Staff Profile: CrossRoads Location Supervisor John Poer

John Poer: Q&A

John Poer is the location supervisor for our plant-based cafe, CrossRoads, which opened in August 2021. The Cafe came about as the result of a student suggestion (read more about that here). Some of the staff at the Cafe, including John, follow a plant-based diet. Get to know more about John and CrossRoads below!

How long have you been with Dining Services? What other Dining Services locations have you worked at prior to CrossRoads?

I started working in the UConn Cafes as a student and then a Student Supervisor for three years.  I started working full-time as a Location Supervisor in April of 2004 and 16 and a ½ years later I’m still here!  During my time with Dining Services, I have run or have helped run Chem Café, Wilbur’s Café, Co-Op Café, Lu’s Café, Bookworms, Dairy Bar, Up and Atom Café, The Beanery, Union Street Market, the Food Truck, and the commissary.

What do you love about working at CrossRoads?

Wilburs Café has become more dynamic and, now existing as CrossRoads Café, represents more than just food and a café. CrossRoads represents a positive change in culture; being health conscious and having a greater focus on the environment and sustainability.  For those reasons, I feel proud to be able to take part in CrossRoads. I thoroughly enjoy working for Dining Services and being here at CrossRoads is the icing on the cake!

What is your favorite item(s) on the menu?

There are many great options to choose from!  The three menu items I frequently go to are the kale salad with butternut squash and grains, spring vegetable soup, and Snicker Kicker iced coffee with oat milk.

For anyone unsure of trying plant-based “meat” products, what menu item would you encourage them to stop by and try?

The one item I would welcome any meat-eaters to try is the Chaugie sub. This grinder contains plant-based sausage slices along with Chao vegan cheese and peppers and onions. The plant-based sausage tastes excellent and is seasoned delectably.  Some of the students I have working for me were amazed at how much you couldn’t really taste the difference between the plant-based sausage and its meat counterpart.

Best comment or compliment you have heard about CrossRoads so far?

CrossRoads has received countless compliments from our customers, which means a whole lot to our staff.  UConn Interim President Andy Agwunobi reached out to Dining Services and complimented us on our focus on giving the students something they expressed their desire for in a plant-based café.

Why do you follow a plant-based lifestyle?

I started following a strict plant-based lifestyle almost four years ago for the health benefits associated with it.  My physical and mental health has improved because of this diet and it is something I want to maintain for the rest of my life.  A plant-based lifestyle has also raised my awareness of the positive social economic and environmental impacts it can have in our world, as well as increased awareness of how we treat animals.

What else would you like to share?

CrossRoads is a welcoming place to all, not just vegetarians or vegans. We strive to introduce and acquaint our plant-based menu with anyone willing to put their appetites in our hands. Come in and say hi, ask questions, or even make suggestions. CrossRoads is here to make a difference in the UConn community, and we couldn’t do it without our wonderful customers. Thank you all so very much!