The Best Coffee and Takeout in Princeton

Having spent five years as a Princeton undergrad (I took a gap year during the pandemic), I consider myself somewhat of an expert on where to grab a quick bite or cup of coffee. Please enjoy my list of favorites!

Coffee Spots

Sakrid Coffee Roasters

Located just across from Rocky College at 20 Nassau Street, Sakrid is a popular place for students to study or meet up for a great coffee. Its nitro cold brew on draft is especially excellent, as are its cinnamon lattes!

Interior of a coffee shop with light wood floor, high top tables, a bar with stools against the window and floral chandeliers

Rojos Roastery

Rojos is a small-batch, artisan coffee shop located in Palmer Square. It is devoted to maintaining relationships with independent producers, encouraging sustainable, smaller farming practices. Although it has limited seating space, its coffee is fantastic!

Exterior of Rojo's Coffee, shingled building with a rounded bay window

Coffee Club: New College West (pictured) and Prospect Avenue

The Coffee Club has two locations on campus: one in Campus Club on Prospect Avenue, and a second in New College West. With the goal of providing an inclusive space and excellent drinks, Coffee Club is run by students; baristas are often classmates and friends! 

Coffee shop counter with loft above it, light wood railing and paper lantern chandelier

Small World

Small World is a very popular coffee shop on Witherspoon Street, and many students would recommend it above all other coffee places in town as quintessentially Princeton (t-shirts and stickers are commonly spotted on campus). With lots of seating, it is a great place to meet friends and professors.

Exterior of Small World Coffee with a bench, floral planters, red lacquer paint and "Small World Coffee" awning


Less exciting but definitely worth mentioning is the Starbucks located on Nassau Street just opposite FitzRandolph Gate, the official entrance onto Princeton’s upper campus. Always a convenient option for a caffeine boost or a treat!

Exterior of Nassau Street Starbuck, tudor style building with green "Starbucks Coffee" lettering




Takeout food market that features breakfast sandwiches, hot premade specials, salads, all kinds of sandwiches and wraps, bakery items, and snacks.

Exterior of Olives, white building with black and purple "Olives" awning


Great thin-crust, organize pizza with various toppings and gluten free options.

Exterior of Jules Thin Crust, red brick building with white shutters and trim, a Jules Thin Crust sign and red awning

Princeton Soup and Sandwich

Underrated takeout–outstanding soup and sandwiches!!

Exterior of Princeton Soup & Sandwich, white building with black trim, black "Princeton Soup & Sandwich" awning, and black metal chairs and tables with orange seat cushions

Playa Bowls

Morning booster or afternoon treat–bowls and smoothies of all kinds.

Exterior of Playa Bowl, red brick building with white window trim and black letters reading "Play Bowls"

Maruichi Japanese Market

Opened March 2023, Japanese market and deli with great sushi takeout, produce, and specialty items.

Exterior of Maruichi, white and brick building with double doors and sign above the doors

A Week in DiningPoints

Like most other college students, I am always appreciative of (and searching for) opportunities to eat for free.

This is where Princeton DiningPoints come in.

The DiningPoints initiative was launched in September of 2022 as a way to encourage community among Princeton students, as well as between campus and the surrounding community, without having to worry about spending money out of pocket. The initiative grants all students on the unlimited dining plan 150 DiningPoints at the start of each semester (the equivalent of $150), and any points that are not used during the fall semester roll over into the spring semester.

These points can be used at a wide variety of dining locations both on and off campus, and they are the reason that I made it through some of the busiest times of the fall semester. During reading period, the promise of a hot chocolate from Small World Coffee at the end of each day was all the fuel I needed.

As a love letter and thank you note to this initiative, I present to you, dear reader, a week in my life told through DiningPoints.


Photo of Small World hot chocolate with Blair Arch in background.

Since I try to structure my schedule so that I have no classes on Fridays, I normally use this day of the week to get ahead on a lot of my work to have a more relaxed rest of the weekend. After spending a few hours in Firestone Library, I decided to get myself a cup of Small World hot chocolate to warm up and relax for a bit before meeting up with my roommate for dinner.


Photo of Junbi coffee on a library table alongside student work.

On Sunday after eating brunch, my friend and I decided to treat ourselves to drinks from Junbi during our work session. Since Junbi is so close to the Princeton Public Library, we chose to do some work there for a change of scenery. 


Photo of Tico's juice and sushi roll with SPIA building in background.

