You walk into a large buffet sized dining area overwhelmed with all of the food that you see. As you walk through the main room of the buffet you see an elegant fruit display. Alongside the fruit, there are yogurts with granola on the side. As you keep walking you hear the sizzle of burgers and grilled chicken on a grill. The scent reminds you of a smoky barbecue on the Fourth of July.
Off of the main room is the aroma of an Italian restaurant. There are several pizzas and flat-breads fresh out of the oven. On the other side is a deli with plenty of meats to order you own sandwiches and wraps. Lastly, you see a breathtaking presentation of all the deserts that you can think of. If you are wondering where you can experience this, it is right on campus. Just find Lawrence Dining Hall.
As a fourth year student I have kept a meal plan every year and have eaten at Lawrence almost every day. I have picked up some tips and hacks along the way that you should try out as well.
Try your best to strategize when to go
Lawrence is open Monday through Friday from 7:30AM – 8:00PM and 10:00AM – 7:00PM on Saturday and Sunday.
During the week, Lawrence serves breakfast from 7:30AM – 10:30AM, lunch from 10:30AM – 2:30PM, and lastly dinner is from 4:30PM – 8PM. It reminds open for a “lite lunch” from 2:30PM-4:30PM.
Full list of hours on the Lawrence Dining Hall website.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours are when all stations of the dining hall are open with plenty of food. The “lite lunch” time has a much smaller selection of food because most of the stations are closed while they are getting cleaned and prepared for dinner hours. So if you can, always avoid going to the lite lunch hours.
Lawrence becomes swamped with hungry college students every time a class gets out. For example, when the MWF 11AM class ends at 11:50AM, hundreds walk to Lawrence for a noon time lunch. This leads to super long lines, trouble finding a seat, and maybe Lawrence running short on food. The way to beat this is to go while classes are being held. Let’s use the MWF 11AM – 11:50AM class time as an example again. While the majority of students are in class at this time, it is a perfect time to go. If you go in a window of 11:15AM to 11:40AM, you will find that Lawrence is almost empty and you will likely not have to wait in any lines for food. This works for almost any class time; go in the middle of the hour while most students are in class to avoid any lines.
Use two salad bowls to shake up your salad
When I make a salad I put almost everything in the bowl. I would then try to mix it with my dressing and croutons and half of it will fall all over the table. Eventually, I got sick of this happening and grabbed two bowls. Once I sat down, I placed the second bowl on top of the other. The bowls are the same exact size which makes this an easy solution. I then was able to shake my salad as much as I wanted to while keeping it all in the bowl.
C-Y-O Chicken Wrap
The deli offers wraps with spreads, cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, but mostly only have lunch meat to select as the protein. The most popular protein in a wrap is chicken, which Lawrence rarely offers. So you just have to get creative. This process begins by going to the deli and asking for a wrap. Ask for whatever cheese, spreads, and toppings you prefer. Simply just ask for no meat in the wrap. Lastly, the most important step, make sure to ask them to not cut it! Since it is uncut you can unwrap it yourself and go to the grill and ask for chicken. Take the chicken with your unfinished wrap, cut the chicken how you like, and place it in the wrap. Add whatever else you may want such as, hot sauce, ranch, honey mustard, and wrap it back up. Now you have your own chicken wrap to enjoy!
Half chocolate, half whole
Everyone loves a cold glass of chocolate milk. The only negative thing about chocolate milk is the amount of sugar added from the chocolate. I once saw a friend, who is an avid milk drinker just like myself, put half regular milk in the cup and the other half chocolate milk. He suggested that I give it a try. It was fantastic! This half and half ratio allows you to enjoy the sweet, chocolatey flavor while only half the amount of sugar. You can see below the glass on the right is the half and half while the glass on the left is only chocolate. It taste almost exactly the same and has more of an authentic taste because it is half regular milk as well.
The burger flip
Once you get your burger from the grill, you place it on the table. Then you grab your silverware, your drinks, more food, and whatever else you may need. Depending on how long you take, by the time you go to actually eat your burger, the thin bottom bun is very soggy and hard to hold. A bottom half of a bun is always much more thin than the top of a bun. The top bun has more volume and thickness. Therefore if you flip the burger upside down on the top bun while gathering everything else, neither side of the bun gets soggy which makes it easier to eat.
There is nothing quite like walking into Lawrence after a long day of school work. You can see my love and appreciation for the wonderful food at Lawrence Dining Hall. Hopefully, with these tips and hacks you could enhance your dining experience as well!