Living and Lifestyle
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We’ve told you everything you need to know about the first-year dorms, the Columbia party scene, and the campus, but you’re probably wondering, “What about food and my meal plan?” Today, we’re here to give you an overview of all the on-campus dining options. Welcome to the grand tour of Columbia Dining.

John Jay

Vibe

The quintessential Ivy League dining hall, with big wooden tables, wood paneling, and chandeliers. It’s super busy during peak hours, is nearly impossible to find a seat in, and can be a bit overwhelming for the unseasoned undergraduate. It’s a bit more chill on the weekend though.

Food

There is plenty of variety at John Jay. For dinner, there is always:

  • An entree and a few sides
  • A grill station where you can get burgers, grilled cheese, and other really greasy foods
  • An action station where food is made in front of you
  • A pasta, bread, make-your-own salad, and pre-made salads station
  • Let’s not forget about the most important part of the meal: desserts. There are always two flavors of froyo, ice cream, hot fudge, caramel, and a bunch of toppings, plus assorted pastries and cakes.

Dietary Accommodations

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Halal
  • Kosher

Ferris

Vibe

Located on the second floor of Lerner, this dining hall is very aesthetically different from John Jay. It has two levels—the first has the food and some seating, and the second has even more seating. Keep in mind though that it can still be hard to find a table in this place, though it is arguably chiller than John Jay (probably has a lot to do with the large windows that let in plenty of natural light).

Food

Again, you’re spoiled for options here. They have:

  • An entree and several sides like John Jay
  • A famous pasta station where you can create your own dish (and it’s cooked in front of you)
  • Salad station (not make-your-own, but rather they’ll make it for you)
  • An entire display case filled with desserts like cake, cookies, and parfaits

Dietary Accommodations

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free

JJ’s

Vibe

Comfy basement equipped with couches, TVs, and a foosball table. This is a great late-night spot to hang out with friends after studying or a night out. (Plus, it’s going to be open from 12 p.m. to 10 a.m. next year!)

Food

Greasy. Cheesy. Comfort food. Expect:

  • French fries, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, burgers, and other drunken favorites
  • A smoothie station—It used to serve Jamba Juice, but now it serves fruit syrup crap. Sorry you missed JJ’s Golden Era.

Hewitt

Vibe

This dining hall is located in the basement of Barnard Hall. It’s the place to go to if you love meat on Mondays (Columbia’s dining halls participate in Meatless Mondays while Barnard does not).

Food

Arguably the worst food on Columbia’s campus, just because it doesn’t have as much variety. (Though the other places have such high standards that it’s hard to compete.) However, there are some perks to Hewitt. First, it’s convenient (it’s two minutes from the Barnard Quad). Second, it has a great Kosher section.

Hewitt always has:

  • An entree and sides
  • (Better than Ferris or John Jay) Pizza
  • A make-your-own salad bar
  • Desserts. The chocolate cake is a fan favorite

Dietary Accommodations

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan (minimal, but existent)
  • Gluten-free
  • Kosher

Diana

Vibe

Grab ‘n’ go style dining. All food is served in disposable containers, so people tend to eat elsewhere. There’s a dining room right outside of the food stations where students do work and eat.

Food

Everyone loves:

  • Diana’s sandwiches during lunch
  • Smoothies during dinner (you pick the ingredients and it’s made in front of you)
  • Brick oven personal pizzas (the white pizza is legendary)
  • Fries
  • Burgers
  • Salad
  • An assortment of snacks (chips, fruit, etc.)

Dietary Accommodations

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free

There are plenty of options for food on Columbia’s campus, so you’ll never get bored. If you do, there are always the campus cafes and the restaurants of Broadway.

Want to know more about each of the dining halls? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Isabella Monaco is Spectrum’s associate editor and Barnard first-year. She was Team John Jay her first semester, but switched to Team Ferris for her second. Reach her at isabella.monaco@columbiaspectator.com.

dining halls john jay hewitt jjs jjs place ferris diana food dining plan
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