The best times to visit Commons during the week


Mason Brooks, Managing Editor

Visiting University Commons, the main dining hall on campus, can be a really good or bad experience depending on a few factors.  Some days, it seems like they serve exquisite dishes at every station, while other times, you may find nothing appealing at all.  Then of course, there are also days where Commons does a special theme such as “taste of home recipes”, “chicken and waffles”, or “nugget mania”, all of which are usually very good.  However, an extremely important factor you have to consider to make your Commons experience a positive one, is the time of day that you visit.

Commons has specific hours during which they serve different meals.  During the week, breakfast is listed as 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.  However, do not just listen to these hours.  The best time to go to Commons for breakfast would be anytime from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.  For those who are able to wake up and go early, there are multiple benefits.  The dining hall in general will be less crowded, the food is fresher, and sometimes you can even order eggs at the grill line depending on how early you get there.  Also, after 9:30 a.m. the workers start taking away the food.  The main food line, where eggs, potatoes, pancakes, etc. are served, becomes self serve, and may run out of the food you are looking for around 10 a.m.  If you want fruit with breakfast after 10 a.m. you are out of luck as well, since the workers usually cover all of the pineapple, watermelon, and cantaloupe at this time.

If you are able to catch breakfast early and start the day right, you will set yourself up perfectly to grab Commons’s lunch at 11:30 a.m.  This timing is crucial to enjoy lunch at Commons.  At 11:30 a.m. you can expect all the food to be out, including the Kosher station, which in my opinion has the very best meals for lunch.  Also, all of the food is freshly made, and you know it has not been sitting there for hours.  The dining hall is also less crowded at this time than if you went around 12:30 p.m.

Do not go to Commons between 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.  I cannot stress this point enough.  While technically lunch is listed as 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., it is a mistake to go for lunch after 2:00 p.m.  Almost every station stops serving food around 2:00 p.m.  If you visit after that, you will most likely be stuck with limited options to eat.  Some of the stations such as the grill, pizza, and pasta stations stay open the whole time, however, because not many students are visiting during these hours, much of the food remains sitting out for long periods of time, which gets pretty gross.  If there is one thing you take away from this whole article, please let it be to not visit Commons between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. for lunch.  If you are hungry at these times, I suggest visiting Subway or Moes on campus as an alternate.

Going to Commons for dinner is always a solid option as a student on campus.  The listed hours are 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the week.  Similar to the other meal times, I would recommend going earlier in the dinner time slot.  Heading to Commons for dinner at around 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. is ideal.  Unlike the other meal times, dinner at Commons is usually fresh no matter what time you go, which means food quality here is not really a concern.  However, you may find that the later you go, the more crowded it becomes.  Because of this, going early for dinner is best.

Obviously, all of our daily schedules are different, but some people may not be able to go to Commons at the best times.  However, if you have the opportunity, I suggest you make an effort to go at the times I mention.  Visiting the dining hall at these times will give you a better dining experience, and ultimately lead to a more positive perception of Commons in general.  It is important to note that the times I listed in this piece are in regards to the weekdays as weekends run on a very different schedule.