Thursdays are my busiest day of the week, with four back-to-back classes leaving me a very short window available for lunch. I decided to grab a bottle of Tico's juice and a sushi roll to-go from Frist Food Gallery. Although I had to eat somewhat quickly, I took the time to eat outside of my next class and call a friend from back home. 

Although I normally try to space out my use of DiningPoints a bit more, I felt fine using them in this way this week since I had some left over from last semester. There is a lot of freedom in the way you distribute your use of points: some of my friends had used them all up within the first month of the fall semester, while one of my friends still had 120 left by December. No matter how you use them, DiningPoints offer opportunities to connect with friends, take breaks, and treat yourself for all the hard work you accomplish.

Visiting the Princeton Farmers' Market

New Jersey is known as the Garden State, and you truly appreciate how the state earned its nickname when visiting a summer farmers' market. The abundance of fresh produce and flowers harvested just several miles from campus is astounding. Grab your tote bag and sunhat as I take you on a tour of the vendors at the weekly Princeton Farmers' Market, open at the Dinky train station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Thursday through November.

Two white tents with customers lined up beneath inspecting produce and flowers for sale

Our first stops at the market are the produce booths to stock up on fruits and vegetables.

The offerings from the multiple produce vendors, including Chickadee Farms and Terhune Orchards, change weekly depending on what is in season. Several of my June favorites are the strawberries, kale, and lettuce. July is when the market really shines, as the peaches, plums, blueberries, tomatoes, beets, cucumbers, and summer squash are ready.

a table with beets with leafy green stems attached

After getting the produce essentials, it's time to find some decor to spruce up your dorm room or apartment. There are several vendors, including Longview Flower Farm, who sell a variety of cut flowers arranged in artful bouquets. I think that the July sunflowers would make a cheery statement centerpiece on a dining room table.

A variety of bouquets for sale under the white tent of Longview Flower Farm

Next up are the specialty vendors. Davidson Exotic Mushrooms sells, you guessed it, a wide variety of mushroom types, while Pickle Licious sells traditional pickles (of course) in addition to pickles on a stick (not my favorite, but must be appealing to others) and olives.

A table covered with a gingham-print tablecloth and cardboard pint containers full of various mushrooms on top, beneath the white tent of Davidson Exotic Mushrooms
A table covered with a black tablecloth and plastic containers containing pickles, beneath the white tent of Pickle Licious


Following these unique booths are several stops for prepared foods, like fresh-baked bread from Lost Bread Co., granola from the Granola Bar, and soups from the Soupeteer. There are also several vendors selling hot empanadas.

A vendor laughing as a customer departs with a paper bag from the Lost Bread Co. booth

To round out your shopping trip and add some pomp to your cooking and dining, you can select among different olive wood serving spoons and cutting boards from Mediterranean Delicacy. A more affordable option to bring the Mediterranean home with you, though, might be to purchase one of their olive oils instead.

Wood cutting boards and serving spoons arranged on a black tablecloth beneath a white tent

Lastly, Barking Good Bakery sells treats for four-legged friends. If you know any dog owners in Princeton, you could pick up some gourmet desserts for their pets here.

Smiling vendor in green shirt standing at table covered in green tablecloth with paper bags of dog treats arranged on top

This concludes the market tour! I'll load my finds into my bike basket and pedal back to my apartment. Visiting the market is a great way to take advantage of living in the Garden State during the summer.


Did You Say Free Food?

The other day, I was writing my Spanish homework in my room when my roommate, Jose, who was taking a nap, woke up suddenly. He then looked at the screen of his phone and quickly got up from his bed, letting out a sigh that denoted his distress:

Late meal is almost over, he said nervously as he rushed out of the room.

Confused, I stared at him from over my computer. I never understood his obsession with late meal. Late meal is a term used to describe an option offered by Campus Dining to students enrolled in the meal plan. Essentially, each student has access to two $8 credits: one for late lunch and another for late dinner. Technically, it’s meant for students who miss regular dining hours in the cafeterias because of classes or meetings. Late meal prevents them from starving. However, the way my roommate religiously got late meal seemed unusual (or so I thought) and left me deeply puzzled. For some context, Frist (where late meal is served) is located around 12 minutes away from Forbes (our Res College). Yet, he would sometimes purposely skip dining hall meals to go to Frist, braving the cold winter night. Worse: sometimes he would first eat at Forbes, and later, go for doubles at late meal! Seriously, why so much dedication? That day, I decided to elucidate that mystery and ask him point-blank what was up with him after he had gotten his meal.

