The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday May 20th

Ram's Nook brings Mediterranean Deli to Smith Center

The Ram’s Nook, a new concession stand run by University students, faculty and staff, will offer healthy food options at the Smith Center beginning this Saturday by having Mediterranean Deli cater the stand. Game attendees will be able to purchase food at comparable prices to current offerings.

“By the end of the semester, (we want) people to realize we are there and take that first step into trying the options we provide," said first-year Gokul Dass, who joined the project in the beginning because of his interest in sustainability. 

Anne Froment, a clinical research assistant in the UNC School of Medicine, created Ram’s Nook because of her work with patients with kidney issues. Part of a kidney patient’s plan to improve their health involves a balanced diet, she said.  

Froment volunteered at the Smith Center selling concessions to raise money for her daughter’s band program. She noticed a lack of options for people like her patients who want or need to improve their diet.

She then pitched the idea for Ram’s Nook to Alice Ammerman, a professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, and received a grant for the project. Graduate student Jonathan Espitia then joined the project along with two first-year students, Dass and Gillian Totaro.

”I don’t want to manage a business," Totaro said. “My vision is that it will be a student-run organization.”

Totaro is considering pursuing a career in marketing and said Ram’s Nook taught her more about using social media platforms in business. Totaro’s passion for healthy eating inspired her to join the project as the director of marketing.

“I really like to be active and eat healthy food,” Totaro said. “When I eat stuff like normal concessions, it makes my stomach hurt. There are different target markets for the normal foods versus the healthier options.”

Before launching the business, the team members held interviews to find potential markets and surveys to gauge what prices customers would be willing to pay.

“That’s why the prices are a little lower than the general concession stands,” Daas said. “This is a test run to see how people react to healthier options.”

In addition to healthy foods, Ram’s Nook plans to provide vegetarian and gluten-free options. Offerings like pita and hummus, curry apple orzo, chicken salad and fruit will all cost less than 7 dollars.

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