Centennial Dining Hall is a Disgrace

Timothy Wilmot

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In one word the dining experience at Centennial Hall’s dining hall is atrocious. Other candidates that could just as easily have been used include “abysmal,” “horrendous,” or “pitiful.” In my first semester at the U of M I was been appalled by the food that was served and the manner in which it was served.

Although it is the only redeeming meal of the dining hall, breakfast at Centennial has had its fair share of nastiness. One day that remains salient in my case against the dining hall was the day of the runny French toast. My roommate and I, after a hard morning workout, were looking forward to a nutritious meal. We went with the French toast as it seemed to be the hardest to mess up. After all, all that the cook had to do was soak the bread in the egg-based mixture and cook it until golden brown. Not so hard right? Evidently that is one recipe that eludes our magnificent cooking staff. I got my French toast and some sausage links for some protein and went to sit down. When we sat at the table, my roommate and I noticed a mysterious fluid that was seemingly seeping from our French toast. Dismissing that notion as impossible we cut into our meals to satisfy our ravenous hunger only to quickly realize that our observation had only showed us the tip of the iceberg. Immediately after my knife sunk into the French toast the river of fluid flowed out of the undercooked bread almost as fast as my appetite left me. Disappointed with my choice I went to get a new meal and went on with my day unable to forget the dreadful display.

Although the French toast was a significant emotional trauma in my dining experience, it does not compare to the constant disappointment brought about by the dinner at Centennial. While I have yet to eat anything for dinner that was outright disgusting, there was no shortage of disappointment at dinner time. Want meat? Best go get that katana you have adorning the wall above your fireplace, because no ordinary knife will cut through that slab of vulcanized rubber. Fries? Better bring your own salt because the dining service seems to value health over the students’ enjoyment. But really, is anyone eating fries to be healthy? Pasta? Just walk away. I implore you. Walk away before you suffer through yet another severely underwhelming meal. And if you even consider the fish you might in all honesty need an appointment with a therapist as the smell alone should be enough to let you know not to go within a hundred feet of it. If gambling is truly illegal in Minnesota, then the Department of Public safety needs to terminate the high stakes game of chance that is Centen’s fish.

As if the potentially sickening breakfasts or the woeful dinners are not enough, Centennial Hall has the audacity to claim that they offer service all day. While they are open longer than any other dining hall that I know of, the selection of foods that they offer are limited to a sandwich or a salad for a large portion of the day. There have been countless occasions when I came back from class, famished from a long day of hitting the books. I went to the dining hall only to find that I had wasted one of my 11 weekly meal swipes on a salad bar with less than half of its normal fixings. I have also gone to breakfast several times around 10:00 A.M.- a time that I personally feel is a reasonable time for breakfast- only to find that I had again wasted a meal swipe, but this time on a fruit and yogurt bar. Quit the lazy, false advertising and start informing people of the hours at which they can actually get a decent meal.

Spending an exorbitant amount of money on tuition, room, and board really should include a far better meal plan than is given. Students need to remain well-nourished in order to function properly under the stress of rigorous course loads. If the U of M truly cares about its students or their long-term success, it needs to find ways to improve the dining halls for the residence halls. There is no reason why students should have to doubt the possibility of finding a healthy and edible meal every day.