Way back in my undergraduate days, the food court concept invaded college campuses. Cafeteria lines in student centers disappeared, replaced by branded fast food vendors. Scratch cooking vanished–no more hot biscuits and grits, or baked chicken and macaroni & cheese–replaced by Egg McMuffins and Chik-Fil-A nuggets, or reheated Sysco’s finest entrees.
I spotted a lone holdout from the chain fast-food and Sysco heat-n-eat trends this week. Tucked inside Tulane University’s Lavin-Bernick Center (the UC, to campus old-timers) food court, Byblos dishes up Mediterranean favorites like felafel, gyros, schwarma, hummus, and more. Best of all, it’s real food, not reassembled, reheated food shipped from some giant Houston commissary. Witness a cook making a chicken schwarma roll from scratch, using recognizable chicken parts!
The NY Times Dining section addressed gyro history a few weeks ago; turns out that the lamb/beef rolls are often mass-produced, making me appreciate Byblos’ handmade chicken schwarma even more.