Buffet lunch scheduled to return


Abby Keenley

Students enjoy eating lunch in the newly reopened commons.

By Brayden Mathews

After a full year and change of boxed lunches, buffet-style lunches are set to finally make a return to Branson, much to the excitement of the student body and faculty. 

Head of School Chris Mazzola said, “I am so happy that we will soon be back to the regular lunch lines as it is just one more symbol to show that we are slowly but surely returning to normal” and that Branson’s lunch is the “best school lunch this side of the Mississippi.”

I am so happy that we will soon be back to the regular lunch lines as it is just one more symbol to show that we are slowly but surely returning to normal.

— Chris Mazzola

David Hanson, Branson’s CFOO who is helping organize buffet-style lunches, said, “We are hoping to have the buffet lunches start on Sept. 29.” 

Unfortunately, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed before buffet lunches can start. 

The major obstacles include Covid restrictions, and we have been working with the County health officials to ensure that we can do this safely,” Hanson said, adding that “we know that people like to gather and bunch up in buffet lines … so we are asking people to distance as much as possible.

According to Justin Culley, Branson’s safety director, the lunch will look similar to how they did two years ago prior to COVID-19. For those who do not remember or never experienced how lunches worked, two lines will form on each side of the commons, and after you get your food you will exit through the middle of the doorway where utensils, napkins and drinks will be available. In terms of COVID-19 protocols, besides distancing, Culley added, “Everyone will be required to wear masks while in line and asked to wash or sanitize their hands.”

A Google form that surveyed over 50 upperclassmen found a wide assortment of favorite meals, but some of the most popular meals included: Thanksgiving for lunch, Asian meals — especially soups in the winter — chicken and waffles, burger day, taco day, and breakfast for lunch. 

Two responses perfectly summarize the gist of the informal survey. When asked what their favorite meal was, one junior replied, “Everything was so damn good I can’t remember any one particularly good or bad lunch.” 

Additionally, the pasta, salad, and potato bar were the most common responses when asked what they missed most about the old lunches.

Fortunately, Hanson said they are “planning to have a pasta bar,” and Marcus Trigg, Branson’s head chef, confirmed “the lunch menu will change to include more hot options and a full salad bar, and also possibly a baked potato bar as well.”

After a period of not being able to use the field and gym for recreation during free blocks and lunch, students during Monday’s assembly learned that both are open again, but not for eating. 

“It’s not sensible to have food [on the field] if it prevents the field from being used properly,” Sabrina Wilson, dean of student life, said.

Hanson also urged students to take better care of Branson’s campus: “The more we can all work together to keep the campus clean and neat, the better the campus will look and feel.”

In order to prevent food and trash from being left on campus, the advisory cleanups have been revamped. 

Wilson said, “Jack [Rende] and Sage [Sanderson] tweaked advisory cleanups from picking up after everybody to student leadership and being responsible for ensuring people clean up their own messes. The ‘old method’ of Commons cleanup went against Branson’s message of personal accountability.”

The ultimate goal is that “weekly advisory responsibilities will start us on a path of not needing to be reminded.”