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52nd Best/Worst College Dining

My father has a saying that everything in the press is true, except those subjects about which you have personal knowledge. While the Daily Meal might rank Dartmouth the #52 best college for dining in American higher education, it is hard to find a Dartmouth student who is not angry at the meal plan diktat that the administration obliged an already profitable Dartmouth Dining Service to impose on students. Maybe we’re the 52nd worst dining in higher ed?

Daily Meal1.jpg

#52 Dartmouth College (Hanover, N.H.)

Cod steamed in soy ginger broth, baked eggplant with miso dressing, and steamed Jasmine rice. Sounds like a restaurant-quality fare, right? Nope, just dinner at Dartmouth, where vegetarian, vegan, halal, and kosher food are readily available. In fact, the college does all of the catering for the local synagogue.

Featuring guest chefs two or three times per term and hosting a community picnic at the beginning of the year, Dartmouth knows who its audience is. Dave Newlove, director of dining services, is proud of the service provided. “We work for the student,” he says of the 400-person staff that includes students and special needs employees.

Dartmouth has six main dining spots, and recently renovated one — Class of 1953 Commons — for a staggering $28 million. A gift from the class of 1953, the facility was originally built in 1927 and was ready for a makeover, according to Newlove.

Menu options include bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits; lemon-pepper salmon with roasted red potatoes and veggies; and artichoke and roasted pepper pizza. An online menu lists nutritional info, and an allergen filter allows students to customize the meal options to fit their needs.

How are rankings like this one determined anyways? Did these folks, whoever they are, talk to a single student, or even take the time do a search for “DDS” in The D? I doubt it. That said, while these rankings don’t mean much of anything in absolute terms, but they do contribute to the world’s overall perception of a school. The other Ivies placed as follows: #5 Cornell; #12 Harvard; #17 Princeton; #21 Yale; #22 Penn; #24 Columbia; #30 Brown.

Hmmm, maybe the Daily Meal folks did talk to someone in Hanover after all.

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