Campus Food

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Campus Food


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5 College Junior

Campus Food: I love the food on campus. One place that you can use a food swipe at that many people dont know about is the River Room. it's fresh food that you see the workers make right in front of you, located in the IMU and then you can bring it to a table and continue studying.

3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Food: I scoff at this. I didn't mind the campus food mainly because it was way better than the food at my parents' house. Plus, getting access to way healthier food in abundance is nice. Sad, but true in my particular instance. I live off-campus now and miss the campus food, but it is quite expensive, considering it costs a student about $8 per meal on a meal plan and $10 per meal without the meal plan. I can eat for a month off of the cost of 10 meals and the lack of availability to take out/leave with leftovers, leaves me to believe that the dining could be way better.

3 College Freshman

Campus Food: The food is average at best

4 College Freshman

Campus Food: No matter where you go dorm food may be questionable, but they do a great job keeping them clean and you can see what you're getting before you decide. It would be nice to have healthier options but I do believe they try to offer something for everyone.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Food: Our campus offers so many different places to eat it's unbelievable. If you want to eat a variety of food quick and cheap you can use a meal swipe at any of the two dining halls. The amount of restaraunts downtown give you a huge variety to choose from. Sushi, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, you name it and it's within walking distance.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Dining at the University of Iowa is nothing for incoming students to get too excited about. The dining halls offer many different food choices, yet after a few weeks, the choices grow old, and you’ll be clamoring for some home cooking. Many students complain that the selection seems very narrow after the first few weeks, and they want different types of food. But take consolation in the fact that most students only have to eat in the dining halls for a year. The IMU also provides students a chance to get away from dorm food for a night or two. The only downfall is that you have to pay cash or Hawk Dollars for these meals—you can’t use your meal plan.

Unlike other major universities, there are very few halls at UI for students to use their meal plan. However, in the past few years, the University has redone Burge Dining Hall and added many satellite cafés all over campus. The food itself is better than almost every high school cafeteria, but it still tends to grow old after a while. The staff has about two weeks worth of differentiation in meals, but after that, they just begin to repeat. It’s a good idea to try your own combinations out of what is offered at the dining halls—you never know when you’re going to stumble across the next great sandwich.

Facts & Statistics

Meal Plan Available?
Average Meals/Week
Freshman Meal Plan Required?
All campus residents are required to purchase a meal plan.
Student Favorites
Places in IMU
24-Hour Dining
Off-Campus Places to Use Flex Money
Special Options
You can use your “Hawk Dollars,” which come with your meal plan, in many different locations around campus, such as the several convenience stores in residence halls or in the IMU. You can also use these dollars at the food carts around campus.
Did You Know?
The University of Iowa offers "Lunch with the Chefs," in which IMU's award-winning cooks create a themed lunch one Thursday during every month of the school year. Students, friends, and their visitors are welcome to join in on the feast, usually served in the Iowa Memorial Union from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., with seating on a first-come-first-serve basis. Admission is $7, or $6 for UI students with their school IDs. Both cash and University ID charges are accepted.

Dining Halls & Campus RestaurantsWhat's This?

Burge Market Place
Location: Burge Residence Hall
Food: American, pizza, sandwiches, wraps
Hours: Monday-Friday 6:45 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Location: Eckstein Medical Research Building, first floor
Food: Pastries, sandwiches, soups, Starbucks, sushi
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Filling Station
Location: Dental Science Building, first floor
Food: Salads, sandwiches, Seattle's Best coffee, snacks
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Food For Thought
Location: UI main library, first floor, south side
Food: Drinks, pre-made sandwiches, sushi
Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday 6 p.m.-11 p.m.
Hawkeye Express
Location: Burge and Hillcrest
Food: Quick meal options, sandwiches
Hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-12 a.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-12 a.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-12 a.m.
Hillcrest Market Place
Location: Hillcrest Residence Hall
Food: American, grill, international cuisine, salads, sandwiches, soup, waffles
Hours: Monday-Friday 6:45 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Java House
Location: Iowa Memorial Union, ground floor
Food: Fair-trade coffee, tea, pastries, smoothies
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 7 a.m.-12 a.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-12 a.m., Sunday 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Law Canteen
Location: Boyd Law Building
Food: Hot entrees, pastries, pre-made sandwiches, Seattle's Best coffee
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Lindquist Coffee Cart
Location: Lindquist Center, second floor
Food: Pre-made sandwiches, salads, snacks
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Mayflower Market
Location: Mayflower Residence Hall, first floor
Food: Groceries, smoothies
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-1 a.m., Friday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
Location: Medical Education Research Facility, first floor
Food: Smoothies, snacks, wraps
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Nightingale Café
Location: Nursing Building, first floor
Food: Baked goods, pre-made salads, sandwiches, snacks
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Oakdale Cafeteria
Location: Oakdale Hall
Food: Hot entrees, salad bar, sandwiches
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Pat's Diner
Location: Pappajohn Business Building, first floor
Food: Bakery, individual pizzas, sandwiches
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
River Room Café
Location: Iowa Memorial Union, first floor
Food: Deli, grill, hot line, Starbucks coffee
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 7 a.m.-12 a.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-12 a.m., Sunday 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Union Express
Location: University Services Building, first floor
Food: Hot sandwiches, salads, snacks
Hours: Monday-Friday 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Union Market
Location: Iowa Memorial Union
Food: Groceries, snacks
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 7 a.m.-12 a.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-12 a.m., Sunday 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Union Station Food Court
Location: Iowa Memorial Union, ground floor
Food: Grill, Pizza Hut, salad bar, sandwiches, sushi, tacos, wraps
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 7 a.m.-12 a.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-12 a.m., Sunday 7 a.m.-11 p.m.

Student Polls

What are the best food options on campus?    Based on 63 responses

  • 27% Downtown Iowa Restaurants
  • 26% Hillcrest
  • 17% River Room Cafe
  • 8% Chipotle
  • 7% Burge Dining Hall
  • 6% Pancheros
  • 4% Falbos
  • 2% The dorm food isn't inedible, but not great.
  • 1% Subway
  • 1% DP Dough
  • 1% Shorts

What are the worst food options on campus?    Based on 55 responses

  • 40% Burge
  • 10% Dining hall food is great, and still worst option
  • 9% Some local bar food can be dicey
  • 7% Pancheros
  • 7% Hillcrest
  • 6% Chipotle
  • 6% Pat's Diner
  • 3% Dining Hall
  • 2% Burge is gross

Rate campus dining on the following topics    Based on 147 responses

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

What are the worst things about the campus meal plan?    Based on 57 responses

  • 31% Not always the best food
  • 20% Expensive
  • 16% Too many meals in a plan
  • 15% Always the same things
  • 12% Hit-or-miss with selection
  • 4% Cafeteria Style
  • 2% Not enough healthy choices

What are the best things about the campus meal plan?    Based on 57 responses

  • 32% Don't have to worry about paying every time
  • 22% Easy to get to
  • 22% Offer a variety of foods
  • 9% Central location
  • 8% Convenience
  • 6% Healthy options
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