Campus Dining

Merced, CA
Tuition (in-state)
$35,948 ($13,070)
Admission Difficulty
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2 College Junior

Campus Dining: Needs more options and it doesn't open early or stay open late enough.

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Senior

Campus Dining: Students who live on campus don't realize how expensive the food is because they have already pre-paid their meal plan when paying for room and board, but for off-campus students, buying overpriced low-quality food isn't worth it.

3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Small campus, one dining common, let the race begin to grab your food when they open.

4 College Junior

Campus Dining: New hall. Meal plan works. You pay as you go. Flex dollars can be used all around campus. they started having local Rest. bring food carts and they take Flex dollars. They also are staying open later this last semester and that was nice. They have a system in place so you can take food back to your dorm in microwavable green containres. There are several different food stations to choose from daily.

2 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: It is not the best.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 740th
    Best Ethnic/Kosher Options
  • 1067th
    Healthiest Dining Options
  • 1118th
    Best Quality Food
  • 1262nd
    Best Late-Night Dining Options
  • 1318th
    Best Cafeteria Variety

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Harini Kompella
Santa Clarita, California
Human Biology
View all previous student authors

On-campus dining really depends on how picky a student is when it comes to food. There is only one main dining hall at UCM due to the small size of the campus, so there are not many other on-campus places to go to for food, except the library café, known as the Lantern, and the bookstore, which only sells snacks. However, the dining hall does offer some variety with its different food stations, some of which include vegetarian options: the Blue Plate (serving home-cooked options), Caliente, Paisano’s, Kung Pow, Grill, and the salad bar. Even though students appreciate the convenience of the dining hall, many complain of getting bored eating the same food repeatedly and wish there were more options. Students also complain about the dining hall hours of service, which pack students in at restricted times and aren't necessarily flexible with student weekend schedules.

Overall, though, dining at UCM is bearable, with the number of options being limited, but fair. Buying food at the dining commons is most convenient for on-campus residents, since their housing plan covers food. On the other hand, off-campus students tend to bring their own lunches, since they can make unique, cheaper meals at home, suited to their personal tastes. The price of the dining commons has been known to go up every semester, which shocks off-campus residents without a meal plan when they see the prices. The price change does not necessarily stop them from purchasing food items, though. Luckily, for students far away from home, the chefs do attempt to provide home-cooked options, catered to everyone’s needs, including those of vegetarians. The food is also healthier compared to other, larger universities, since there are not any fast food chains on campus.

Facts & Statistics

Freshman Meal Plan Required?
If you live on campus, which is common for freshmen to do (considering freshmen get guaranteed housing), you pay for a meal plan as part of your housing. On-campus student/residents get $1,157 per semester and how much they spend depends on the individual prices for the items they choose to buy. It does not make a difference what kind of housing arrangement students have-every on-campus resident gets the same declining meal plan regardless. The money can transfer over from fall semester to spring semester, but not from one academic year to another (i.e., not spring semester to the following fall semester after summer).
Student Favorites: Campus Dining Hall
Yablokoff Wallace Dining Center (more commonly known as the DC)
Student Favorites: Campus Restaurant/Vendor
  • Lantern Café (library)
  • Yablokoff Wallace Dining Center
Student Favorites: Breakfast Food on Campus
  • Breakfast burrito (i.e., ham)
  • Breakfast croissant
  • Eggs/sausage/bread/orange juice combo
Student Favorites: Lunch/Dinner Entrée on Campus
  • Asian noodle bowl
  • Blue Plate specials (home-cooked options)
  • Country fried steak
  • Mexican (from Caliente station)
  • Pasta served at Blue Plate station
  • Pizza
Student Favorites: Late-night Snack on Campus
  • Cereal
  • Grill items (i.e., french fries)
  • Kettle chips
24-Hour Dining
Off-Campus Places to Use Flex Money
Special Options
The dining commons tries to be considerate of those who are vegetarian by offering daily vegetarian soups, a fruit selection, and fresh vegetables. The Blue Plate section of the DC also frequently offers vegetarian entrées, including eggplant Parmesan, vegetarian lasagna, pasta, and even curries. You can also get veggie burgers at the grill. The Lantern Café of the library also offers veggie sandwiches and pastas. However, it gets harder to find something to eat if you're looking for vegan or kosher options.
Did You Know?
If you submit a recipe to the dining commons (DC) and it becomes popular amongst the students, it will be added to the menu under any (appropriate) name you want.

Dining Halls & Campus RestaurantsWhat's This?

Yablokoff Wallace Dining Center
Location: Center of campus, in between Valley Terraces and Sierra Terraces
Food: Pizza/grilled sandwiches (Paisano's), salad bar, "fast food" grill, Asian (Kung Pow), Mexican (Caliente), more traditional home-cooked meals (Blue Plate)
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Student Polls

Rate campus dining on the following topics    Based on 73 responses

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

What are the best food options on campus?    Based on 5 responses

  • 50% Not many but the Food Carts that come Mon.-Fri.
  • 17% The Lantern?\
  • 17% None. The food choices get old quickly.
  • 17% The Dining Commons
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