The Best College Dining Halls In The United States

Colleges and universities across the country are spending more and more money on their dining halls, so we set out to find the best one in United States.


The Culinary Institute Of America

Duh. CIA is a school of chefs, so obviously they take the food they eat and serve very seriously. The answer to satisfying the most sophisticated student palettes in the country? The Egg. This 28,000 square-foot dining facility overlooks the Hudson River, but the real view is the food. All three meals are served by the High-Volume Production Cookery class, and other students introduce new dining concepts to the facility every semester. Some students even use the onsite microbrewery to “study” beer. If you’re working towards a healthy lifestyle, things get even better: nutritious meals are discounted over 20%.


Bates College

While most collegiates are anxious to escape dining hall monotony, Bates students love the food so much that seniors made a cookbook of the most popular recipes from their commons to take into the real world. Like many schools with great dining programs, Bates hosts a number of culinary events to keep student taste buds satisfied and engaged. Every other week the college hosts “Adventures in Dining”, where they serve special dishes like okonomiyaki and or set up temporary stations like a carnitas bar. But Bates takes sustainability as seriously as they do taste.


Washinton University In St. Louis

Whether by building exhibition-style kitchens, serving 95% ethically sourced food or launching an iPhone app with the nutritional information of the meals served on campus, WashU dining is committed to honesty and transparency. But healthful and sustainable does not mean boring. With up to five dining events a week, there’s not much time to tired of your options.


Bowdoin College

Bowdoin serves great food year-round, but once a year they up the ante with a Lobster Bake- the only reason you need to go to school in Maine. The food at Bowdoin is so good here that Malcolm Gladwell renounced the school for spending too much money on dining and not enough on low-income students.


University Of Massachusetts Amherst

It’s consistently praised for a reason. UMass Dining is the largest university dining enterprise in the country, but they don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. They work hard to support the New England Food System and were the first American university to serve SPE-certified meals. Between 12 and 15 dishes from all corners of the globe are served every day. Most importantly, burger and taco trucks are open until midnight.


Virginia Tech

What sets VT dining apart is the sheer amount of options available. A number of cafes (Deet’s Place has 30 varieties of tea), a marketplace, 2 food trucks  The D2 at Dietrick Hall is one of the largest non-military dining halls in the US and has shops like a Brazilian churrascaria and a New York-style deli. Pizza hut, Blue Ridge Barbeque, Carvel, Dunkin Donuts, Chick-fil-A. Owens Food Court and Turner Place at Lavery Hall also house plenty of interesting stations. The Virginia Tech dining center’s website claims that the West End Market “was the first true marketplace-style dining operation on a university campus in the United States”.


Roger Williams University

This is another school that treats students to a lobster and steak dinner, and the word on the street is it’s sublime. RWU works with Bon Appétit Management to turn fresh, local and seasonal ingredients into mouth-watering meals, including oysters from the school hatchery. The “stonewall stuffer”, a Thanksgiving-themed wrap, is a favorite.


University Of San Diego

Chefs trained at the most prestigious culinary schools in the country serve delicious food every day at the Pavillion Dining food court and numerous food retailers on campus. PETA even gave USD dining an A+ rating for their wide selection of vegan options. But carnivores don’t get the short end of the stick- students can bring Embers, a custom built barbeque, wherever they choose to post up and cookout. Caffeine-addicts can also rejoice over the self-serve cold brew tap wall.


Pitzer College

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The benefit of attending a college with barely a thousand students is, among other things, receiving individualized attention. At Pitzer, this principle also extends to food. A celebrated chef helms the single dining hall on campus, where the staff makes meals from scratch and often serves food within 48 hours of harvest.  Some options that caught our eye on a recent menu were eggplant cannelloni with tofu ricotta and roasted pepper sauce and sweet potato latkes with applesauce.


Boston University

Okay, we've reached the 24 hr. mark until THE event of Spring Semester.
Visiting Chef Series Dinner starts at 5pm.
Featuring @LincolnSouthBos a great #Boston restaurant that you will love! #BUVCS pic.twitter.com/5PejIPATru

— BU Dining Services (@BUDiningService) March 27, 2018

Every semester for the past 20 years, visiting chefs have spiced up traditional menus with their own creations. The Rhetty To Go delivery program allows students to schedule a delivery a month in advance and offers a flu meal for sick students who can’t get out of bed to go to a dining hall. and the Community Supported Agriculture Program allows students to buy a share of a local farm’s produce during the growing season.

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