CULPA, this could be you but you’re playing.

John Jay: Using a swipe at John Jay is one of the worst decisions I’ve made at Columbia. I know people beg to differ on this point, but I am an experienced eater, am totally capable of critical thinking and deduction, and know the menu backwards and forwards (have eaten here every time something looks promising, have talked to various people about dining halls) and I am certain that in many cases John Jay did not deserve its status as what seems to be the most-photographed dining hall on campus.

In short, unless you have a taste for heavy plates and cutlery and hit-or-miss dining options, don’t go to this dining hall! And if you do, do not for a minute let anyone make you feel stupid for hoping that the sushi is as good as it looks on the website; it is a rookie mistake that isn’t a reflection on your intelligence, or a prognostic for your future, in any way.

All that’s to say—go eat at Hewitt instead of here—they also have great cookies and pastries.

Food distribution:

5% yogurt and cereal, 15% dessert, 5% bagel, 10% different kinds of eggs, 5% “sushi” 60% miscellaneous

JJ’s: This dining hall is exactly what it sounds like—jazzy snazzy dimmed lights, “cool kid” vibes, once even boasting a clearly experimental waffle mango jalapeño sandwich. Definitely not the worst hall out there, but it’s definitely not mind-blowing. Vanilla ice cream, for better or for worse. Dependable for the most part but will not usually blow you away like Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby or anything. It’s clear that this dining hall is doing its best and knows its hamburgers and pancakes well, but it’s certainly nothing inspiring. 

Food distribution:

70% burgers; 3% frozen yogurt, gummies, and croutons; 5% healthy options, 10% special orders, 2% mac ‘n cheese bites, 10% fries and chicken wings and sauce 

Ferris: During my entire food critic career as a student, Ferris was the first dining hall to make me enjoy campus food. At first, I did not expect much from dining halls, but it wasn’t until I saw the pizza options did I realize how dynamic school food could be—it seems like ideas for toppings are never shot down; instead, Ferris finds a way to make them work. 

Ferris really enjoys the process of cooking—there are semi-DIY omelette lines, pasta lines, salad lines, grilled cheese lines, and occasion poke lines where what you eat is helpful feedback as to what you should and shouldn’t mix together. I have great anecdotes about Ferris, whether it be about seeing the staff dancing in front of the dessert cases or the days Ferris had bao or the last breakfast at Ferris before COVID, and Ferris is without a doubt my favorite hall at Columbia.

Food distribution:

40% dessert, 10% salad, 10% pizza and garlic knots, 5% vegan, 15% breakfast/lunch/dinner mainline stuff, 20% carbs in various forms

John Jay food via Bwog Archives