OPINION: Our campus pub is slacking

Photo courtesy of Anna Cianni.

I recently went to the Ram in the Rye for a meal, but could’ve left in an ambulance. The recipe for the meal I ordered was revamped, and no one told me.

In the best interest of the Ryerson community, and to hold the Ram in the Rye to a respectable standard, I investigated the issue of menu mislabelling, false advertising, and failing to inform customers of recipe changes that could be deadly for students with severe food allergies.

I went to the pub and ordered the Ram Salad, which was listed to have: iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red onion, black olive, and mini potatoes tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and topped with a hard-boiled egg.

When the salad arrived, I dug in. I soon realized it was not the leafy-green mix I had ordered. Only after I asked about it, the waiter told me that the menu had been revamped over the winter break and that this salad, while still called the Ram Salad, instead contained: tender mixed greens tossed with toasted seeds, dried fruit, sliced apple and cider vinaigrette.

I was given an outdated menu to order from, and was not told about the recipe change upon ordering. If I had been deathly allergic to any of the new ingredients, it would have been too late.

Old menus are still being circulated among new (nearly identical) ones. Students who might have been ordering the Ram Salad last semester, could find themselves in the hospital due to the carelessness of the management and staff.

The old and new menus are virtually identical at the Ram in the Rye. Photo by Anna Cianni.

There’s an unacceptable lack of communication between staff and customers, especially since it could mean the difference between life and death. This draws on a larger problem of failing to address dietary restrictions and allergies when a menu changes.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Ram in the Rye has put the health of students in jeopardy. Rocco Zoccoli, a graduate of Ryerson, is allergic to onions. He had ordered poutine from the pub many times before, without any issues. Once, it came dressed in mushrooms and onions.

Turns out the pub had changed the recipe for their poutine and did not inform their customers. Zoccoli couldn’t eat it and has been wary of the pub’s menu ever since.

“I don’t think it’s fair that they can switch the menu so freely without considering dietary restrictions,” he said. “Especially without making a note on the menu for a very commonly ordered product.”

The Ram in the Rye was in hot water back in Sept. 2016, when the Eyeopener uncovered that their stated vegan quinoa burger wasn’t actually vegan. Alterations were made to include a side note in the menu saying: “We can make it vegan!”

Another incident found that the pub’s beer pouring failed to measure up to government standards in 2014, and was found to lack a couple ounces off their pints. It is also important to be aware of a 25 cent price increase in pints, and a 50 cent increase in jugs in the new menu, compared to last semester’s.  

  
Old menu prices versus new menu prices for beer at the Ram in the Rye. Photo by Anna Cianni.

I hope that telling my story will result in clearer communication between Ram in the Rye management, staff, and customers, as well as better practices for updating or changing their menu in the future. Until then, for your own survival, maybe choose a different spot to dine on campus.

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