Jose came back one hour later. I didn't even let him unwrap his chicken quesadilla and fries: I instantly bombarded him with the question that had been tormenting me to the point that I had been unable to focus on my assignment.

Why do you go through so much trouble for late meal? I asked.

He stared back at me, deeply offended by my question. "How dare you?" his face flushed with indignation. He asked as though he was too obfuscated to even utter a word.  My question seemed to have troubled him to his core. It was 50 degrees inside yet he was sweating profusely. He stared at me a little longer, trying to figure out if I was serious and whether I deserved an answer. He took off his coat while I stood still, waiting impatiently for his answer. Finally, he enlightened me on the foundation of his obsession.

That night, he unraveled the mystery of his love for late meal. At that time, everything seemed to come together. It all made sense. 

Jose first confided in me that he was often not hungry during the usual opening hours of the cafeterias so he preferred to wait until late meal, when he was sure he would be starving. Additionally, the consistency of Frist's menu assured him he would like what he ordered. He also had more choices. Whether he got a quesadilla, a burger, sushi, chicken tenders, fries or onion rings… he knew he would never be disappointed. He would sometimes be pleasantly surprised with a new addition to the menu: spring rolls, dumplings or pizza. Some days, when he just wanted to snack or grab something to take home for the night to help him push through his intense two o'clock reading sessions, he would only grab a bag of chips, chocolate chip cookies and a muffin. If that day he felt like eating healthily, he would grab a box of green grapes and one fresh banana. As long as the total was under 8 dollars: he could have them all. For free! Finally, and perhaps the main reason for his obsession, was that late meal was a unique opportunity to socialize.  Frist is already the center of student life at Princeton.  On a normal day, you find student groups promoting their dance shows, aspiring engineers working on P-sets together, Philosophy majors conversing about the meaning of life or Econ majors playing table tennis or billiards... etc. Add food to the combo and you have the exciting, vibrant and engaging environment of late meal. For Jose, late meal is one of the best things about Princeton!


Students hanging out in Frist South Lawn after lunch late meal.

After that conversation, I never again saw late meal the same way. My life truly changed. Forever. And my eating schedule as well!

How to Research a University

While preparing for university applications and alumni interviews, I wanted to find out more about what the schools I applied to were really like. Now that I have attended Princeton for a semester, I hope I can share with you some of the things you may want to look out for in your research as well as some resources you can use to learn about student life.

Obviously, your first stop should be either the University website or the admission website.


Screenshot of homepage of Princeton University website

Here, you can browse the tabs that catch your attention and allow interesting links to lead you on a trail. For example, I noted the concentrations (majors) and certificates (minors) that interested me, perused the research interests of professors in the molecular biology department and checked out the social media pages of extracurricular activities and student groups such as Triple 8 Dance Company (where you can now find an introduction of me!) and Manna Christian Fellowship. At the time, I got so excited that I noted down 25 activities I would be interested in participating in. As a vegan, I also looked for more information on the dining halls and found this guide written by the Greening Dining Club to be a wealth of information. We also have a student blog on being a vegan at Princeton.


Photos of the residential dining halls: Butler College, Center for Jewish Life, First College, Forbes College, Graduate College, Mathey College, Rockefeller, Whitman College

To learn more about the astounding breadth of past, current, and new classes, head to the Office of the Registrar. It was here that I first found MOL460: Diseases in Children: Causes, Costs, and Choices in January 2020, and I still can’t wait for the opportunity to take this class in the future.


Screenshot of the course description of Diseases in Children: Causes, Costs, and Choices

Another useful resource is what you’ve already found: the admissions blog! The blogs provided me with stories that put color and faces to the information on the website. There are also 13 current students who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have, whether you are a prospective student, an anxious or curious applicant, or a deferred or admitted student. Please don’t be afraid to reach out by email! I wish I did when I was in your shoes, even if just to hear more about what college life is like.

Princeton also has an incredible student-run daily newspaper, the Daily Princetonian, also referred to as the ‘Prince’, where you can get an inside scoop on what is happening in the Princeton community. I turn to the ‘Prince’ for University news, opinions on current topics, and funny cartoons. In true New York Times-style, the ‘Prince’ also features a crossword, podcasts, photos, and videos.

For some more insider information, you can head to YouTube to see the beautiful buildings, numerous libraries, and various styles of dorms, as well as hear more about classes and what students do for fun. The University also makes a Year in Review - this year’s features the bonfire we had in celebration of the football team beating both Yale and Harvard - and provides more information on our Nobel Prize winners.

