Dining halls are an underrated piece of the social experience at NIU. They are located by their respective residence halls off the same name and are convenient for students who stay on campus.
While there are other places to eat, such as Qdoba at the Holmes Student Center or The Grill at Huskie Den, this rating will consist of the dining halls located at the residence halls.
The great thing about having options to choose from is that students can contrast and compare. It has even become somewhat of an unspoken competition amongst students in terms of seeing which dining hall is the best.
For this rating scale, the dining halls were judged on a scale of one to five, with one being the lowest rating and five being the highest.
Neptune Dining: 4/5
Neptune Dining is located on the second floor of Neptune Central. Neptune Dining matches the cozy feeling of the fireplace lounge, which is located right under the dining hall on the first floor of Neptune Central. Neptune Dining is buffet-style and the menu changes daily, however there are popular favorite foods like pizza and fries daily at a separate station. They have a salad bar with lots of customization options for students.
“I like this dining hall, but sometimes it’s a hit or miss depending on what they are serving at dinner; I would rate it a four on a good day,” said Aaron Barnes, a sophomore and undecided major. “They are dependable when you are really hungry or want something after class.”
New Hall Dining: 3.5/5
New Hall is the newest of the residence halls. New Hall Dining also offers a buffet-style dining experience and is open an hour later than Neptune Dining. New Hall is located between the New Hall West and East buildings and is closer to the Grant and Stevenson towers.
“They have nice breakfast options. Other than that the quality of dinner and lunch varies from time to time,” said Eric Moore, a sophomore fine arts major. “It can be crowded at times during dinner hours, I guess because it’s kind of closer to Stevenson and Grant which don’t have the buffet style. Overall I’d give the New Hall a 3.5 rating.”
Stevenson Retail Dining Center: 4/5
This dining center is located at the heart of Stevenson and is the connective tissue between the residence towers. It is not buffet-style; Instead, students use a meal exchange in which they select an entrée, side and beverage. If students choose to, they can also use Huskie Bucks or Dining Dollars for other items. The options here consist of a sub sandwich station, pizzeria and grill. The downfall of Stevenson is that it is not open during the weekends, which can be inconvenient to students who stay on campus.
“My first semester here I didn’t really eat at Stevenson dining a lot, but when I tried it I thought it was really good,” said Maryianya Jackson, a first-year student and undecided major. “I don’t like how they are closed on the weekends but overall I’d rate it a four.”
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