Marketplace offers consistent, dependable dining to students amidst chaotic semester

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COURTESY PHOTO / WM.EDU

For those students arriving on the College of William and Mary’s stunning campus for the first time this fall, prepare yourselves. Over the next few weeks, you will be utterly and entirely inundated with advice, tips, life hacks, bits of wisdom and nuggets of knowledge from students just months older than you in well-intentioned but desperate displays of undergraduate hierarchy. 

In all the fray the next few weeks, you’ll likely learn of the best spots on campus to study, you’ll uncover the tastiest drinks at Swemroma’s (iced coffee with almond milk, no exceptions), and you’ll pursue (or avoid) classes and professors based on recommendations and harrowing horror stories alike. But lost in the haze of new discovery, you’ll grow hungry. When pangs of hangriness seize you, you’ll hastily think back to orientation and remember those weird meal swipes your orientation aides mentioned. 

Your beleaguered memory serves you well. Every freshman at the College has a certain number of meal swipes that they can use to eat at our three on-campus dining halls, but since I’m not walking backwards and regaling you with bad puns right now, it’s clear we aren’t on a campus tour. As such, I’ll spare you a lengthy chat about the intricacies of our dining system. What I will do is implore you to visit Marketplace, the College’s best dining hall, and make it your culinary place of residence for the next four years.

Marketplace occupies an otherwise unimpressive place in the first floor of Campus Center that more closely resembles an assisted living facility than an undergraduate dining hall. Don’t let the subdued interior decor turn you off. Inside Marketplace’s doors lies an oasis compared to the other dining establishments across campus — Sadler and the Caf — which are far less reliable options for the busy life of a college student.

Every day, Marketplace features rotating entrees and side dishes. However, my favorite part of the dining hall is not this variability but its consistency regarding other choices on the menu. I know that Marketplace will have a mozzarella caprese sandwich, a spinach salad with pickled beets and carrots, and a Granny Smith apple with my name on it every night of my college career should I desire it. As someone who values reliability, Marketplace’s well-established and well-prepared meals are a comfort blanket, and they’ve been an invaluable aspect of my past two years here (so long as I don’t consider the gargantuan amount of mozzarella cheese that I’ve consumed).

While Sadler and the Caf sometimes have wonderful meals, other days their offerings are remarkably lackluster. On challenging, long days here in the ‘burg, why waste a dinner catching up with friends eating subpar food? Why spend a relaxing lunch decrying inadequate pasta when you could march five minutes across Old Campus and get a trusty, tried-and-true sandwich? As a newly minted young adult, these options are yours to make, but to add to the cacophony of advice, I’ll say it upfront: just go to Marketplace.

Email Ethan Brown at ewbrown@email.wm.edu.