Eating and drinking is a necessity for all living beings, even during your hazy college days. While we all have to adjust our food standards from delicious home-cooked meals to university food, trust me, it could be worse. This year Wesleyan is ranked #15 (we were demoted from #7, sad) in college food on Niche out of all the colleges in the U.S. so you know it’s going to be good. Wes has many options for dining that you can enjoy regardless of your dietary orientation. We’re even ranked #2 by One Green Planet for Most Vegan-Friendly Colleges. There’s a plethora of awesome vegan food and our friends at the Mongolian Grill are always willing to cook up a chicken tortilla topped with cheese if it’s protein that you want.
This is the part of the orientation series where we remind you to eat your veggies.
Home to the ‘main’ dining hall, the Usdan University Center (whose pronunciation baffles everyone—correctly pronounced yooz-dan and not ooze-dan or uss-dan or uzz-dan) is where you’ll pick up your packages, send your mail, see all your cruches, and hang out. The largest of the three Usdan eateries is the Usdan Marketplace, occupying the entire second floor. Here you’ll find what you’d expect in a conventional cafeteria—a rotating menu ‘Classics’ section, pizza, pasta, deli, fried food, grilled food, assorted cereals, a salad bar, a vegan section, a Kosher section, a celiac-friendly section, bread and bagels, toasters, a Mongolian grill (rotating stir-fry, power bowls, grilled cheeses, quesadillas, fajitas, Philly cheese-steaks, breakfast sandwiches, fried rice, and occasionally other fun surprises) also called Mongo, amazing ice cream, and a fair variety of drinks. Breakfast includes breakfast sandwiches, the bagel station, a waffle station, fruit, yogurt, and assorted cereals; brunch on the weekends includes two omelet stations, but the line fills up quick so get there early. You pay by meal or by points, and it’s an all you can eat buffet. (I suggest using meals for lunch and dinner, but points for breakfast.) All the Bon Appetit employees are super nice and you’ll probably end up learning a few of their names by the end of the year, nothing like a good Usdan insider connection.
Price: One meal swipe or 6 points (breakfast) 8.75 points (lunch) or 10.25 points (dinner), 8.75 (brunch).
Hours: Weekdays: Breakfast (8-10:30am), Lunch (11am-2pm), Dinner (5-8pm). Weekends: Brunch (11am-2pm), Dinner (5-8pm).
The other main dining hall is located in the heart of the Butterfields (Butts, arguably the best part of living here was the ability to get food without going outside), on the first floor south end of Butt C. Summies is a little different from the Marketplace: there’s a specific and generally non-rotating menu; you order what you want, pay, and then pick it up. The menu includes standard “American” fare (burgers, fries, etc.), a variety of salads, taqueria food (enormous quesadillas, burritos, and tacos), and the rare daily special. A meal swipe will get you a drink and almost anything on the menu (plus a dessert if you eat dinner). Once inside Summies, there’s also drinks and fruit available for free. At peak times (12-1pm for lunch and 6-7pm for dinner) Summerfields will be super slow, but at other times most items are pretty quick. You can order in person or on the Mobile Order Wes2go app, where you receive an order number and a time estimate, and then get notified once it’s actually ready. This is often the most convenient way, though the app can occasionally screw you over when they forget to mark it as ready and you are left stranded for an hour while all your friends enjoy their food.
Price: Meal or varies (meal-equivalent for 8 points at lunch and 9 points at dinner), with some sides or add-ons costings more.
Hours: Lunch (Monday through Friday, 11am-2pm), Dinner (every day, 5:30-9pm).
Late Night is a great place to go if you need some fuel to work on that paper or problem set due the next morning, or if you’re hungry after a great night out. It’s located at Summies. Pretty much anything fried or grilled is available, as well as some assorted desserts and drinks. Late Night is notorious for evaporating points really quickly; be careful but don’t miss out!
Price: Meals or points.
Hours: Every day, 9:30pm-1am.
Located at Alpha Delta Phi, the Star & Crescent offers amazing food for lunch and dinner on most weekdays. The weekly S&C menu (10 points for lunch, 12 or 13 for dinner) is posted on this blog and on their Facebook page every Monday. Each meal includes a salad, entrée, and a dessert. You can either eat with your friends / the friendly Alpha Delts or get take out if you’re in a hurry. FROSH TIP: the first three freshmen through the door eat for free—you’ll usually need to arrive 20 or 30 minutes early and sometimes you’ll get bested even then (especially for the grilled cheese and tomato bisque days). Seriously, take advantage of this, because S&C is both incredible and expensive. I did not get a free meal as a freshman and I deeply regret it now.
