Sunday, October 9, 2011

MU athletic dining hall serving more than burgers and fries


COLUMBIA — Justin Perry’s friends are jealous.

They don’t care so much that Perry, an employee of the Sells Family Athletic Dining Hall at MU, can chat with James Franklin on a daily basis. They don’t begrudge his knowing that T.J. Moe is partial to cornbread. And they’re not particularly impressed by his “slightly insider” look at which Missouri football players are hobbling up to the salad bar during a given week.

But don’t get them started on the stuffed to-go box Perry leaves with every evening. Barbeque chicken? Parmesan-crusted tilapia? Fresh fruit of at least seven varieties?

“Salaried guys get complimentary tickets to football and basketball games,” Perry said. “I’m happy with food, that’s what matters to me. My friends are jealous I save so much money on food.”

Perry is part of the staff that serves 502 student-athletes at the dining hall in the back of the Missouri Athletic Training Complex. It’s where most Missouri athletes go for breakfast Monday through Friday and dinner Sunday through Thursday. It caters to their nutritional needs while aiming for a dining experience better than your typical cafeteria.

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Football players on their favorite meals

Senior tailback De'Vion Moore: I love the omelets, which I take made-to-go. I get all the meats — ham, sausage and bacon — and tomatoes and cheese.

Junior cornerback Kip Edwards: I like the hot-and-fire chicken they make. I bring Frank's redhot buffalo sauce, they shake it up with chicken and kind of make it into a Subway sandwich. I really like that.

Senior wide receiver Jerrell Jackson: It's got to be on Thursdays when they bring the shrimp out. You put some Cajun on there, you put a little butter in there, add some brown rice over it, and just have some nice, tasty shrimp.

Sophomore cornerback E.J. Gaines: Taco Tuesday. It’s pretty good. I’m a taco fan, and the tacos they cook up always taste good.