When trying to make a college decision, most high school seniors put little to no thought into the kinds of food available to them during the school year. Although it shouldn’t be among the main deciding factors, it will definitely be a relevant concern once you’re actually at school. Some schools are known to have great food, and to be honest, UVA is not one of them; the food in the dining halls are of typical college quality. However, there are many different options offered to students. There are three dining halls: Observatory Hill (O’Hill), Runk, and Newcomb, and all are relatively spread out and easily accessible from all parts of Grounds. Each has a well equipped salad bar, sandwich station, pizza, vegan options, gluten free options, stir-fry, desserts, etc., demonstrating the wide variety of food available. However, when you get tired of these typical foods, which you will, there are other alternatives. With the meal plans comes an option for a meal exchange, in which a meal swipe can be used for certain foods at certain times of the day. These can be used at places such as the Castle, Crossroads, or the Pavilion for Chick-fil-a, Sbarro, Pao’s, and more. For food not included on meal exchange, such as sushi and burritos from the Pavilion or other menu options from Sbarro or Chick-fil-a, Plus Dollars included in the meal plan on your student ID can be used as money. These options will satisfy your On-Grounds eating needs.
Sushi from Sakura on The Corner
If these are not enough, there are many different restaurants off grounds. On the Corner, right near the UVA Chapel, there are many restaurants such as The Virginian, Boylan Heights, Lemongrass, Sushi Love, and more that provide a variety of different kinds of cuisines. If you aren’t looking for a sit-down meal, you can also head down to the Corner for quick burgers from a local favorite, The White Spot, a slice of pizza from Christian’s or Mellow Mushroom, sandwiches from Little John’s, or frozen yogurt from Arch’s or Berry Berry. There are also more options at Barrack’s Shopping Center near John Paul Jones Arena, which is accessible by the Northline bus route. The options here include Panera, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Buffalo Wild Wings, and more.
Many places also deliver to the UVA campus, some at very late hours of the night. There are many Chinese takeout places and pizza places close to campus, as well as an upcoming chain called Campus Cookies that will deliver desserts! So far this semester, I’ve had pizza and wings past 12am, warm cookies within 20 minutes, and even sushi and various Chinese dishes delivered right outside my dorm building. Don’t underestimate the times that while up late studying you suddenly get a craving for Chinese or pizza; they even deliver to the library! This provides a lot of flexibility and convenience for all UVA students.
The average quality food in the dining halls is well balanced by all the other options available to students. Meal exchange is especially great because it does not cost extra money out of pocket, which is important because you will all become broke college students soon enough!