The Cellar Pub and Grill is a familiar oasis for University of New Brunswick students seeking a distraction from the drudgery of classes and studying. But recent changes to such staples as cheap beer and pub fare threaten to upset this familiarity.
The Cellar menu underwent many changes this year, with the most notable being the removal of the Spinach Dip and the change of the Crunchy Chicken Sandwich.
Another considerable change was an increase in the price of beer. The “special” price of The Cellar’s draft beer, which has been the same for the last seven years, went up from a $3 glass and a $10 pitcher to a $3.5 glass and an $11 pitcher.
Pat Hanson, operations manager of The Cellar, said that explanations for these changes are simple.
“[For] menu changes … we have a new kitchen manager/chef. With a new kitchen manager/chef comes a new menu or menu changes. Our menu had changed very little over the last five plus years. Sometimes you need change,” he said.
“Regarding the price changes, we had to bring some prices up, just the economic reality. Every year the cost of food products increases two to three per cent and the cost of beer and spirits has had a number of increases over the last seven years.”
While any sort of price increase is seen as a minor annoyance, most students understood the new price of beer.
“Most of the changes at The Cellar did not come as a surprise to me. I spent all summer seeing pitcher prices go up a dollar so The Cellar doing the same thing was no surprise. They still have the cheapest pitchers in town which will always attract the frugal student,” said UNB student Liam Houlahan.
The biggest issue with the menu change seemed to be the removal of the Spinach Dip, fondly referred to as “Spin Dip,” which was a favourite among students.
“Spin dip is their most popular thing on the menu and they take it off. What the fuck,” said Joseph Cormier, a frequenter of The Cellar.
“I was pretty disappointed by the lack of spinach dip because it was my favorite item on the menu,” said Amanda LeClair.
“It should be an option, rather than a replacement,” added Dylan Sankey.
Other patrons were disappointed with the changes to the Crunchy Chicken Sandwich. The menu item was traditionally made from pub’s chicken fingers. Now it is a circular patty. Hanson said this actually reflected a better quality product.
“We have actually made the sandwich a better quality product. We are using a coated chicken breast versus the old method using our chicken fingers,” Hanson said.
“I think people are used to the more breading and less chicken from the old method. If customers like the old method we can make it that way for them any time.”
Hanson also said that if enough interest is expressed, certain menu items may be brought back.
“As for the menu changes, we always want our customers to be happy and as such we may change some menu items from time to time based on what our customers want. We can bring the spin dip back at any time if customers really want it,” he said.
But at the end of the day, The Cellar is still a student sanctuary.
“As long as the billiards stays free and the drinks stay cold though, I’ll always be a frequent visitor of The Cellar,” Houlahan said.