Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

A cheesy open letter to Dining Services

To Whom It May Concern:

I try not to eat too much fried food because I want to keep my heart healthy. I try not to eat too much dairy because I’m lactose intolerant.

There’s one food containing both of these elements that I’m powerless against, though – mozzarella sticks.

The contrast between the crunchy breading and the gooey melted cheese in a good mozzarella stick is a truly unrivaled experience. Sure, they’re bad for you (especially when cheese gives you debilitating stomach cramps), but unlike most other foods, they’re worth the calories.

When I first came to Miami, I frequently found myself in need of comfort. Because few things are more comforting than a good meal, I spent much of my freshman year searching for the best food on campus.

I ordered Pulley Diner’s mozzarella sticks for the first time during my second or third week of classes. I had slept through my first class of the day and couldn’t muster the willpower to attend my second. More than anything, I needed a hug.

The second I bit into the first stick, though, my stress was gone. All I could think about was how utterly perfect that bite was: the breading was crunchy and the cheese-pull was immaculate.

For the next three years, those mozzarella sticks were my go-to temporary cure for stress, sadness, loneliness and all the other emotions that come with being a college student. My struggles were still present, but the sticks provided the mood boost I needed to confront them.

Toward the very end of last semester, though, something changed.

My boyfriend and I were on one of our many Red Zone runs (he likes to mooch off my declining dollars), and, because I wasn’t especially hungry, I ordered mozzarella sticks and nothing else.

I opened the lid of my to-go container and frowned.

“Why do these look so weird?” I wondered aloud.

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My boyfriend picked one up and took a bite. He grimaced.

“Yeah, these are completely different,” he said.

I tried one. Describing them as merely “different” was giving them entirely too much credit.

The breading, which used to be crunchy and breadcrumb-y, was thick and soggy. Instead of being rolled in actual breadcrumbs, these sticks seemed to be covered in a single coating of batter.

My Assistant Editor, Sean, who also laments the loss of the original mozzarella sticks, remarked that the breading was similar to “the skin of a corn dog, or a condom.” Bizarre as that sounds, I completely agree with him.

Perhaps more importantly, the cheese itself was also subpar. Unlike their predecessors, the cheese in these sticks is barely melted. There’s no cheese pull whatsoever, and the experience is similar to taking a bite of a lukewarm string cheese.

I don’t know about you, but a lukewarm string cheese covered with a condom doesn’t sound all that appetizing to me.

At first, I thought the impostor mozzarella sticks were only present at Red Zone, but sadly, my next visit to Pulley proved me wrong. Neither restaurant carries the original sticks we all knew and loved.

So, what happened?

Did you switch vendors? Possibly, but none of the other Pulley staples seem to have changed. Did you start buying lower-quality mozzarella sticks to cut costs? If so, I promise you that the loss in revenue you’ll experience as a result of that switch will cause you to regret it.

You may think I’m joking, but the number of people I’ve talked to who are personally offended over this switch is shockingly high.

I know I’m just one person, but on behalf of all Miami students, I humbly ask you to bring the old mozzarella sticks back. My life is much darker without the joy and comfort they brought me, and I know I’m not alone in that sentiment.