Editor’s note 8/25/21: A previous version of this story said Douglass is closed Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Actually, Douglass has reduced hours on on weekends.
Between the largest first-year class ever, and a whole host of other students who have spent a year remote, the food options at UR may be a bit of a mystery for many on campus. Even as a junior who transferred here in Spring 2020, I still haven’t uncovered every food-related delight UR has to offer. This guide covers the top dining choices that you may encounter during your fall semester. UR Dining’s website has all of the details you will need for the menus and hours of the many dining locations on campus.
Douglass Dining Center:
The dining hall dubbed Douggie is a traditional college all-you-can-eat buffet. For students living on the quad, it is usually the first choice by default, as it’s 500 feet closer than the other major dining hall (500 feet might not sound like a lot, but just wait until the first snow). The worst brownie I’ve ever had in my life was from Just Desserts because it was so dry, but I love that station’s salted caramel ice cream. If I ever want to try something new, I know I can find something at Douglass because they have such a wide variety of options. A downside to this location is that it’s closed on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Danforth Dining Center:
I have never actually visited Danforth (“DFO” for the uninitiated), mainly because I only spent about 2.5 months on campus before COVID-19 hit, so I had to ask for an outside opinion. Campus Times Social Media editor Megan Browne describes Danforth as “super reliable,” especially the pasta, sandwiches, salad bar, and burgers. They claim the pizza is worse than Douglass’s, which is a little concerning to me because I don’t find the pizza particularly appetizing at Douglass in the first place. DFO also has a vegan station that Browne’s heard can be “hit or miss.” Danforth is located in the Susan B. Anthony Residence Hall, so it’s less centrally located than Douglass. But according to campus veterans, it’s well worth the two-minute trek.
Eastman Dining Center:
If you’re an Eastman student, this is really your only option unless you want to get on the shuttle over to River Campus. I haven’t heard amazing things about it from Eastman students, but it appears to have a lot of options, including a grill, vegan station, deli, and some breakfast options. If you’re a River Campus student in the city and don’t feel like spending real currency, your declining will work at Eastman’s dining hall.
The Pit is my favorite place to eat on campus and is where I spent 99% of my declining. There are a lot of local brands offered at the Pit such as Cheesy Eddies, Nathan’s Soup and Salad, and California Rollin’ II. Keep in mind that you can only use meal swipes at the Pit Monday-Friday from 5:00 pm till close and on the weekends. If you need to know what constitutes a swipe, there is a chart in Rocky’s by the checkout that you can take a picture of.
Hidden Gem: Did you know next Friday there will be kabobs in the Pit for lunch? Check out the “Events” page on Dining’s website to stay up to date on any special food pop-ups that might be coming. Dining loves to bring in local restaurants, hold themed dinners in Douggie and DFO, and is known to occasionally take over spaces they don’t normally use for special events!
Grab & Go:
Grab & Go is conveniently located on the patio near the upper entrance to Douglass and offers, as you may have guessed, pre-prepared foods that you can “grab” and then “go.” I’ve mostly seen sandwiches there, but they also serve bagels, fruit, breakfast parfaits, and soup. According to upperclassmen, first-years tend to sleep on Grab & Go, but it’s definitely worth checking out for when you only have 10 minutes between classes.
In case anyone didn’t know, there is a Starbucks in Wilson Commons for anyone craving some coffee or overpriced pastries while they study. Most people order on Grubhub to avoid the lines. My personal Starbucks favorite is a warmed up pain au chocolat (so I can pretend I am in Paris).
I can’t speak to the quality of coffee at Peet’s but I can say that I’ve had the worst bagel ever on a dreary January day there. I will go back this semester to see if anything has changed but I’m not getting my hopes up. The location is great in Wegmans Hall with huge glass windows looking out onto the engineering quad and a lot of different seating areas.
If COVID-19 hadn’t shut down the school, the chocolate chip muffins at Connections would’ve become a problem for me. Connections is a great place to stop if you’re studying in iZone or Gleason or waiting for a shuttle. They have a lot of baked goods as well as soups to choose from.
Roots & Shoots:
This is a new location on campus, so your guess is as good as anyone’s! If you’re down by the engineering quad and are craving the healthiest food you can find at UR, head to Roots & Shoots. According to Dining’s website, almost everything offered there is vegan and “plant forward.”
Hillside is the closest thing you can find to a grocery store on campus. Unfortunately, it is incredibly, insanely overpriced. In addition to the astronomical sticker prices, most students make their purchases in declining, which has a weaker dollar value than an actual dollar, meaning you are paying even more for your item than the sticker says. It sells frozen meals, snacks, other groceries, toiletries, and more. I learned the hard way that you can only use URos or cash to buy non-food items, so keep that in mind. At least URos have a 1:1 ratio to cash. Hillside is located on the hill (shocker) inside the Susan B. Anthony Residence Hall.