruit farm is right around an hour from the Demske Culinary Support Center, just over 40 miles north of Oxford in Darke County.

The farm is, as you might expect, in the middle of farm country. The roads leading out there are winding, the fields are rolling and the people are scarce. As I made the final turn, the road dipped and bent one more time and the GPS – rather abruptly – announced, “You have arrived at your destination.” All that was before me was the road that extended further beyond, and a small mailbox on the side of the road. To my right was a quaint little farmhouse. There isn’t any sign or billboard, just a gravel path.

A drive leads up towards the central barn/shop/storage area and wraps around, providing parking and a glimpse at the different structures found on the farm that were initially hidden from the road. Families, both old and young, bustle about the space, the bright orange of the pumpkins scattered around the barn reflect the bright autumn sun while the trees provide a picturesque scene of a beautiful, natural farm. The entire setting reflects a level of authenticity that, for some reason, I didn’t really expect.

“Around 30 years ago, most of the business was done at the farm,” says Scott Downing, a seventh generation Downing who currently owns and maintains the farm. “I’d say about 75% of sales were made at the farm. Now, it’s closer to 25%. You just don’t get the Sunday drives like you used to have.”

My Sunday drive was eye-opening. While people love and embrace the concept of “local”, we sometimes lose touch with what that really means. The pumpkin on campus, used in the pumpkin smoothies and milkshakes – or even the locally grown apple available on campus – is grown and sold at a family farm only an hour from Oxford. A lot of hard work and time goes into ensuring the quality of their food. In addition to the work they put into preparing their products, the Downing family also creates other opportunities to reach out to new audiences by frequenting local markets like Oxford’s farmer’s market on Saturdays.

“Going to Miami… going to the market down there. We do fantastic down in Oxford at the market,” says Downing, who travels to various markets throughout Western Ohio during the week, selling his local fruits, vegetables and apple products, including apple cider that was once voted the Best Cider in the country.

At the farm, there is a definite homely feel between the natural, fresh products, the setting and people there. There are families with young children who are taking horse drawn wagon rides through the orchard or getting their face painted and older families with teenagers who have been to the farm every year since they were the ones with the smiling pumpkin painted on their cheek.

The central barn area acts as a family store and is stocked with apples and apple products, which make up nearly 70% of the Downing’s sales. A table in the back sells hot dogs and iced apple cider. The walls are lined with a variety of items, ranging from the familiar apple butter or cider to different jars of preservatives made from their own fruit or their very own fresh pumpkin butter. The quality and freshness of the products available are on display as visitors pick up entire bags of apples, pumpkins and a gallon of apple cider.

“We raise the highest quality of whatever we do, whether it is peaches, plums, apples or pumpkins,” says Downing, “It’s pretty satisfying to know that people appreciate and enjoy the taste and quality of our products.”

Downing can be found at the Oxford farmer’s market on Saturdays uptown, selling apples, etc. His products can also be found on campus in the form of the local pumpkin smoothies, available at King Cafe, Bell Tower and Miami Ice, and the pumpkin milkshakes available at Encounter. The Moon Co-Op, located near T.J. Maxx, also sells Downing Fruit Farm products.

They weren’t using the machine below while I was there, but let’s face it… it looks really cool.

View this post on Instagram

Apple season in Ohio. #jonagold

A post shared by Elizabeth (@ekat23) on

What’s New on the Menu? – Maplestreet Station (2015)

Yesterday, we stopped by Armstrong and found out more about the exciting additions appearing on the different menus there, so now we move onto beautiful Maplestreet Station.


We begin with Americas because it is the dining location that is making perhaps the most dramatic shift on campus, however, the menu additions offer some unique, fresh food options that are sure to impress. Americas was initially designed with South America (and a little bit of southern North America) in mind when Maplestreet was built. Now, Americas returns to that theme with a more fresh and natural flair.

First and foremost, Americas will welcome in the era of the quinoa bowl. Okay… so maybe it doesn’t warrant it’s own designated “era”, but nonetheless, the quinoa bowl will finally be offered at Miami University, starting with Americas. The hot quinoa bowl option is served with gluten-free broth and can be served with veggies or protein (meats). Quinoa also will appear in the Traders Greens Salad Bar as a salad topper.

If quinoa isn’t really your style, Americas will still offer some tasty options. Street tacos will be a major draw, as they will be prepared in fresh corn tortillas and will, of course, be delicious. There will also be a salsa bar with a variety of salsa options. This will be paired with nachos, which will be served from the Americas as well. Also look for the addition of pita chips and hummus for another high-quality, fresh snacking/light meal option.

Overall, the Americas menu may look a bit different this year, but the additions will offer students a tasty, fresh and unique dining option that provides a healthier menu for students to choose from. Not to mention, the menu lays out perfectly for students to grab either a full meal or just a study snack in the beautiful Americas dining location.

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim’s menu isn’t changing much, but there are some exciting announcements to be made nonetheless. The Pac Rim custom stir fry menu option remains, but it has now been made allergen-friendly! The custom stir fry does contain soy (so take note if this pertains to you), but is otherwise free of gluten, dairy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, egg and wheat. With this improvement comes new toppings for the custom stir fry, including quinoa, chopped kale and sweet potato chunks, giving students and staff a number of options to work with when building their own stir fry.

The only other noteworthy thing on Pac Rim’s menu this year is that it will now offer more express stir fry’s, including General Tso’s and Vegetable Lo Mein.

Red Brick Pizza

Red Brick’s menu remains mostly the same from last year with a couple exciting additions to the menu. First of all, the Red Brick pizza slices are larger! Whereas a slice used to be 1/8 of an 18″ pizza, this year the slices will be 1/6 of an 18″, meaning that this New York-style pizza place will be true to its name. The slices will likely require a fold to eat… or, if you appreciate a good challenge, you can choose not to. Additionally, you will be able to enjoy a variety of chicken pizzas (chicken, bacon, ranch; BBQ chicken, etc.) whenever Red Brick is open. Vegetarian pizzas will also be available at those times (Margherita, Greek, etc.), contributing to a nice variety of options from Red Brick.

Subs remain the other staple of Red Brick’s dining service, but with a new “La-Mia-style” bun that will be freshly baked. There is also a new meatball sub that everyone will absolutely need to try.

First Stop/Encounter/Delish/Patisserie

First Stop isn’t changing much outside of merely streamlining the kitchen to improve service. Turkey sausage is added to the menu, which is exciting, but for the most part, First Stop remains mostly unchanged. Encounter has made onion rings available all the time now. Delish is mostly the same from last year and Patisserie hasn’t changed at all.

With the wide variety of dining options offered, including more fresh foods, students won’t struggle to find a number of appetizing meal options at the beautiful Maplestreet Station this fall!