Campus Dining

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5 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: I love the campus food! I mean yeah, month to month they'll run the same schedule, but they do mix it up for holidays and such. Our vegan bar is really good, too! My personal favorite from it is the Asian Noodle Bowl. It's spicy and warm! I also love our desserts.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: I wish the dining hall more ethnic food options. There is a vegan bar, vegetarian options but not any ethnic foods except on holidays like MLK Day or Cinco de Mayo.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Commons has a pretty wide variety of food and has some great food. With that being said, it can sometimes be a hit or miss and be repetitive. There is a vegan bar as well. The Den is a later night option for food with a decent variety to choose from as well.

5 College Freshman

Campus Dining: We have the best meal plan in the country. Essentially we don't have one. Everyone has the same meal plan: unlimited swipes and, once you swipe in, unlimited food. Everything is unlimited. Basically you swipe in to prove you're a student and for no other reason. This would be awesome anyway, but it's made better by the fact that our food is really good also. Late night dining is limited to the Den, which is super cheap, open really late, and has stuff like hamburgers and grilled cheese. Bates students also like to order in Thai occasionally, which for some reason is really good in Lewiston.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 60th
    Best Cafeteria Variety
  • 65th
    Healthiest Dining Options
  • 74th
    Best Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly Options
  • 80th
    Best Quality Food
  • 94th
    Best Ethnic/Kosher Options

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Jessie Sawyer
Farmington, CT
English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a Spanish minor
View all previous student authors

One distinguishing factor about Bates dining is that there is only one dining hall. The College has always had a familial sense of its community, so the students feel strongly about only having one dining hall. It’s almost a given that you’ll bump into someone you know in Commons, since everybody is concentrated in one place. While the menu might seem to get old after going to the same place every day, Dining Services works hard to bring a lot of variety to each meal. New Commons, which opened in spring of 2008, has expanded the dining staff’s range even more. Bates has a large vegetarian and vegan population, and Dining Services certainly caters to them. There is a vegan bar that is half the dining hall in length, as opposed to ice-cream cart size, and at least one vegan dessert is offered at every meal. There is a brick oven station where pizza is served almost daily. Students can select from two hot foods lines: the grill and the euro station. The salad bar and deli are open for lunch and dinner. Bates is very good about informing the public where they get their food from and what ingredients are in each dish, avoiding complications with allergies, although there is the occasional mislabel of whether a dish is vegetarian or vegan.

The only disadvantage is that even with the larger dining hall, it is still difficult to find seats at noon and 6 p.m. However, there usually is space upstairs, although that means getting a workout climbing up and down the steep staircase every time you forget a fork or want to get more food. The Napkin Board—a place where students can leave comments, complaints, and suggestions—ensures that students actually have a lot of say in what Commons serves, and it isn’t unusual to see an item appear in the dining hall only a short time after students jot it down. An anonymous responder writes witty responses to students’ requests, adding to the light-hearted humor of the average Batesie. Years ago marked The Gatorade Wars, when students continuously requested Gatorade, and Commons consistently denied them. Eventually, the democratic process won, and Powerade machines were added to the dining hall. Dining at Bates is generally excellent; however, there is only one meal plan. Students have unlimited meals, which can be a big advantage if you stop by Commons six times a day for coffee but is also frustrating for students who only eat one or two meals in the dining hall a day. And it doesn’t help with the Freshman 15 either. Meals over breaks are not always included, so students have to pay for each individual meal at a high price. On the whole, though, Bates Dining Services is outstanding, especially considering how small the school is.


Facts & Statistics

Meal Plan Available?
Average Meals/Week
Freshman Meal Plan Required?
Student Favorites
The Den
24-Hour Dining
Off-Campus Places to Use Flex Money
Special Options
The student-run coffeehouse, the Ronj, brings a drinks and desserts cart to study areas in Pettengill hall during exam weeks. Most events at Bates have hot drinks and cookies provided; in fact, events from concerts to academic discussions will advertise free chai and desserts on their posters. Several different clubs on campus sponsor meals catered by Bates Dining Services, where students can eat in smaller areas and talk about shared interests.
Did You Know?
  • Commons provides an online menu for every meal. Particular favorites include grilled cheese, chicken crispitos, chicken patties on Saturdays, and name-your-own omelets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The new waffle makers are also a breakfast hit.
  • There is a clambake every fall at Popham Beach, serving lobster for only $7.
  • Bates Dining Services organizes an "Adventures in Dining" sequence every Wednesday, featuring themes such as Mardi Gras, however, the event is not as big as it was in the old dining hall. During exams and Winter Carnival, Dining Services hosts late- night breakfasts and junk food nights.
  • Bates Dining Services is part of the Farm-to-College program and buys many products directly from local farmers, some of who are Bates alumni. Bates received a sizeable donation in 2008 for campus cuisine-as a result, the school has launched an initiative called "Bates Contemplates Food."

Dining Halls & Campus RestaurantsWhat's This?

Location: New Commons
Food: Self-serve cafeteria with deli, hot meals, pasta bar, pizza, salad bar, vegan bar, waffle-makers
Hours: Monday-Saturday 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.-8 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
The Den
Location: Chase Hall
Food: Burgers, pizza, sandwiches
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:45 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Milt's Place
Location: New Commons
Food: Burgers, fried foods, wings
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Friday 11 a.m.-2 a.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-2 a.m., Sunday 12 p.m.-1 a.m.

Student Polls

Rate campus dining on the following topics    Based on 16 responses

Very poor
  • Convenient hours
  • Ethnic/kosher options
  • Healthy/organic options
  • Late-night options
  • Quality
  • Value
  • Variety/number of options
  • Vegetarian/vegan options
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