Richer variety of restaurants needed in Williamsburg area

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COURTESY PHOTO / WM.EDU

William and Mary: It’s time.

I have made it no secret that I have affection for many aspects of the College of William and Mary’s dining halls. I happily frequent the Caf, the dining hall nearest to me, every day, and I stuff myself with its varieties of pasta, robust salads and newly added Mediterranean bowls. In nearly all aspects, it seems like Sodexo has upped its culinary game this year. That being said, my eyes have been opened wide. I have seen the light, and I need more.

During to my time off due to Hurricane Florence, I had the pleasure of visiting my friend who attends New York University. As we walked around the school’s city-based “campus,” I was floored by the food options surrounding me. After much deliberation, we ended up eating at a hole-in-the-wall dumpling place around the block from my friend’s residence hall. The food was cheap, authentic and delicious, a combination that is nearly impossible to find in the Williamsburg area.

While the food was spectacular, I understand why this style is impossible to find around here, since our location is next to a heavily sanitized and monetized tourist town. However, that’s not the missing food style I’m complaining about. The missing food I am complaining about has two of those three qualities, being distinctly cheap and delicious. What I’m complaining about is the lack of a Chik-fil-A here at the College, while NYU has its own on-campus option.

For those unaware, there are 14 Chick-fil-A locations in the entirety of the state of New York. One of those 14 is at NYU, and it is already open and accepting the campus dining dollars.

That’s right. Some way, somehow, a school already surrounded by dining options, with almost no open real estate close by, located in a state nearly devoid of Chick-fil-A locations, managed to open an on-campus, meal-plan-supported Chick-fil-A, while the College has been without one for quite a few years now.

Yes, a Chick-fil-A is opening soon, meaning this issue in particular is being resolved. Regardless, that is not the point. While we are just now getting a restaurant our region of the country is known for, other schools with an already established bevy of dining options are broadening their horizons with choices beyond typical fare, providing their students with food they probably could not even eat at home. NYU opening a Chick-fil-A is like us opening a Shake Shack. How absurd does that sound based on our current campus dining environment?

NYU’s student population and campus size might be several times bigger than ours, but our smaller student population still deserves more options, and it’s not like it’s impossible to fit them in. While NYU somehow found a spot for a Chick-fil-A in crowded New York City, New York, we can barely even find a suitor for a completely empty Tribe Square, located right across the street from our campus.

I don’t necessarily need fast food. I just want more options in general, which seems like an extremely manageable problem to fix. We are light years behind other schools in this department, and I can’t imagine it would be too difficult to achieve considering everyone else’s successes. If they can make it happen while also dealing with prime Manhattan real estate prices, I think we can make it happen here.

Email Anthony Madalone at asmadalone@email.wm.edu.