Thought for food on campus

A photo of the Riddell Centre food court, taken from the area behind the food court.
Food options on campus are getting better, unless you need to eat during evenings and weekends. lee lim

Campus food options leave one hungry for more

For the first time since the pandemic, the campus is full of life this semester. There are people everywhere, space is once again at a premium, and slow walkers are once again blocking every single path from one classroom to another, walking at their slowest pace precisely when you are already running late.  

Another big change is that all the food places on campus are once again open in full capacity, for longer hours, and serving a more comprehensive menu. For those of us who had to witness the empty, post-apocalyptic campus during the pandemic years, even these crowds of slow walkers and loud talkers is a welcome sight. However, when it comes to food options on campus, things are still a little hit and miss. 

If you are looking to have a meal on campus, the different Chartwells locations are your best bet in terms of hours of operation. This semester, the Tim Horton’s at Riddell Centre is open until 7p.m. most days. This is a very welcome change compared to pre-pandemic years, when the store closed down at 4p.m. What sort of coffee place closes at 4p.m.?  

4p.m. is when you are just about to give in and have your afternoon cup of coffee! A coffee shop closing at 4p.m. is like the United States Military leaving a country just as they find oil fields! It’s like the phone scammer hanging on you just as you give him the first six digits of your SIN!  

Not that the longer hours of operation can compensate for the limited menu, the awful coffee, and the staff who look genuinely upset when you walk up to the counter to order something. I would have said I have never seen anyone grumpier about doing their job, but I know professors, so that would not be true. Once I ordered an egg and cheese sandwich on a biscuit, and was given a sausage sandwich on an English muffin. That felt planned, honestly. I can believe someone getting one part of an order wrong, but when every aspect of the order is the opposite of what you asked for, someone is messing with you. 

If you want more meal options, there’s always the couple of stores right behind the Tim’s. Word of warning though, unless you recently made it big in crypto investments, these might not be for you. Most of their full meal deals come in at over $15, or you could stay under $10 by getting a meagre slice of the most expensive pizza in the world and still be hungry afterwards.  

One personal rant here. Every time I try to order something at the store right next to the burger place, the staff tries to talk me into buying the halal option. This cannot be a mere business tactic, since all their lunch items really cost the same. I can only surmise that they are concerned for my soul in the afterlife. I wish I could tell them that with all the other sins and transgressions I am guilty of, eating some halal meat is not going to get me into heaven. But bless them for trying, I guess. 

The location of my workspace, and the laziness I was handed down from my ancestors and then perfected, means I hardly ever make it all the way to the lab café. During the pre-pandemic years, though, I used to frequent the Subway in that building. I eventually had to stop, because the staff there stopped taking orders at 6p.m. because, and I quote, “we are closing in an hour.”  

Once that went down with the customers, I swear they kept moving up the order cutoff time to 5:30, 5, and eventually 4:30 p.m. Legend has it that at some point they will refuse to take orders at any time of the day, because, and someone swears a staff member said this, “why make a sandwich when the universe is doomed to perish?” Before you laugh it off as a joke, recall that maybe some philosophy major was working part-time on campus at the Subway. 

Of course, I could talk about The Lazy Owl, but that has already been done to death. Instead, I close with a simple question – what sort of campus pub closes at 10 p.m.? 


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