The Collegian
Monday, April 15, 2024

Some food for thought: D-Hall

Are you looking for a five-star dining experience? In search of a place that offers made-to-order eggs, gourmet waffles, all of the typical fixings, every kind of beverage you can think of and an omelet bar with a chef awaiting your order?

Many establishments in the city of Richmond offer such services, but the one I have in mind is surprisingly not in Carytown or Shockoe Bottom. In fact, it sits in the middle of a college campus.

University of Richmond's Heilman Dining Center (better known as D-Hall) offers a wide variety of delicious foods and is not limited to breakfast. Lunch and dinner include, but SURELY aren't limited to the following: made-to-order burgers and paninis, brick-oven pizza, made-to-order stir-fry, delicious vegetarian alternatives, grilled and fried meats and seafood, a fresh salad bar, pastas, abundant fruits and a dessert bar that can't be touched.

It's not just the food that makes our dining hall such an exquisite experience — the people play a huge role as well. The movers and shakers of D-Hall are always friendly, from the time you enter until you have finished your meal. It wouldn't be a normal day here at Richmond if the lovely ladies in the front lobby didn't greet you with pet names like "shugga," "sweetie" or "love" while swiping your SpiderCard.

And once you're in, as you walk past workers while getting your food, almost all of them give a warm smile or even a hello. Eventually, once they start seeing you more and more, and learn your face or even your name, they might even engage in routine small talk.

Way back when, when I first came to college (all of one year ago), I didn't expect to eat much more than average food, such as pizza and canned foods. Unfortunately, an average to less-than-average dining experience is the grim reality for other colleges in the Richmond area.

Two of my best friends attend Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University, and have complained numerous times about the food services at each college.

VCU's Shafer Court Dining Center is housed in a humungous building with big stairs and flashy lights, but it proves that all that glitters definitely isn't gold. I have eaten in Shafer before, and it's a hit-or-miss type of thing. Sometimes it's decent, and other times, it's lukewarm canned meats.

In addition, VCU's dining system is less cost-efficient for the student, as certain items are a-la-carte, with special items, such as seafood, requiring additional meal swipes.

Virginia State isn't much better. In fact, it's probably worse. My friend who attends VSU complains much more than my friend that goes to VCU. Apparently, Virginia State's Jones dining hall dishes out LEFTOVERS on a regular basis.

"Once in a while they will serve something actually decent to make you forget about the bad food they served the day before," my friend at VSU said.

And now, let's take this time to think about those less fortunate. All of the panini-less college students out there — these final words are for you. This is for those kids out there that can't start out their mornings with the bare necessities, like made-to-order omelets or end their evenings with chicken and shrimp stir-fry. You are in our thoughts. Stay strong, and just pretend you didn't eat yesterday's lukewarm canned ham tonight.

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