An Unofficial Take on Dining Halls on Campus

Photo by Adham Elsharkawi You know that feeling when you leave the confines of your room to grab whatever form of indigestion the dining hall is offering that day and you overhear some more fortunate souls discussing what they’re going to get in their burrito bowls? Multiply that feeling by about four times per week, and you’ll arrive at a rough summation of how every student with an average meal plan feels (Side note: Some days, I go to the dining halls just so I confirm to my mother that yes, I did have a breakfast that covered the entire nutrient spectrum and no, I did not pick up the yogurt).

Dining halls basically save your ass every time your empty intestines need a quick fix... but they are also equally capable of kicking your ass with empty hot plates and coal black pizza. It is unarguably a bad day when pizza betrays you. I always question my life after the underside of a pizza gives me the finger, and I have to trudge to the bread counter to make some sympathy toast. So which dining halls on campus flip a pancake the best and which ones flip you off the best?

  1. Graham Dining Center

Or in rest-of-the-campus talk, “The one on the Mount.” Graham, at the start of the semester, was a multi-restaurant hybrid that stood above all others (refer to my food porn pictures on Instagram). It had a pasta for every kind of sauce, a sauce for every kind of fry, and a fry for every kind of calorie. And then, after the parents went away, it had good pasta every other day, cheese sauce maybe once a week (only at 11:32 a.m.), but surprisingly consistent fries. Don’t mess with the elderly pizza lady. She will hit you with her spatula.

  1. Ernie Davis

Every time someone says “Ernie”, it sounds like they’re reminiscing about their favorite Grandpa Ernie and his Sunday barbecue in the backyard. While the Ernie Davis dining hall cannot help your barbecue fix, I did get over-the-top positive responses for their chicken tenders and seasoned fries. The down side: the pasta sauce tastes like chlorine and apparently has been tasting like a swimming pool for quite some time now.

  1. Sadler

The one time I made it to Sadler was the one time they had a fire drill happening, thereby killing all my lunch dreams. I associate being lunch-blocked with my experience at Sadler, and I, as the mature person that I am, never went back there. But I hear that much like Ernie, Sadler’s got great food and lots of it too. And side note, everyone who is going crazy about the ice cream and sushi at Sadler? Get it back in your pants, the same ice cream is melting fast and the same wasabi hit is demolishing nostrils at Graham too. Walk your butt up the Mount, maybe.

  1. Brockway

After Graham, Ernie and Sadler, Brockway sounds like that compensatory evening at DJ’s after striking out at frats as well as South Campus. But don’t sweat it, I hear Brockway’s consistent AF with its hot food. Waffles, bacon, eggs, hash browns, you name the appropriate breakfast item, and they’re dropping it like it’s hot. So don’t be fooled guys, it sounds like compensatory DJ’s, but at least it doesn’t doesn't charge cover.

  1. Shaw

Let me clarify which part of the college demographic mostly goes to Shaw: seniors with off-campus apartments. Their meal-plans are like their 8th grade girlfriends… so five years ago. Once again, you’ve got to arrive at Shaw at a precise time to make the best of it. While these seniors think the food at Shaw is pretty damn good, the 0.5 percent of freshmen who have gone to Shaw think it’s a bit bland and boring. But as freshmen, what do we know right? Let’s just say we’re undecided.

Like I said, dining halls are bae for quick fixes. But think before you step in, pick your poison carefully. A quick fix is available in the form of melting ice-cream and weirdly sweet pasta sauce. Or (if you’re me and arrive at 11:33 a.m.) in the form of nothing at all.