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     College dining halls have quite the reputation all across the country. From “surprise meat” meatloaf to mushy green slop, dining halls have been superseded by this comical stereotype and honestly, going into college, I was worried. On my first day here on campus, I trekked to the closest dining hall with my roommates and as I walked in, I didn’t know what to expect. Much to my satisfaction, all the foods I tried were actually pretty good! In fact, most of the foods I have tried at any of Baylor’s dining halls haven’t been bad at all. Now, I am not saying it is a five-star meal or anything, but as far as dining hall food is concerned, it is pretty great.

     I have been here now a semester and a half and have successfully tried every Baylor dining hall for all different meals on all different days. So, with my extensive knowledge on the dining halls across campus, I thought I would score each one of them to figure out what the overall best one is. I will be scoring each hall on a scale of 1 to 5 (five being the best) based upon five categories: breakfast, lunch, dinner, food variety, and overall vibe. Remember, these are just my opinions, so don’t worry if your favorite dining hall doesn’t make the cut!

 

The Breakdown

 

Penland Dining Hall

     Penland has a bit of a reputation on campus, being referred to as the worst dining hall. This is the closest dining hall to my dorm, so I go there pretty often. I would say it is not the best food ever, but there is a huge variety, something for everyone. Penland is a pretty big dining hall, so there’s usually a lot of people there. I was there at Late Night one day with my roommates and someone brought a mic and speaker, then proceeded to walk around singing Baby by Justin Bieber. My vibe score might be biased because of that hilarious experience, but I like how big it is and whoever chooses what music they play every day is a legend in my books. 

Scores

Breakfast: 2

Lunch: 3

Dinner 2.5

Variety: 5

Vibe: 4

 

Memorial

     Memorial is the farthest dining hall from me, so I don’t make it there often, but from the times I have been, it has been great! The warm cookies are to die for and the “flying saucers” are just as great as everyone says they are. I would say they have an alright variety of food options but I have seen pretty similar dishes multiple times.  Every time I have been there, it has been extremely busy, which isn’t my favorite considering it is a smaller space. 

Scores

Breakfast: 4.8

Lunch: 3

Dinner: 4

Variety: 3.6

Vibe: 2

 

Brooks Dining Hall

     Brooks is my favorite dining hall to go to just because, unfortunately, it is probably the closest I will get to being at Hogwarts. The big wooden tables, floor-to-ceiling windows, and awesome candle chandeliers scream dark academia, so I say it is the best overall vibe out of the dining halls on campus. As for food, they usually only have three options and then salads. The food I have had there has been great, there just isn’t much to choose from. 

Scores

Breakfast: 3

Lunch: 3.5

Dinner: 4

Variety: 2

Vibe: 5

 

East Village Dining Commons

     I also go to EV lots because, as a business major, it is the closest dining hall to the business building. I will put it out there, I think overall, their food is the best on campus. It always tastes so good and their burgers are superior to any other. They also have a pretty wide variety of food options for each food service of the day. It is a nicer dining hall building-wise, but it can get very loud during the rushes and then very quiet at any other time. The vibes aren’t awful but the seating is limited and overall, not my favorite.

Scores

Breakfast: 5

Lunch: 5

Dinner: 4.7

Variety: 4.5

Vibe: 3

 

     Now that I have broken down the scores for each individual dining hall, it is time to add them up to see which is truly the best and worst. Again, this is purely my own opinion and analysis!

 

Penland: 16.5

Memorial: 17.4

Brooks: 17.5

East Village: 22.2

 

     Well, the numbers have it. East Village Dining Commons won by a whopping 4.7 points! I guess its reputation on campus was valid. Unfortunately, Penland’s reputation was also true as it scored lower than all the rest of the dining halls. But hey, a 16.5 out of 25 isn’t too bad! Honestly, all of Baylor’s dining halls have proven themselves in my eyes and as far as dining hall food goes, I have been thoroughly impressed with the quality and taste of it all. They definitely proved the stereotype wrong and good thing, too!

Ali McNew

Baylor '24

Alexandra McNew is a junior Marketing major at Baylor University. She is from the small town of Willis, Texas, which is just north of Houston. When she isn't studying or hanging out with friends, she loves to go to concerts, skateboarding, and playing her guitar. Her career goal is to become a music promoter at a record label and travel the world doing what she loves.
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