Price: 10-13 points or free if you’re lucky.
Hours: Lunch (Tue, Wed, Thu noon-1pm), Dinner (Mon – Thu 5-7:30pm). Sometimes suddenly closed, which you can usually find out somewhere online.
No need for me to waste my breath, this explains it all:
“Established in 1991 by Karen Kaffen and Ed Thorndike ’89 and located in the basement of 156 High St. (the former eating club of Delta Tau Delta, right by the intersection of Church and High), WesWings’ menu is based primarily not on wings but on fried chicken, and its atmosphere and menu feels more like a ski lodge eatery than a college cafeteria. WesWings tends to be on the pricey side (especially the daily specials), but it’s well worth it (again: especially the daily specials, updated on the website everyday). It’s also the only (on-campus) breakfast option on weekends (shoutout to the breakfast pail) other than Usdan and is a generally advisable weekend option, since Usdan dinner sucks on weekends. For those of you that live in the Butts and like to kvetch about the location, keep in mind this eatery is literally right in your backyard. Check out the restaurant’s site for cool old photos and WesWings history.” – Zach Schonfeld ’13
For Freshmen and Sophomores with fewer points, Swings is more of a special occasion type of place. It has a lot more upperclassmen, and if you make friends with one maybe they’ll treat you to a meal here :)
Price: Points only, varies.
Hours: Every day, Lunch (11:30am-2pm), Dinner (5:30-8pm).
Also owned and run by Ed Thorndike, R&B offers awesome sandwiches, paninos, soups, and a whole lot more. . R&B is often a nice change of pace if you’re getting tired of Usdan and Summerfields food, though it can be a bit pricey. If you’re one of those people that ends up with a million points at the end of the semester (or you know a friend in that position), R&B is a great way to use up points and save yourself from the monotony of Usdan.
Price: Points only, varies.
Hours: Weekdays: 8am-8pm, Weekend: 9am-5pm. Sometimes randomly closed.
Your one-stop-shop for anything coffee- or pastry-related. Pi Café is located on the first floor of the Exley Science Tower, and is a popular place for breakfast and lunch, as well as afternoon studying. If you try to go ten minutes before or after morning classes, you almost certainly will be late, but sometimes it’s still worth it. Pi offers a variety of inventive coffee- and chocolate-related drinks (try the Chaider), as well as bagels, pastries, sandwiches, and sushi if you get there quickly. Pi is reasonably cheap and a good place if you’re looking for midmorning or afternoon snack. Pi closes fairly early, though during Reading Period before exams it’s sometimes open from 9pm-midnight. In the afternoons, especially towards the end of the semester, you’ll be lucky to get a seat, but it’s a nice study break if you work in SciLi or the 24 Hour Room/Fishbowl. If you buy one Chai Charger every day, you’ll run out of points pretty quickly, so time your coffee addiction with your lunch and dinner (free to-go cups in Usdan and Summies) to save some money.
Price: Points and Meal Swipes from 8-10:15am Mon-Fri for an iced coffee and pastry combo only.
Hours: Mon – Thu: 8am-9pm, Fri: 8am-5pm, Weekends: 1-6pm.
Another fairly quick, fairly cheap place to grab a snack, sandwich, sushi, coffee, or a drink. They also have soup, which is usually the same as what the Marketplace is serving. Usdan Café is located on the first floor of Usdan. Like the Marketplace upstairs, the line is a mile long between 11:55am and 12:20pm. Usdan Café does not always have the best food, but the sushi is a great time-saver if you want to grab a quick bite before going to class. The coffee is not free, even if you have your own cup, though sometimes if you ask they’ll let you have some anyway.
Price: points only, varies.
Hours: Every day, 8am-8pm.
Pronounced as if a baby was saying ‘espresso,’ Espwesso Café is entirely student-run. Espwesso runs early in the morning, late at night, and some hours in-between (keeps changing) on weekdays (Sunday through Thursday) and offers free drip coffee, subsidized by still-absurdly-cheap fancier drinks. Espwesso charges $0.25 for a cup, so if you want to pay nothing, bring your own reusable one. Espwesso’s atmosphere in the basement of Allbritton also makes it a nice place to just relax and have a cup of coffee with a friend, to work on your papers, or get together for group projects.
