Campus Spotlight, Student Life

Scouting out the best areas to eat on campus

With some time to go before terrasse season starts and eating outside becomes viable again, it’s important to know the comfortable indoor places to eat on campus. COVID-19 measures, including social distancing and mask mandates, have made the simple act of eating lunch an arduous process. The McGill Tribune visited some of the designated indoor eating areas at downtown campus to help alleviate meal-time stress.

Redpath

The basement of the Redpath library is one of the most popular eating spaces on campus, even prior to the pandemic. It does have some advantages, including being in the library, having various food options, and housing a variety of vending machines. However, it can get crowded and noisy, especially during peak hours. The lineups at Redpath Café and the stress of finding a table can eat up most of the time you were hoping to spend on your meal. The constant influx of people and the large crowds might also be a bit jarring for those worried about catching COVID-19. 

Education

Although the Education building, tucked away near the McTavish Reservoir, might be too long a trek for some, those who don’t mind the uphill climb on icy sidewalks will be rewarded with a pleasant eating experience. Even at peak hours, there are usually plenty of tables and seats available. There are large windows, microwaves in the basement, group and solo seating spaces, and even some occasional live piano. Here you can also find the Education Café, a modest eaterie with plenty of options, including some weather-appropriate soups and grilled cheese. 

McConnell

Hidden behind Dispatch coffee, the McConnell cafeteria is easy to miss. At lunch time, the space can feel pretty cramped and it gets near impossible to find a single seat, never mind trying to find one for a friend. Even accessing the microwaves requires some pushing and shoving. However, if you’re strapped for food, the McConnell Café offers plenty of options and typically speedy service. 

Burnside

The small eating area in the Burnside basement might be great for quick bites, especially because of its direct outdoor access and convenient location on campus, but the heavy foot traffic and lack of natural lighting aren’t ideal for a lengthy lunch. In contrast to the building’s cold architecture, the Soupe Café has an array of warm soups to keep you toasty during the subzero temperatures. 

Flex Spaces 

Another option is flex spaces, classrooms which are free at designated times for eating. The main advantage of these designated areas is their location––chances are, there’s probably a flex space in or near one of your classrooms, making them practical for sneaking a quick bite before or after your class. Popular lecture hall rooms like Leacock 132, Arts W-120, and Stewart Biology S1/3 become flex spaces when there are no classes. 

Honourable Mentions There are many more eating spaces scattered across campus that, though imperfect, may be more convenient or suited to your needs. The first floor of Trottier has a designated area for eating, although the Trottier Café has unfortunately been closed since the beginning of the pandemic. The Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry building has a small eating area on the second floor, but it’s quite a trek up the hill and is really only practical for those who have a class in the building. The Ferrier student lounge is a quiet, but small, eating space with cushy couches, tall tables, and microwaves.

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