Eating is the universal coping mechanism for the trials and tribulations of the hectic finals season. During exam time we only have time to eat, sleep, study and maybe socialize if we’ve rationed enough free time in our schedules; the flexibility of eating allows us to kill two birds with one stone. Finding that sweet spot around campus to eat is just as important as finding your ideal study space—you just need to be willing to test the waters.
If you’re like me, Mac and Lower don’t quite offer the comfortable vibe that makes you want to spend any more time than you have to there. Eat, drink and get out is the best formula. If you care to linger, use these insider tips from student employees to navigate three of the most talked about and well-liked dining halls on campus: Addie's, Hillside and the Rat.
The Loft at Addie's
Chances are good that you’ve had a run in with Addie's at some point in your career here at Boston College. Whether finding yourself in line for the hundredth or so time—knowing the menu better than you will ever understand chemistry—or wondering from the bottom floor of Lower what the upstairs holds in store, you’ve heard the whispers of Addie's delicious food.
Boasting a mix of menu items including fresh made salads, veggie burgers, flatbread pizzas, soups and ice cream it’s hard to find a time when Addie’s isn’t filled with eager customers, but the wait is always worth it.
Addie's still has its staples. While the wait can be long, many find the tomato mozzarella flatbread to be well worth the wait, and the combination of a salad topped with a veggie burger can be spotted all over Lower. What else lies just beyond the counter at Addie's?
Solina Jean-Louis, MCAS '18, who has been working at Addie's since her freshman year offered up her aid to fighting off the exhaustion that comes with finals: “You can get flavor shots or espresso shots in your milkshakes. So around finals if you don’t want coffee but you want to be woken up, you can get an espresso shot.” While it may sometimes cost a bit extra, Jean-Louis emphasized the importance of simply asking for minor customizations at Addie's. As the popular phrase spells it out, the worst thing the employees can say is no. Sometimes, customer and employee recommendations even find their way on to the menu.
A lot meets the eye when you reach the bottom of the Million Dollar Stairs. There’s Alumni, Conte, the Plex and just off to the left carrying the smell of fried chips—a.k.a. "frips"—is Hillside Café. Hillside is no secret. Its popularity surrounds its unique food options including the aptly-named New England Classic panini, much talked about frips and full coffee bar. A closer look, however, reveals there is so much more to Lower Campus’ buzzing bungalow.
The ins and outs of Hillside are known to many, but employee Sarah Zhukovin, MCAS '18, offers her own take, proposing that the array of sauces, smoothies available at the coffee bar and Fig and Cheese panini—often overlooked by the power house that is the Classic—are the hidden gems of the café.
The sauces, including popular choices like herb cream cheese, pesto mayo and a hot sauce blue cheese combination, are great for dipping frips and adding to sandwiches.
Zhukovin’s last plug was a simple one that can never be heard too much: “Always get frips and a pickle. It’s not a full sandwich experience at Hillside if you don’t get frips and a pickle.”
Don’t take the Rat’s name too literally. The dining hall located in the basement of Lyons is a far cry from the association its name may bring. Entering the great open room that hosts this popular dining location may be a tad overwhelming, but the environment is very low key. Ready-made food is available in the form of soups, sandwiches, muffins and rich mac and cheese on Thursdays (the perfect food to bring along with you to your next class).
With plentiful options, the Rat can intimidate, but Isaiah Rawlinson, MCAS '18, lent himself to those who may need a hand navigating its choices.
“The freshest food is the pre-made sandwiches,” said Rawlinson, who cited the pre-made tomato mozzarella sandwich as his meal of choice, “because they’re made by the staff that morning.”
By taking a look around, making use of their panini presses and keeping an eye out for the changing menu you might just find your new favorite corner of BC at the Rat.
All three dining halls have a high number of student employees. The students work hard, prepare a whole lot of food and genuinely care about the food they are giving the customer.
Jean-Louis emphasizes that she loves her job, even though it’s hectic: “It’s just really fun, and I always look forward to coming to work.”
The three dining halls offer their own twist on the BC dining experience. Mac and Lower, while the most convenient and physically large dining halls, don’t have the diversified food found at Addie's, the Rat and Hillside. Do yourself a favor this finals week and take a break from hitting the books to, if you haven’t already, explore these BC diamonds in the rough.