#40 for America’s Top Colleges, Unranked for Dining Halls

UVa’s reputation for academic excellency helped secure its impressive #40 rank on Forbes’ list of America’s Top Colleges for 2017. When it comes to “Best Dining Hall Food” however, it seems unable to snag a spot on any website’s list.

There are 3 main cafeterias on Grounds – Newcomb, O’Hill, and newly-renovated Runk. Each has different daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.  Upperclassmen will generally search for other places to eat, but first years with unlimited meal plans visit the dining halls frequently.

“I prefer Runk,” said first year Walt Buzzini. “I really like how small and intimate it is.  Since less people go [there], the food quality is just a little bit better”.

Other students shared Buzzini’s sentiments, claiming that Runk has the best food and most variety out of the 3 dining halls. First year Hannah Hardiman, among others, noted that she visits O’Hill more than any other hall because it is closest to her dorm and “the infused water is pretty good”.

Third year Marlina Mejia added that she most often goes to O’Hill “because of the location and the sandwich bar.” Needless to say, Newcomb seems to be the least favorite place to eat among students.

Situated next to new dorms, O’Hill tends to be the most frequently visited dining hall out of the 3.

It is unanimously agreed upon that, although the food is indeed tolerable, there are a few aspects that could be improved.

“[The cafeteria] gets unnecessarily crowded, and the food there isn’t the greatest quality,” commented first year Hannah Reynolds.  “They don’t have a lot of healthier options.  It’s hard to maintain a balanced diet.”

Some advice for the cafeteria managers?

“Instead of making a lot of different things, perhaps focus on a vegan option, regular option, and gluten-free option,” Walt suggested.

Although upperclassmen claim that there have been improvements with the freshness and availability of produce, there is a general consensus that the quality and variety of the meals themselves are in dire need of an upgrade.

Newcomb displays its daily meal choices at the entrance to the cafeteria.

Despite a few complaints and suggestions for improvement, however, students are satisfied with the social atmosphere and convenience that the cafeterias provide–as long as it’s not during lunch rush hour.

First years are also grateful for the meal exchange program, and rarely take it for granted.

“Being able to not have to prepare the food and clean the dishes yourself [is great],” said Marlina.

When asked about rival school Virginia Tech’s consistently superior cafeteria food ratings, she responded: “I’m slightly salty – not gonna lie!  But at the same time, I know [we have] better academics here.  And the food isn’t intolerable.  You just have to search around for better options.”


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