Don’t hesitate to chat with friends, family, and your high school counselor about your college plans - you might be surprised to find they have a friend who attended Princeton and would be more than happy to speak with you about their experience. I also learned a lot from asking my alumna interviewer about her time here.

Finally, you can take advantage of social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook to find people in your area affiliated with the University or message someone who studied in a field that interests you.

Happy researching!

Best Apps for Princetonians

Princetonians have developed many apps and websites to make the student life experience better. Here’s a roundup of some of the best apps all Princetonians should have.


TigerMenus provides a simplified way to look at the menus at every dining hall. We have six amazing dining halls on campus, five associated with a residential college, as well as the kosher dining hall in the Center for Jewish Life. The dining halls all have unique, rotating menu options that this app allows you to check. I pick my meal destination based on which dining hall has the best menu while still being in a convenient location. Because it’s summer, only one dining hall is open, but here’s a preview of what a traditional menu looks like.

The menu for Whitman College


ReCal offers a user-friendly way to plan out your class schedule each semester. You can save different schedules to compare them and figure out which you like best. You can also export your class schedule directly to Google Calendar.

Naomi's fall 2020 schedule


TigerPath also allows you to plan your schedule for all four years at once instead of just one semester. It also checks how far along you are in fulfilling general education distribution requirements and the requirements specific to your concentration.

Naomi's four year plan on TigerPath

Student Room Guide

Student Room Guide includes floor plans for every dorm building so you can learn about the layout of your room and building. It also allows you to search for a room that might interest you for room draw by filtering by building, number of people, square feet and whether it’s substance-free or not.

Map of campus in the Room Guide app


TigerSnatch is a brand new app that allows students to get notifications when a spot opens up in a class that used to be full. It’s often hard to get a spot in some of the more popular classes on campus, but hopefully this app will make it easier to check if there’s an opportunity to enroll as other students drop the class.

Home page of TigerSnatch. It says: With TigerSnatch, Princeton Tigers can "subscribe" to full courses and sections and get notified via email when a spot frees up, saving time and stress during course enrollment.

The following are some apps made by people other than students that are also super helpful.

Speed Queen

Speed Queen allows you to check which washers and dryers are in use at any given time. It can also send notifications when your wash cycle is done.

Bloomberg basement laundry room availability on Speed Queen


TigerSafe has a lot of helpful features to keep students safe on campus. For the COVID-19 pandemic, the app links to our daily symptom check and the page where we scan our testing kits. It has a feature that allows you to share your location in real-time with a friend if you’re walking somewhere alone. TigerSafe also has information on what to do if you get locked out of your dorm.

Home page of TigerSafe ap

There are of course many more apps made by Princeton students and beyond, this is only a small list. To explore other helpful apps by Princetonians, check out TigerApps, a student-run organization that maintains and supports student-developed web applications.

The Do's and Don'ts of First-Year Life

By now, many members of the Great Class of 2025 are excitedly planning out their first-year fall.  Although planning for a new chapter in your life is certainly exciting, there is a lot of information out there about Princeton University and trying to memorize it all is impossible.  Tiger Bloggers, Patrice and Grady,  hope that this post will put some of your anxieties to rest, by letting you know what you do and don’t need to know, from current Princeton students.

Before arriving... by Patrice McGivney

Do: Think about what you’ll bring to campus.

Consider what you will want on hand in your college dorm room, what you have room to take with you and what you can purchase once you get here.  There’s lots of sample dorm room packing lists all across the Internet, and a post by fellow blogger Naomi Hess, so I won’t repeat anything here. If you live very far from Princeton, be sure to consider differences in climate and environment. This post I made earlier will hopefully help you out! 

Don’t: Plan out all four years.

It might be tempting to plan out your next four years in advance, but to get the most out of the college experience, you’ll want to be open to new ideas.  Many students discover a concentration they never would have considered in high school, take up a new sport or hobby, or find an unexpected employment opportunity during their time here.  You’ll also have plenty of faculty, staff and peer advisers to help you plan once you get here.  

Do: Spend time with friends and family.

Especially if you’re moving far away, your time might be limited with good friends from high school and your family once you’re a college student.  Make the most of your summer, whatever that looks like for you, and take plenty of pictures to hang up in your dorm room to remind you of your loved ones.  

Don’t: Be scared!

The transition to college is a big one, and it can be nerve-racking.  But Princeton is a wonderful and welcoming community, and you’ll do amazing things here!  

When you’re here... by Grady Trexler

Do: Try all the different dining halls.

