It’s time to bring back our somewhat regular In Defense Of feature, where we uphold the hated, disgusted, and all-around avoided Columbia establishments. This week, food eater Josh Dillon leaves the Ferris omelet line to grab some yogurt and support Uni Café.
I don’t consider myself a foodie, food connoisseur, or even healthy. I’m a sophomore with 14 meals/week and my claim to fame is that I once ate a bowl of shredded Parmesan cheese for dinner. I regularly buy cookie dough to eat as a snack, and my latest cooking endeavor resulted in mixing barbecue sauce into instant mashed potatoes (which I made in the microwave). My inability to provide food for myself has made me well acquainted with fast food restaurants and cafés in Morningside Heights, and my favorite by far is Uni Café.
Uni Café might only have 2 stars on Yelp and it might have been shut down earlier this year for health violations, but goddammit I can’t help but love the place. It has none of the pretentiousness of Starbucks, it’s cheaper than any other cafe on campus, and its line moves faster than a humanities major trying to grab a seat in 209.
I’ll be the first to admit that Uni doesn’t have the best tasting food. Sometimes their pizza tastes like wheat bread covered in pasta sauce. But when did we become such food snobs that we are afraid of a little cardboard pizza? Living in New York City we have access to some of the most well crafted food in the world, but there is art even in a Domino’s breadstick. What really keeps me running back to this absurdly large café is their customer service. Every worker greets me with a smile and is willing to ask how my day is going (the Latina woman working on weekday mornings is one of the nicest you will ever meet, even after dealing with rude customers). They know my order, and usually start to make it before I even get to the counter. Go to Nussbaum for a bagel and you’ll be lucky if the cashier doesn’t break your credit card in half with her slamming it about.
Of course, the prices are another incentive to take the walk across Broadway. Uni bagels have the same price as the overrated Nussbaum and Absolute bagels, but their prices really shine with their cheap breakfast sandwiches. Hangover cures have never been more affordable or delicious.
Let’s leave the snobbery to secret societies and Harvard. If you’re after a friendly atmosphere and good, cheap food, Uni is the place for you.