Price: Points and Middletown Cash, cheap or free.
Hours: Sun – Thu, 9pm-1am.
All-important for juniors and seniors. Still fairly critical for freshmen and sophomores (especially those who live in WestCo, which is connected to Weshop, and spend way too many points here). Weshop (pronounced Wes-Shop or bastardized to weh-shop, never wee-shop) is Wesleyan’s own mini-supermarket described by some as a mix between Whole Foods and a gas station. You can get all sorts of packaged foods, milk, juices, meats, cooking supplies and utensils, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, candy, and a whole lot of other stuff. You can also get fresh food, including fresh fruits, veggies, and cheeses if you don’t sign up for the Fruit and Veggie Co-op or the Cheese Co-op. Prices tend to be way higher than at regular super-markets, but you spend your points. If you have a kitchen in your building, you might try your hand at cooking with some stuff from Weshop. Weshop has accepted meal swipes for a sandwich, salad, or mini-poke bowl, along with a bag of chips, an apple, and cookies. It’s also a good option if you’re short on time and want to grab a bite before or after class, though lines can be pretty crazy long around noon. Be careful if you’re a freshmen, this place eats up points.
Price: Points only, varies; meal swipes 11am-2pm.
Hours: Sun – Thu, noon-midnight, Fri – Sat, 2-6pm.
Daniel Family Commons
The third and final food location in Usdan. The DFC is located on the third floor and is used by faculty and staff. The food is usually identical to the stuff in the Marketplace, with fewer choices, but tastes better for some reason (I suspect the use of fancier plates/flatware). Students can only use the DFC if invited as the guest of a professor or administrator. There is, however, a lunch voucher program that allows a professor to get lunch with up to three students for free at the DFC. Each professor has at least one of these vouchers, and more are readily available at the office of Dean Mike Whaley.
Price: points only (8), or free.
Hours: Weekdays, 11:30am-1:30pm.
According to former Wesleying blogger Syed:
The Wesleyan Farmers’ Market describes itself as “a student-run initiative committed to supporting local agriculture, providing fresh, affordable, nutritious food, and building community in Connecticut.” Local vendors sell fresh produce, cheese, baked goods, sandwiches, spreads, spices, and more. Bon Appétit also usually serves a meal at the market that can be paid for using your WesCard. Be sure to bring cash though, since the real world doesn’t accept points. The market takes place outside of Usdan every other Wednesday when it’s warm outside, but relocates to Beckham Hall if there’s inclement weather.
I’ve never heard of this, so it might not exist anymore, though the Usdan Marketplace sometimes does outdoor lunch or dinner for special events, which is always nice.
Price: For goods from vendors: varies. For Bon Appétit meal: same as a Usdan Marketplace meal.
Hours: Every other Wednesday, 11:00am-2:00pm.
Wesleyan Local Food Co-op
The Local Food Co-op is a weekly farmer’s-market-type event in the basement of Usdan. At the beginning of each semester, you can sign up for a share of fresh seasonal produce, dairy, cheese, bread, granola, meat, tofu, seitan, or any combination thereof. You can split a share with up to six people, which is great as shares are pricey and more food than one person probably wants any given week. You pay for shares at the beginning of the semester using points, then go every week to pick up whatever you already bought. The Co-op is more popular with people living in houses with kitchen access, but a good idea for anyone craving more homey food. (I heard of this too late and wasn’t able to do it my freshman year but it sounds awesome and I recommend checking it out.) Highly recommended if you’re a spoiled West Coast kid completely dismayed at Usdan’s veggie options.
Check Wesleying during the first week or so of school for information on how to sign up!
Price: Points, varies, but for an idea, a produce share was about 120 points last semester.
Hours: Wednesdays, 5-7 P.M. (last year, might change)
I would like to take this opportunity to warn you guys now: on Saturdays and Sundays, absolutely nothing is open on campus until 11:00. So, if you’re anything like me— carless and desperate for coffee at 8am— I strongly suggest you either bring your own Keurig and/or some granola bars for a weekend breakfast before Usdan brunch opens up! Good luck with all that eating and drinking, there’s truly no better place for it.