Although UChicago students love to gripe about dining halls, eating at them is a special way to bond with your housemates—many a crossword game, debate, and salt shaker–flipping contest takes place at house tables. Bon Appétit, which caters all three dining halls on campus, includes kosher, halal, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free stations. At Baker, Bartlett, and Cathey Dining Hall, you’ll also find omelet stations in the morning (pro tip: you can request an egg white omelet), fresh fruit, and the ever-popular fourth meal: From second week through 10th week, one of the dining halls will serve late night staples like mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders, and crepes from 9 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday.
While you’re on the unlimited meal plan, enjoy the luxury of swiping yourself into the dining halls as often as you want—if only to grab a raspberry chip ice cream when the weather is warm!
The newest and sleekest of the dining halls, the Baker Dining Commons are attached to Campus North and seat all of the eight houses in North. It has the most diverse salad bar and serves up a great Thanksgiving Feast during the holidays in November. It also reputedly has the best tea selection on campus. Along with Cathey, Baker serves you Capannari Ice Cream in a cone or a cup (Bartlett-goers get ice cream sandwiches instead).
Remodeled from a gymnasium, Bartlett—which caters to Snell-Hitchcock and houses in Max P—was once considered the “worst dining hall” on campus (and the subject of a rather controversial Maroon article). However, it’s entered a Renaissance period of sorts under the direction of Bon Appétit: It is now home to a reliable taco bar with a sizeable guacamole tub. Bartlett’s packed and high-ceiling hall can be overwhelming, but its window tables are great for those who want more privacy. Its cookies and pizza, which are always kept under warm lights, also rival the other dining halls.
If you’ve ever wanted the experience of eating in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, the house tables in Cathey Dining Commons (referred to by many as “South”) are where you want to go. The go-to dining hall for Granville-Grossman, B-J, and I-House residents, Cathey also has a free-seating area affectionately termed “the Fishbowl” for its see-through glass exterior. Cathey is also the only dining hall on campus with a pasta station (serving multiple sauces, including pesto). Make sure to get in line early to avoid the wait!