NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Opinion: Lawrence campus offers better food

By Carly Colombo

Correspondent

A small counter sits in the Dimitri building atrium selling food and drinks to students. The counter is known as Napolitana, and serves as the main food vendor for the Lawrence campus as well as the building across the street next to the bookstore. What many students do not know, is the Lawrence campus food comes from a completely different company than the food on the Haverhill campus. Napolitana is the name of the cafe, but it is in fact owned by the Lupoli Companies, who are also responsible for the Sal’s Pizza and Salvatore’s chains of Italian restaurants. The pizzas sold at the cafe are actually the same flatbread pizza recipe used in Sal’s stores.

“Sal (Lupoli) rented a spot in NECC and we originally served his pizza, but switched to the flatbread recipe to be healthier for students, since there’s way less bread used in the crust,” said Jenny Eduardo, manager of Napolitana and NECC student. “Our pizza is stretched by hand, and it comes every day between 10:30 and 11 a.m., fresh. The Haverhill pizza seems like it was made in a pan or something. I’m not sure where they get it from, but it’s a lot thicker and doesn’t look handmade.”

Napolitana also serves pastelitos, fresh and made my hand. They have beef, chicken, ham and cheese.

“It feels more Spanish at this one,” says Jennifer Lopez, an NECC student. “Like we don’t have hummus and pretzels like the Haverhill campus, but we have the pastelitos. There’s definitely more variety in Haverhill, but the food in Lawrence is so fresh.”

“I make them all by hand. I season all my meat and make them fresh to order. I hate how in Haverhill, all the food is just sitting there. I don’t keep anything out, because it won’t be as good over time. People always tell me, ‘Wow, your pastelitos still have that crunch,’ and it’s because I literally just made them fresh. Making them fresh also allows me to be more conscious of peanut and gluten allergies. We had to stop ordering our pastelitos because they were making them with peanut oil, so we just started making them here.” says Eduardo.

Eduardo even explained the cookies are made fresh, baked on-site after receiving the prepared cookie dough from a warehouse. The food along the counter, such as the snacks, muffins and brownies, were all shipped in, but the salads, sandwiches, pizza and pastelitos are prepared fresh.

“The food at Haverhill isn’t like handmade,” says NECC student Stephanie Velez. “I only went to the Haverhill cafeteria like once to get a yogurt or something. But everything was sitting out on shelves, all the parfaits, wrapped sandwiches and stuff, like it’s not made to order. I don’t really like it as much as the food here.”

The cafeteria in Haverhill is known for having the infamous refrigerator shelf of cheese and crackers, yogurts, sandwiches, salads, hummus, and fruit all pre-packaged for sale, which isn’t offered at the Lawrence campus. It is very interesting that what seems to be a smaller campus with less student traffic has more food offered that is prepared to order. Perhaps since there aren’t too many students there is more time to make sandwiches to order instead of selling them pre-made.

Eduardo takes pride in the food offered to students at the Lawrence campus. She regularly throws away food sitting too long and tries to keep the hot food as fresh as possible. Even though the counter seems vacant and limited, the Dimitri building may have itself a hidden gem.