For those who haven’t had the opportunity to experience the myriad dining options on campus, I have taken it upon myself to provide a small blurb about each.
Commons: The Commons Dining Hall is located at the center of Freshman Hill. Commons is the first dining option most freshmen learn about, and hopefully, they manage to learn that the food there is rather unimpressive. For freshmen or sophomores, who have to be on the meal plans, there are much better options during the week, though there aren’t so many options for the weekend. Commons has rarely managed to not disappoint me in one way or another each time I have eaten there, be it quality of food, hours when they have food, or being told brusquely that I had to move to a different part of the room.
RSDH: Russell Sage Dining Hall, located just west of the Fifteenth St. footbridge, is the second most frequented dining hall on campus during the week. Unlike Commons, a significantly larger portion of what is served at RSDH is rather good. Unfortunately, RSDH, like Commons, has somewhat awkward hours for times when they have large amounts of food. Also, from 11 am–2 pm, people that live on Freshman Hill can’t use that dining hall. Starting at 5 pm on weekdays, however, there is always some great food from Tofu Tim.
BARH Dining: Despite hearing a lot of gushing reviews of the Burdett Avenue Residence Hall Dining Hall, I’ve found it to be very hit or miss. At its best, it’s theoretically better than RSDH, but you’ve got to get lucky or know the hall well. It’s a good option for people living in that part of campus, though. It is certainly better than Commons, and rumor has it that you can even request a recipe and have it served there within the week. I generally stick to RSDH if I’m going to go to a dining hall.
Blitman: During my first two years, I was very happy whenever I was in Troy and managed to get into Blitman Residence Commons. The food was better than up at Commons and RSDH, and the very computerized menu setup was nice. That said, after heading there a couple of times, it has lost some of its appeal. The menus have very little variety, getting in is not very convenient, and the food is still dining hall quality. Also, due to being slightly understaffed at times, Blitman sometimes has problems with cleanliness.
Moe’s: Moe’s Southwest Grill, just south of Academy Hall, is okay. It’s convenient, cheap, mediocre Mexican food, but being from central California, I tend to avoid it. It’s also relatively close to the center of campus, and is open until 11 pm. Personally, though, if I was going to head down there, I’d stop by Big Apple Pizza (Pizza Bella) instead, despite not being able to use Flex dollars there. Moe’s just isn’t worth the cost or the walk to me, even at its freshest. Oh, and Sodexo seems to think Moe’s is a café.
Jazzman’s: If you like coffee, Jazzman’s Café, located in the Darrin Communications Center, is in a convenient location, and has the standard Sodexo fare. I don’t drink the stuff personally, but I’ve sometimes gotten tea, smoothies, or a bagel there quickly on my way to or from a class in the DCC. They have decent food and drink, but I’ve heard that they charge slightly more than Father’s Marketplace for the same stuff solely based on location. The wait can sometimes be a little too long for students.
Beanery: The Beanery Café, at the west end of the main floor of Russell Sage Laboratories, is a great place to pick up a bagel or a drink quickly between classes. Out of the retail cafés, the Beanery is the nicest, with a cozy feeling and a great staff. The food is actually relatively good, and the waits are short if you don’t go there during the couple of rush times. I would highly recommend stopping by there if you have class in the northwestern part of campus.
Next week, the comparison will continue with the Library Cafe, Evelyn’s Cafe, the Lally Galley, the McNeil Room, the Rathskeller, Father’s Marketplace, the BARH Marketplace, and Ben and Jerry’s.