Tips for Surviving the Dickinson Cafeteria

It’s been almost two months since the first-year students at Dickinson College start their first-ever class. The Dickinson Cafeteria (or the Caf) has probably been the familiar place for the freshmen since it is where they drop by to have meals in a day - breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Even though it has been a while since the freshmen enjoy their experience at the Caf, the name that all the Dickinsonians call the school cafeteria, I would like to share some of my tips that I (and some of my friends) figure out. These following tips have helped me to have a better experience at the school cafeteria and I just knew some of them until I started my second semester here.


➵ Checking the Dining Menus: You are not sure of what would be served at the caf before you go there? Then, you can go to this website and see all the food that would be available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Caf. Also, you can see the Special Meal and the soups at the Union Station beforehand.


➵ Checking the Dining Hours (Including Academic and Special Hours): Before you go to the Caf, please make sure to check the hours during which the caf would be open, especially during special days, such as Fall Pause, Thanksgiving and Winter Break. Normally, the Caf would be open throughout the Fall Pause, but there are some special days or hours that the Retail, i.e. Quarry, Union Station, Underground, and Biblio, would be closed. However, on Thanksgiving and Winter Break, they are all closed, so please be sure that you would pay attention to the special hours and plan what to eat in advance if you are on campus during those days. 

Click here to check the hours:


➵ Suggested time eating at the Caf: During the school year, the Caf could be hectic, especially during lunch. From about 11:30 am to 1 pm, there are a bunch of students sitting in the Caf enjoying their meal. Therefore, you may consider this fact before entering the Caf; it would not be a good idea if you are rushing and want to finish your lunch in about 15 minutes. The reason is that only lining up to get the food could take more than 10 minutes! Before 11:30 am or after 1 am are better options, I would say.


➵ Not sure of choosing which meal plans: All information about meal plans can be found here: Normally, the first-year students are advised to use the standard meal plan, the “any 20 plan”. However, there are some restrictions when using any 20. For example, you cannot buy anything that is not in the meal exchange program, for instance, sushi, milkshake, stuff from D-Den (Devils Den Convenience Store) and the bookstore. With the other plans, you can do so while still having points to do meal exchange. I would advise you to read the information carefully in the link above before coming to the final decision. 


➵ Creating your own dish: The Caf offers much food that enables you to use your creativity and build up your own favorite dish that lives up to your expectations even though the menu on the day that you eat is not so good. You can find an article that shares the caf hacks from Dickinson College Her Campus Writer - “Dickinson's Secret Menu”. Also, there are sections on the Dickinsonian website, the Dickinson College newspaper: Caf Creation and Caf Review. There you will see the review of a certain dish at the Caf and how the writers put different food together to create their new favorite dish. If you can find your favorite recipes from those articles, you should try it to see how everything goes.


➵ Friday Night with Rib Eye Steak:

Sometimes the Caf offers us a fancy dinner on Friday with Rib Eye Steak from the Grill. Rib Eye Steak is a very good cut of meat, containing a little fat on the edge. After being cooked on the grill, the meat comes out medium with a little pink in the center, but you can feel the softness inside, not the dryness since the steak is pretty thin. Just adding some of your favorite sauce and seasoning for the plain steak and you are all set! Further, the Friday night menus are usually on point, so be sure to check out what is offered in order not to miss any good food.


Finally, it would be more fun eating with some of your friends. You can all together share the story of your day while enjoying all the good food at the Caf. These are all the tips that I found really helpful and I hope that all of you feel the same. Personally, the Caf is one of my favorite places on campus since it always helps me to regain all the energy from a hard day of working and studying; it is also a place where my friends and I usually meet up for lunch or dinner.