Washington U. dining ranked second best nationally by Daily Meal

Junior Andrew Green enjoyed the make-your-own omelet he ate during a visit to Bowdoin University, but he said Washington University’s food is even better. The Daily Meal food blog disagreed.

Still, while Bowdoin ranked as having the best college food in America, Washington University was right on its heels with the No. 2 spot in the blog’s annual survey.

The rankings take into account factors including the health, variety and accessibility of food as well as the number of events put on by dining services and the school’s sustainable practices.

But second isn’t quite the best.

“I thought Bowdoin’s food was good, but I thought here was better,” Green said. “I think this is definitely comparable—if not better—than Bowdoin’s.”

While Washington University students complain about a lot of things, one thing most speak well of are the dining options. Or, at least, students say the food is better than what other schools offer.

So what makes campus food so likable?

One of the main draws of campus eating options is the hours of service, Nadeem Siddiqui, resident district manager for Dining Services, said.

“Since college students basically don’t sleep, it’s really important that we stay open later into the night,” Siddiqui said. “10 p.m. is late for most adults, but I know for students that might be a prime time to find something to eat.”

Senior Max Campbell said the school’s dining facilities are probably better than the food, though he does enjoy the wide array of eating options.

“Any time I have a friend visit from another school, they’re blown away…I think it’s mostly the facilities,” Campbell said. “It’s great food, but they’ve definitely got this scene down.”

In fact, the food is so good that sophomore Christine Mbakwe wants more of it.

“In Bear’s Den, they’re now counting tater tots,” Mbakwe said. “You get less for the same amount, which is frustrating.”

Mbawke also complained about the size of the crepes at Ursa’s Cafe, saying they have shrunk. Oh, and the new Bear’s Den brunch plates with section divides are silly, she said.

“People need to be able to make choices,” Mbakwe said. “There were more choices last year.”

The University offers special dining options such as halal, kosher and vegetarian options to accommodate students with dietary restrictions.

Sophomore Marilla Havens said that as a vegetarian, she finds options are fairly limited but still available.

“It’s better than [at] other schools,” she said.

Another important aspect of the ranking is the school’s dedication to sustainability. The University buys produce from 25 farmers around the community, and around 20 percent of all food served on campus is provided from local sources.

Siddiqui said that compared to the other schools he’s worked at in the past, such as Cornell and Stanford Universities, Washington University is much more action-oriented.

“At the end of the day, I think rankings are important, but at least for me and my colleagues, how students feel about us is more important,” Siddiqui said. “Breaking bread together is an important part of building community.”

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