The Good, The Bad and The Greasy of Campus Food


To guide you through Cornell’s “all-you-care-to-eat” meal-swipe dining halls, here is a rundown of the best and worst of Cornell’s dining options.


You will soon discover that Okenshield’s shares many characteristics with a boyfriend left over from high school: at times, convenient and a little boring, but tolerable because you think there aren’t any better options. You can disregard the little annoyances — instead of missed dates or bad breath, Okenshield’s offers goopy pasta and endless lines — and the relationship limps along. Okenshield’s will keep you coming back with hopes of stumbling upon the pad thai, gyros or popcorn shrimp that all make occasional surprise appearances. It’s the only meal-swipe dining hall on Central Campus, so there often isn’t much choice. But at least you’ll be able to cheer yourself up with a smile from Okenshield’s flamboyant and infallibly cheerful card-swiper, Happy Dave.

Best Bet: Spinach and artichoke dip, milkshakes.

Risley Dining

You’ll find no more dramatic dining venue than Risley’s great hall, under vaulted ceilings and the glow of Harry Potter-esque chandeliers. Food options are generally cafeteria-bland, in keeping with the high school-style food line. But the stir-fry bar and ample dessert table at least will remind you that you’re in college now, and you deserve superior sustenance.

Best Bet: Stir-fry, waffles.

Robert Purcell Marketplace Eatery

The Robert Purcell Com­munity Center offers the biggest dining hall on North Campus and swarms with freshmen every weeknight.  The enormous array of options will satisfy all diners, from picky eaters — who can resort to pizza or chicken nuggets –— to the more adventurous, who will enjoy sizzling stir-fry from the Mongolian grill. RPCC offers a diverse salad bar, waffle makers and enough sugary cereal to keep you bouncing off the walls all night with your new college pals. Sunday brunch is also a must-try with savory breakfast pizza and giant pancakes.

Best Bet: Mongo grill, pasta of the day.

Appel Commons

Appel is the only campus eatery with outdoor dining when the weather is cooperative, so enjoy it while you can! While many options in Appel are the same every day — pizza, salad, pasta — there is always a respectable number of other options, from turkey and potatoes to fresh-grilled burgers.

Best Bet: Pineapple cake, salad bar.

West Campus

Intrepid freshmen who venture down the slope into the land of upperclassmen will be rewarded with superior dining in a more homey setting. The dining rooms at Cook, Becker, Rose, Bethe and Keeton each have their own specialties to be discovered, including lots of international options. Addi­tionally, most dining rooms on West have panini makers, so you if nothing else pleases you, whip up a cheesy melt with ingredients selected from ample sandwich and salad bars.

Best Bet: Perogies at Cook, bibimbap at Bethe, fajitas at Keeton.

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