Food is an important part of college life. Students eat to socialize, curb their cravings, strengthen their brain power for tests or simply kill time. At Mississippi State University, there are two main campus cafeterias—The Marketplace at Perry, or "The Perry," and The Fresh Food Company, or "The Fresh."
The Fresh is a newer addition to MSU's campus and serves relatively similar-styled menu items as The Perry. Both cafeterias have the usual eat-as-you-please method of service, allowing students to go back for multiple servings, and both have different food stations that cater to a variety of appetites, such as pizza-buffet lovers, burger-and-fries type of guys, sweet-toothed dessert enthusiasts, vegans, brunch/brinner people and the usual home-style cooking comfort food cravers. While both The Perry and The Fresh are fine eating establishments, which may be enjoyed in a single block meal, there are subtle differences that draw a fine line between students who prefer one cafeteria over the other. Since MSU makes freshmen buy one of the top three meal plans, you might as well put that money to good use and go to the best and most convenient dining service on campus—The Perry.
The Perry is located at the perfect central spot on campus, right near the Colvard Student Union and just off of The Drill Field. Its midway site is convenient for most, especially when students are on their lunch break between classes. Most classes are mapped in relation to The Drill Field, as is The Perry. Therefore, students are able to grab lunch between classes without wasting the time and energy to travel all the way out to The Fresh. The Perry serves breakfast and lunch while The Fresh serves lunch and dinner.
According to Lindsay Boyers of Healthy Eating, "eating a healthy breakfast before starting the school day is linked to improved concentration, better test scores, increased energy, a higher intake of vitamins and minerals and even a healthier body weight."
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and the fact The Perry is the designated cafeteria to serve block-meal breakfast emphasizes its location is more integral than The Fresh.
Not only does The Perry serve the most important meal of the day during the most important time of the day, but it also serves the best dessert options. The Fresh does serve arguably the best banana parfait, but The Perry serves freshly baked cookies and famous MSU ice cream nearly every day. There are often lines of students waiting to get stacks of their cookies, and there was even a petition circulating campus earlier this year to 'bring back the chocolate chip cookie,' when The Perry stopped distributing them. According to our in-house article on the matter, 359 signatures were collected in favor of this cookie resurrection.
In addition to their highly demanded chocolate chip cookies, The Perry is also famous around campus for its fried chicken and mac-n-cheese, served each Wednesday, and fried catfish Fridays. On Wednesdays, be sure to make it to The Perry early enough because the lines will be backed out to The Union. The Perry has recently opened up a second fried chicken station to maintain a sufficient, speedy service, which accommodates the obvious popularity of this signature Southern dish. The Fresh may have delicious meatballs, but its common dishes do not receive nearly the amount of esteem or hype that The Perry's famous menu items attain.
While The Fresh is newer and seemingly more updated with a modern, sleek style, The Perry is the traditional residential dining hall with a classic, timeless appearance. According to MSU Historical Buildings: A Photographic Essay, the structure was built in 1921 and is considered a "Mississippi Landmark." Even though The Perry was built nearly 100 years ago, it certainly does not look its age. The cafeteria has, of course, been updated through the years to differ from the 20th century's cafeteria style in terms of tables, seating and food stations, but sitting in that classic dining hall by the brightly sunlit windows in the afternoon or by the soft yellow glow of its dangling chandeliers in the early mornings, you know you are feasting in a historically remarkable place. Its hundreds of flags proudly flowing around the inner border of the building each represent the different nations and states Mississippi State students are from, providing a sense of pride and togetherness among students. The flags in The Perry represent the diversity of the campus, but also the commonalities between each student to comprise one proud student body. The Fresh simply does not have this sweet sentiment.
Even though The Fresh is newer and has not fully developed as rich a past or menu as The Perry, The Perry is a signature of MSU's Dining Services and, therefore, trumps The Fresh.