Unlike students at other colleges and universities, 5Cers are spoiled with choices when deciding where to eat. While it might be daunting at first, the varied selection of dining halls ends up becoming one of the best perks of attending the Claremont Colleges. That being said, each dining hall has its own pros and cons with regards to food quality, location and atmosphere. So, before you use up that precious meal-swipe (which you can only use once each meal), here is a cursory review of each dining hall to aid you in your decision of where to eat.
Frank: Located in the south campus of Pomona (near the Pomona freshman dorms), a trip to Frank is quite the trek for most 5C students. That’s not to say that non-Pomona freshmen should ignore it completely, as it is the only dining hall that offers cuisine that is not typically found across the 5Cs (such as soul food-themed meals). Pomona freshmen will be eating at Frank most days whether they like it or not because Pomona’s south campus is so far from the other dining halls.
Frary: Located in the northeast corner of Pomona, Frary is known by many students as the “Hogwarts” dining hall. Its high-vaulted ceilings, dark wooden furniture and huge mural of Prometheus certainly set the scene and create a dining experience that is truly one of a kind. The food is pretty standard 5C fare, with some gems thrown in every once in a while. Recently, Frary has begun offering fresh, oven baked cookies that give Scripps a run for its money (sacrilege, I know) and its “burrito and quesadilla night” is probably the best Tex-Mex you will find on campus (just don’t expect Chipotle-quality burritos).
Oldenborg: The least popular dining hall – for good reason. Even though the food at the Claremont Colleges is generally at a high level (especially compared to cafeterias in other universities/high schools), Oldenborg’s food quality falls way below the norm. The unique thing about Oldenborg is that it only offers lunch, and you have to sit at foreign language tables where people converse in languages other than English (speaking English is definitely frowned upon). Pomona foreign language classes typically force you to eat there during the semester as a way to practice speaking in another language. Oldenborg is one dining hall to stay away from – unless you need to go there for a class.
Claremont McKenna College
Collins: Offering what can be best described as the most consistent food available to students, there typically isn’t anything mind-blowingly good at CMC’s Collins Dining Hall, but there is always something that you will enjoy. Collins is best known for its lunch offerings, such as “World Wok” and “Little Italy.” If you get there before (or after) the lunch rush, I definitely recommend getting these made-to-order offerings. The highlight of the year is far and away the famous Christmas dinner, with a live band and some of the best food you will get in the 5C dining halls. Unfortunately though, for other Claremont Colleges students, this is a CMC-only event.
Malott: Scripps’ Malott Dining Hall is known primarily for its lunches. If you enjoy fresh, make-your-own salads, you can’t go wrong by eating at Scripps. Students who are used to meals with fewer greens should stay away, but, for those who like a healthy lunch, this is the best place to eat. Dinners are usually on the disappointing side, especially if you like your dinners to be filling. That being said, Scripps offers the best weekly steak dinner at the 5Cs, and its fresh, oven-baked cookies are almost a reason to go to Scripps’ dinners alone. Scripps’ made-to-order brunch smoothies are also one of the most popular drinks offered across the dining halls – just beware of the lines.
McConnell: If you wake up for it, Pitzer’s breakfast is by far the best in the Claremont Colleges. Offering fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies, and the best omelets and pastries you will find on campus, Pitzer breakfast makes waking up for those weekday morning classes manageable. It also is the only campus to offer a weekly “AM in the PM” dinner, which is a highlight for those who like eating omelets and pancakes in the evening. Desserts are also delicious, with a wide variety of fresh treats available at every meal.
Harvey Mudd College
Hoch-Shanahan: Last, but certainly not least, is Harvey Mudd’s Hoch-Shanahan Dining Hall. Whether its breakfast, lunch, dinner or brunch, you will generally be glad that you made the (long) walk to “The Hoch,” as it’s affectionately known on campus. Pasta night is extremely popular, but you will have to wait in line for sometimes up to 30 minutes to get your food. Friday night make-your-own pizza is a highlight, too, offering the only made-to-order, individual-sized pizzas at the 5Cs. If you have the time to walk there, you will (usually) not be disappointed.
One last tip: Bookmark Mike Maltese’s 5C Menu web app (http://aspc.pomona.edu/menu/). Updated daily with the latest menus, it allows you to compare dining hall menus on one, simple page. It is absolutely invaluable when deciding where to eat at the 5Cs.