There are six dining halls at Princeton: four residential, a graduate dining hall and the Center for Jewish Life. For the first few weeks of the semester, I just ate at Wilcox, which was closest to my dorm, but I quickly learned to try other options. Each dining hall has a different vibe, and some nights, I’m just in the mood for a Whitman dinner.

Don’t: Ask other students if they’re also first-years.

This was more embarrassing than I expected it to be — you meet someone new, you think they look just as confused as you are, so you ask them the dreaded, “Are you a first year, too?” only for them to tell you that they are a senior. Mortifying for everyone involved. Try “What's your class year?” instead.

Do: Form study groups for your more difficult classes.

This was something I didn’t do a lot in high school, preferring to get my work done alone, but I quickly felt out of my depth in some of my harder classes. The earlier you can form a study group with your peers, the better.

Don’t: Walk to the library without your computer.

A companion piece of advice — don’t get all the way to the library and realize your laptop is back at your dorm (or, for that matter, your notebook, your pens, etc.)

Don’t: Get locked out of your room.

At Princeton, you carry a “prox” everywhere you go — a student ID card which accesses buildings (including your dorm) and holds your meal swipes. Don’t leave this inside your dorm room or you, like me, may find yourself locked out of your room on a 30 degree Fahrenheit night in February, having to trek down to Public Safety to get a temporary card.

Well, there you have it — our nine do’s and don’ts for your first semester. Are we experts? Not at all. But here are just a few things we’ve learned!


Being a Vegan at Princeton

If you are like me, you might be feeling a bit worried about what the dining experience is going to be like when you arrive at Princeton. As someone who is both vegan and can be just a “little” bit picky about the food I eat, I wondered if there was going to be anything at all I liked to eat in the dining hall and what I was going to do if there was nothing I could or wanted to eat.

Luckily, I quickly found that the dining experience at Princeton was very accommodating of all dietary restrictions and preferences. When it wasn’t, there were easy alternatives to make sure I still had yummy foods to keep myself nourished and happy during my time at Princeton. While nobody will claim that the dining halls are a Michelin three-star, gourmet experience, in a non-Covid year, the diversity of food offered in the dining halls was impressive. For first year students, there are five different dining halls to pick from, with each catering to different dietary restrictions and preferences in different ways. For example, while the Butler/First dining hall is known for its delicious vegan salad bar, the RoMa (Rocky/Mathey) dining hall consistently has vegan pizza. Moreover, the Center for Jewish Life dining hall, which serves all Kosher food, serves vegetarian-only food options three to four days a week.

Moreover, if you ever find yourself in a dining hall that is not quite able to accommodate your dietary requirements or tastes, the dining staff are open to suggestions and looking to help you find a meal that will meet your needs, even if it has to be specially prepared. In addition, if you are looking for a specific type of food that you want to be stocked in the dining hall long term, it is easy to request. Not every request can be met, but the fact that the staff is willing to listen matters. So, instead of being constantly worried about whether or not I would be able to eat in the dining hall or if this would get in the way of my making new friends, eating at Princeton has often been a place where I was able to have delicious, fun and social meals. 

Despite all of this, there were still times when I felt like the food in the dining hall didn’t quite work out or where I just preferred to grab a quick bite on my own. I recommend having some staples in your room — the fixings for peanut butter and jelly, some cereal and milk, maybe some protein bars. Especially if you are a picky eater, it is simple and easy to have some dietary “back-ups” to have on hand . . . just in case the Princeton food doesn’t taste quite right on a given day. Outside of this, there are also plenty of delicious restaurants in town if you are looking for a special treat. With this in mind, there is no reason at all to feel worried about the food at Princeton — it will be another great element of your four amazing years at the university.

7 Princeton Life Hacks

There’s a hack for literally anything these days, thanks to TikTok. But did you know that Princeton has its own set of life hacks? Here are my top 7 hacks to #thrive at Princeton and never miss out on free food or an elite study spot. 

