As the second semester comes to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on all the changes Miami University has seen in dining this year. It all came with the new food supplier, Aramark. Throughout the year, the school has seen new restaurants in Armstrong Student Center as well as new options in the markets, but the biggest changes had to have been in the dining halls.
Aramark completely changed the dining hall menus and food choices. As a first-year, I unfortunately can’t say if these changes were better than the food served last year, but I have seen the dining halls change tremendously over the course of the year, which is why I would like to rank all of Miami’s dining halls and what they have to offer.
4. Martin Dining Commons
Starting off not-so strong — despite being in the same building as a gym — Martin finds itself in last place for a multitude of reasons.
This dining hall has very few options, and its buffet section is rather small. The only consistency found in this dining hall is the promise of pizza and some sort of potato being served daily.
Out of all the dining halls, this one has changed the least, if at all, throughout the year. I do have to give a special shoutout to their biscuit and bagel sandwiches served for breakfast on the weekends because they are always delicious.
3. Western Dining Hall
This choice was tough, but unfortunately Western finds itself second to worst. Western is very big and has plenty of options, but they are consistently disappointing. Not only this, but I’ve been served more pieces of raw chicken than any other dining hall.
Just before winter break, Western saw the addition of a Greek food station including gyros and Greek salad, which was very exciting at first. Unfortunately, this is the dining hall closest to my dorm, and after about three days I was very sick of the Greek food.
Western is also known for its soft serve machine that took an entire semester to open and simply sat there and teased all of us in the first semester.
I do like Western’s allergens section, but the uncooked chicken loses Western too many points to be placed higher than third.
2. Maplestreet Station
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This choice may come as a shock to many as Maple is widely known as the best dining hall on campus, but I personally think it is overhyped. Yes, it is as big as a mall food court and has the options of one as well, but I don’t think any of the food is memorable.
I do have to say, I love Maple’s omelet station, but I am rarely up early enough to actually get one.
Maple is also known for its pasta station, where the chef heats up specially made pans of noodles, sauce and the student’s choice of toppings in a little pan and then serves it hot and ready to eat. This is easily the best pasta on campus, but that does come with the price of waiting in a line.
I can’t leave out Maple’s orange chicken (see what I mean about a lot of options?) found in the Chinese station, but due to its popularity the chicken is often missing from the buffet options.
1. Garden Commons
First place is awarded to the one and only Garden Commons. Not only does Garden consistently have good food, it offers a spacious and calm environment for students to go in between classes or just for a good meal.
I’ve rarely seen Garden crowded or chaotic, most likely because it isn’t central to any specific dorm, being right next to Farmer School of Business.
The first semester at Garden saw a Chinese food station similar to the stir fry served at Maple, offering various chicken or stir fry options. This station was replaced in the second semester for an Indian station.
This Indian food is easily the best thing about Garden. Offering rice, several sauces such as Tikka Masala and a few choices of meat, which I must say compared to the grilled chicken from Western or Maple, this chicken is restaurant quality and very edible.
I was disappointed to only have discovered this station at the end of the semester as it’s easily the best food a dining hall offers. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend making a trip over to Garden for a bowl of chicken, rice and Tikka Masala.
Overall, this year Aramark has added many new and some international options to students’ dining hall choices, which is a great addition to a college student’s diet. I’m excited to see what is to come next year, and hopefully Western will learn to cook its chicken longer by then.