Let’s talk about food – more specifically, the dining hall food found at the University of Delaware. You probably have a ton of questions about this very important aspect of college: Does the basic meal plan provide enough food to fill your growling stomach? Where are the best places to eat around the UD campus? Does the food measure up to your mom’s cooking? Hopefully this guide will answer all of your questions so you can come into the school year ready to face the dining hall.
Meal Plans at the University of Delaware
The best place to start when discussing food at any college is the assortment of meal plans. All students living on campus are required to have a meal plan. There are many different plans available and two main ways of paying.
Depending on what meal plan you decide to buy, you can have enough food for a week or enough food for forever. Swipes will get you into any “all you can eat” dining hall. If you have the basic 12 weekly plan, then you will have 12 swipes per week, which means you have to decide what meals you can afford to skip per week because you will not be having 3 meals a day with this plan. This was the plan I had for my freshman year and I was perfectly content. With classes during all times of the day, I sometimes didn’t have time to eat breakfast or lunch in the dining hall on some days, so 12 meals a week worked well for me. Some people had the unlimited plan, which gets you into the dining halls whenever you want. If you are craving a cookie or a coffee, then you can go into a dining hall at any time to satisfy that desire.
Points come included in the meal plans. However, the number of points you receive differs from plan to plan. Points function like a debit card. You have a set amount of money on your ID card and the more you buy, the more your balance decreases until you reach zero. You can use your points on campus retail dining locations. The only downside of points is that you can’t use them to purchase ice cream from the creamery.
Flex can be used all around campus as an alternative to cash. That means you can buy ice cream with it! Flex is more useful than points because you can use it to pay for laundry, tickets at the campus box office, the University Bookstore, and so many other places on campus. The best part: you can send your mom a friendly text if you run out of flex and ask her to add more to your account so you can buy more ice cream!
Basic Tips to Survive the Dining Hall
With so many options and people, it can be difficult to choose what to eat or know how to navigate the dining hall. With these simple tips, you should be dominating in no time.
1. Walk around the whole building before deciding what to eat.
Before you settle on the first station you see because of the huge swarm of other hungry students, walk around the dining hall and see what each station has to offer. Each stop has a different theme so this can help you narrow down your options if you have a craving for a specific type of food. Also, when you first walk into any dining hall, there’s a display with all the food in the dining hall for that meal period. Take a look at the food and if you see something you like, then you can head on over and grab yourself a plate.
2. Talk to the staff.
Sometimes just saying “hi” can brighten someone’s day. You don’t have to do this every time you step foot into a dining hall, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. If you don’t feel like striking up a conversation, then at the very least you should always say “thank you” for your meal.
3. Always Look at The Desserts.
Dessert is always the best part of any meal, but this fact is even truer on a college campus. After a long class or a tough exam, a dessert is bound to brighten up your day. The cookies are a favorite on campus – trust me, you will always want to get a cookie to go!
Where to Eat on Campus
Everyone has a favorite food place that they always go back to on campus. These places often double as a study area or hang out location.
The Dining Halls
Rodney Dining Hall:
Is the newest of the three dining halls on campus and quite often the busiest one, as well. It offers the most options in terms of food, but it also offers quite a bit of frustration. During peak times, the lines are long and the food runs out occasionally, leaving you waiting for the next batch of food to be done. All in all, Rodney is not a bad choice for food and it is the most updated of the dining halls at UD. For hours and more click here.
Pencader Dining Hall:
Is the only dining hall located on north campus, so if you live up there, this will be the most convenient. The food is decent, but definitely does not compare to the food found on main campus (in Rodney). For hours and more, click here.
Russell Dining Hall:
My personal favorite dining hall at UD is Russell. It is more dated than Rodney, but I think it provides a homier feel. The staff just seems friendlier here and it is definitely less crowded than Rodney. So my recommendation goes to Russell, but many people also prefer Rodney. Definitely try out Rodney and Russell to find your favorite. Pencader is definitely not worth the hike if you don’t live on North Campus. For hours and more click here.
Other Favorites on Campus
The Scrounge is a good place for a quick bite or an intense study session (if you can study with a little bit of background noise). You can meet your friends here or enjoy a coffee and donut from Dunkin Donuts.
Einstein Bros. Bagels is located in the ISE Lab and one of my personal favorite places on campus. You can grab a quick bite to eat for breakfast or lunch and it definitely helps you get your bagel fix (since dining hall bagels are only okay).
Trabant Food Court is the best option if you’re running for a bite to eat between classes. As the main student center, you are bound to pass through it at some point during your semester. There’s always something going on in Trabant and you can sometimes score some freebies.
Places to Eat Around Campus
When you just can’t manage another night of dining hall food, Main Street has you covered.
Perhaps one of the greatest cures to studying woes since coffee, is Insomnia Cookies. Since they deliver from 12pm-3am every day, you don’t even have to leave your dorm to score some relatively cheap, delicious sweets!
This is one of the many places to get your coffee fix. Besides caffeinated beverages, they have sandwiches, soups, salads, and much more. This is a great location to come and study with a group or by yourself. The inside has a quaint atmosphere that is sure to make you feel like you’re not in Delaware anymore.
Everyone has their favorite pizza shop in Newark, but I find that Margherita’s is a favorite among many students. It’s fast and easy and a great place to grab a bite if you are on a schedule.
The Million-Dollar Question
Does the food measure up to your mom’s cooking?
The food at UD most definitely does not compare to any mother’s cooking. On the brightside, you have plenty of options to choose from in the dining hall so you are bound to find something that you like. When you need a break from campus food, try a new restaurant on Main Street. There are plenty of food options between dining halls, campus food courts, and Main Street. The key is finding the perfect balance between the three. Just remember, try all the options and you’re sure to find something you like!