  • The Creative Writing Department (CWR): It has its very own Keurig on the 6th floor of New South. Technically it’s supposed to be for CWR students and faculty, but POV: you’re about to go to your writing seminar on the A floor of New South and you’re running on 5 hours of sleep. A hot brew of Vermont Country Blend is just an elevator ride away…
  • Lewis Center for the Arts (LCA): Hot take, but also a life-changing hack, LCA is the most insta-worthy spot on campus for your 'gram. Nassau Hall and Blair Arch are mainstream, but LCA’s architecture is unparalleled for photo backdrops. Try the outdoor staircase that faces WaWa (a local convenience store) -- it won’t disappoint. 

photo in front of the lewis center for the arts

  • Murray Dodge: free cookies, enough said. This semi-underground café is your go-to spot for a sweet treat, any time of day. When you get that 10-minute break during your 3-hour seminar in McCosh, head over to Murray Dodge where cookies are warm, fresh and delish.
  • B Floor of Firestone Library: walk straight off the elevator, past the rows of computers, past the desks on your left and then you’ll see a glass door on your right. Open the door and never look back. Okay, I’m being dramatic, but for real-- this two-table room on the B Floor is amazing, especially when you and your friends get it all to yourselves. The overlook deck in the Trustee Room is soooo overrated.  

B Floor study room

  • Shopping for lawnparties and formals do’s and don’ts: DO buy that cute top for your spring fashion, DON’T buy that outfit for lawnparties (a bi-annual concert for students), formals or semis. Because there are only a few trendy clothing stores nearby, odds are if you buy an outfit at one of these places for an upcoming campus event, you’ll see that same outfit on five other students. Instead, trade clothes with your roomies and friends, or head over to Quakerbridge Mall (

semi formals

  • Dance tryouts: They are a must, whether you’re the next Maddie Ziegler or you’re still trying to figure out the Renegade TikTok dance. Each semester, dance groups on campus hold tryouts and anyone can come. My friend and I tried out just for fun, and we got to learn a combo, perform it (embarrassingly, but points for effort), and have a dance sesh afterwards with everyone there. It is probably one of my best memories at Princeton, so 10/10 would recommend. And in case you’re wondering: no, we did not make the team.
  • Forbes dining hall: It may only bask in glory on Sunday brunch (chocolate fountain, yes please!), but it also comes alive at night. Whether or not you’ll actually get work done here is debatable, but it’s definitely a fun late-night study spot to meet up with friends. And WaWa is across the street, so you can treat yourself to mac & cheese whenever you want.

With these insider tips, you’ll be a pro the minute you step foot on campus. Good luck!

Center of Community

One of the biggest changes for me when I came to college was adjusting to eating on the Campus Dining plan. In high school, I ate breakfast at the same time each day in my kitchen before going to school, lunch when the bell rang at school, and dinner at 6:00 each evening with my parents; once I arrived at Princeton, I realized that not only would my diet change, but I’d have to introduce new flexibility into the timing of my meals.

Princeton made the transition about as easy as possible. The dining halls keep good hours: pre-COVID, breakfast was open from 7:30-11 a.m., lunch was open from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and dinner from 5-8 p.m. On the weekends, instead of breakfast and lunch hours, brunch was from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (although one dining hall offered early morning breakfast). And with the unlimited meal plan, you could swipe in as many times as you wanted: I remember going to breakfast many mornings to get oatmeal before my 9:00 a.m. class (one of the few offered — most start at 10 a.m. or later!) and then again to make my own waffle after the class concluded.

If your schedule demanded that you couldn’t make any particular mealtime, Campus Dining offers a (extremely popular) back-up plan called Late Meal. Available to all students on unlimited meal plans, Late Meal happened twice a day, from 2:30-3:45 p.m. and again from 8:30-10 p.m. Students got one ‘swipe’ for each Late Meal, which you could spend on prepackaged snacks like Snapple drinks or Doritos or on hot grill items like quesadillas, specialty hamburgers, or tenders and fries. Even when I didn’t miss lunch or dinner, I very frequently attended Late Meal, even if only to pick up some snacks to stash away for later.

Campus Dining is perhaps at the center of community on campus for students. Eating meals in the dining hall with friends new and old is often a welcome escape from homework, and meals you’d intend to last for 20 minutes often stretched into hours as new friends squeezed at your table. Late Meal was perhaps the most popular spot to congregate for underclass students; gathering to catch up with friends over a hot slice of pizza and a soda was often a way for me to relax after class.

You’ll notice a lot of this is in the past tense — COVID-19 protocols on campus have dramatically changed the way dining operates at Princeton. To protect the health and safety of students and staff at the University, options in the dining hall have been reduced, hours shortened and Late Meal temporarily eliminated. Still, Campus Dining and its wonderful staff are working tirelessly to create opportunities for students to enjoy meals on campus, and have worked to make seating in the dining halls available for students at each meal. As with many things during this time, Princeton’s not the same, but the University is striving to preserve the meaning in our most important experiences.

Five members of Campus Dining standing behind countertops with food on top