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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The Hungry Student: UA’s new Denny’s spin-off is pretty solid

    Courtney Talak

    Students try out Park Student Union’s newest eatery, The DEN by Denny’s, on Wednesday, Sept. 2. The DEN focuses on college campus cuisine with old Denny’s favorites such as The Grand Slam and new items like hand-smashed burgers.

    From a rich, freshly-brewed cup of coffee to French toast, yogurt parfait and much more, The DEN by Denny’s is just the place to start off that morning grind before class—or to recover from last night’s hangover.

    Aside from the illuminated lights, The DEN’s menu has a simplistic, easy-to-read, wooden-inspired menu that attracts many students to lounge around inside Park Student Union.

    The DEN features all-day breakfast sandwiches, hand-smashed 100 percent pure beef burgers, sandwiches, burritos, tacos, hand-crafted salads and a selection of fountain drinks along with other sweet-tooth goodies.

    Piper Fox, a psychology freshman, said she does not think too highly of The DEN’s bacon, egg and cheese brioche melt.

    “It tastes good, but it wasn’t very warm or fresh,” Fox said. “It would have been nice to have a cheese sauce.”

    She said she does enjoy The DEN’s overall presentation and service.

    “The buzzer is pretty innovative, and their service is quick,” she said. “I also like their hours of operations. My friends and I came late and they were still fully operational.”

    The Original Grand Slam, only $5.99, is as big as one’s appetite with two eggs, two sausage links, two strips of bacon and two pancakes.

    Students who are looking for a healthier alternative without the extra calories can swap out the egg yolks for egg whites, regular bacon for turkey bacon, regular sausage links for chicken sausage and regular pancakes for wheat ones. The only two downsides in this deal were the sausage links and eggs.

    For the sausage, keep a full cup of water at hand since it had a few too many pinches of salt added. Although the eggs yolks were lacking in portion, the integrity of their flavor was all there.

    Aside from this, The DEN’s regular pancakes were fluffy, tasteful and easy to cut. If desired, this entree comes with a small scoop of butter and packaged syrup for more taste.

    A burger is one thing, but a breakfast burger is certainly another. The Grand Slamwich piles on layers of gooey American cheese, sliced ham, sausage patties, scrambled eggs and a strip of bacon, all on two grilled slices of potato bread. Big bites are encouraged to really appreciate every layer of flavor.

    “I love breakfast with a lot of meat,” said Mikey Manaloto, a sophomore studying physiology and biomedical engineering, when asked about his experience with The Grand Slamwich. “You get a lot of meat in this sandwich. You can choose to add ketchup, but if you’re like me, you can leave it alone and you’re all fine.”

    With an all-inclusive deal of a burger, fries and a fountain drink, The (Little) Den Burger is new to the menu, costing just shy of $5. For students wanting a little bit of everything, it’s No. 2 on the menu—a hard-to-miss, hard-not-to-want order.

    Another new item in the mix are the Audacious Tacos, under the sandwiches, burritos and tacos menu. The ingredients of the mojo pork tacos are jam-packed with flavor and well-seasoned through every bite. Chow down on the savory pulled pork, shredded lettuce, cilantro lime ranch and pico de gallo on a choice of either flour or corn tortillas.

    For busy bees who are always on the go, The DEN offers Marvelous Munchies: a list of snack bites to satisfy those study-induced cravings. The menu features three to five chicken strips or five to eight mozzarella sticks paired with a variety of dipping sauces, including honey mustard, roasted garlic aioli, BBQ, chipotle and homemade ranch.

    The DEN lacks a variety of handcrafted salads, but the ingredients used to make them aren’t lacking. The pecan-cranberry chicken salad goes home with the win; it’s a unique sweet-and-tangy fusion topped with grilled chicken breast and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.

    The selection of hand-dipped and hand-spun shakes consists of tried and true classics such as chocolate and vanilla, but also an unconventional flavor: maple bacon. Every shake includes an optional mini-mountain of swirled whip cream.

    The DEN by Denny’s, a fast food eatery with meals under $15, fits perfectly for students, right on campus.

    Follow Jessica Kong on Twitter.

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