In front of the cash register at Café Lux rests a plastic tray whose compartments house packages of different salad dressings. The small white packages glint with different colors — red, yellow, dark and light purple — distinguishing the different flavors from each other.
The display case offers a wide array of options: French, Italian, Caesar, balsamic and even raspberry vinaigrette. There is one particular dressing, however, that appears to be missing.
At first glance, it feels like a mistake. Perhaps you simply glanced too quickly. Perhaps it’s stuck behind the raspberry vinaigrette packets. But no, as sad as it is to accept, the ranch packets seem to have disappeared from Lux — and this is where our Midwestern mystery begins.
Junior accounting major Julianna DiMarco remembered exactly where she was when she made this unfortunate discovery. She had ordered the spicy sriracha chicken flatbread from Lux and was looking for ranch dressing to dip it in.
“I did not find it,” she said. “It wasn’t readily available at Café Lux anywhere, and I figured that they would not have that behind the counter.”
She looked in the refrigerated areas near the check-out areas. It was nowhere to be found and, needless to say, this was an unwelcome surprise.
“Being born and raised in the Midwest and relocating to another Midwestern area, I was a little bit shocked and a little bit disappointed as well,” DiMarco, a Cleveland resident, said.
Landon Lambert, the executive dining manager for Armstrong, shed some light on this puzzling series of events. It turns out that the culinary team at Armstrong now makes ranch dressing and blue cheese from scratch, served in small plastic cups. These two particular dressings were selected to be house-made because they’re two of the more popular choices.
“We prefer to use the house-made ranch versus the packet product as it is a more flavorful product with a fresh taste that our guests enjoy,” Lambert said.
DiMarco hadn’t seen the house-made ranch cups before.
“There is such an abundance of restaurants and places to eat at Armstrong that you’d figure you’d know about something like this,” she said.
DiMarco hopes that the dining services will make the house-made ranch dressing more well-known so that students across campus will be able to enjoy the popular Midwest favorite as much as she and her friends do.
Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter
A few of DiMarco’s sorority friends even carry a bottle of ranch to events, just in case pizza is being served. When she lived in the dorms, DiMarco and her roommates made sure to keep a bottle of ranch in the fridge. Now, in her apartment, they keep a gallon-sized bottle.
“I just really want to emphasize how important ranch is, above all the other condiments,” she said, “because you can put it on literally everything, like not just salad. It’s no ordinary dressing.”
For anyone harboring concerns over the disappearance of this beloved dressing, your worries are over. House-made ranch cups can be found at Sundial and Pulley, among other locations in Armstrong. Lambert also mentioned that if the desire for other house-made dressings increases, the culinary team might explore making other options available as well.