Campus Life

A Guide To Eating On The Cornell Campus

Cornell is consistently recognized for having one of the best college campus dining experiences in the country. If you are a current, former, or incoming student, you are truly lucky! But it is important to know just how lucky you truly are! Keep reading for a guide to eating on the Cornell campus!

Located at our Ithaca campus are:

Ten dining halls

Two convenience stores

Several cafes

A Dairy Bar!

All dining halls are “All You Can Eat”

This is wonderful. But just because the dining halls are “All You Care to Eat” doesn’t mean you should go crazy with the servings. Controlling portions on North Campus is tricky, because the plates are kinda small.

Pro Tip: Avoid overeating by waiting ten minutes between each portion so the food has time to settle in your stomach and signal whether or not you’re full.


Bring your own mug when you buy coffee.

If you want to make sure your BRB’s are not depleted within a month, bring your own mug to any cafe on campus and you’ll get a discount on your coffee! This is also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.


Do not leave the Mongo station until you get your plate.

For those of you who are new to Cornell, I’m talking about the Mongolian station at the dining hall in Robert Purcell Community Center (RPCC). Depending on the day, they make stir fry, omelets, quesadillas, and pancakes, all with toppings of your choosing (set up is similar to Chipotle).

Pro Tip: The line for this station can get very long, so don’t be that kid that places his order, then leaves the station to go grab some fries, and then comes back wondering which plate is his. There’s a huge chance that you might take someone else’s plate or vice versa.


If you’re in a rush, definitely avoid these places between 11 am and 1 pm:

(These places get incredibly crowded at peak lunch times.)

● Trillium
● Goldie’s
● Cafe Jennie
● Libe Cafe
● Terrace Restaurant
● Mac’s Cafe


Wanna grab a beer without walking to Collegetown?

Head over to the Bear’s Den, located in Willard Straight Hall. They serve beer and wine and are usually open Wednesday through Saturday from 4 pm to 11 pm.

Bear Necessities = “Nasties”

Nasties is an insanely expensive convenience store with a grill open until 2 am, located on the first floor of RPCC. I’m not sure how or when students started calling it “Nasties,” but it probably has to do with how unhealthy the grill’s food is. If stress from your classes isn’t enough to increase your risk of cardiac arrest, a Nastie’s calzone with mozzarella sticks will do the trick.


See Also

Yes, there is actually a hot dog cart.

It sits outside of Day Hall during the warm season, which is like, maybe 1 month and a half long. It offers a vegetarian option as well.


Terrace and Mac’s have Coke.

All eateries managed by Cornell Dining only offer Pepsi products. So for my fellow Pepsi and Sierra Mist haters, head over to these two Statler Hotel eateries whenever you’re craving the better kind of soda.


Clean up after yourself and read the waste signs.

This may seem like common sense but to some people, it’s not. Be courteous to others around you by picking up all your trash before you leave a table and make sure you toss your waste in the proper bins (Landfill, Recycle, or Compost).


If you would like some more information from Cornell about eating around the Cornell campus, check out these helpful links!

Types of meal plans 
● Use Cornell Dining Now to see what’s open near you and what they’re serving
● Login to GET to add more funds to your Big Red Bucks (BRB) account
● GET also lets you order food online from certain cafes

What are some other tips to eating on the Cornell campus that we should include in this guide? Comment below and share this article with friends!
Featured image source:
Elizabeth Villedrouin

Elizabeth is a student at Cornell University studying Communication in hopes of pursuing Public Relations or Marketing careers. Her hometown is Miami, Florida and she loves her family, classic rock music, park dates, and chocolate.

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