Freshman Survival Guide: Om Nom Nom

This post is part of the Freshman Survival Guide series. Visit the FSG category to see new posts as I add them this summer.

I could tell you about all the great food that WashU has, but that’s not going to help you. It’s just going to make you even more anxious to get to campus! So I’ll hold off on talking about the amazing, delicious, grade-A, and exotic culinary creations, okay?

Instead, I’ll lay down a few tips for eating on and around campus. (If you do want to read about great food, read this and this and this for a taste of what WashU food is like.)

On Campus

1. Avoiding the lines

Both Holmes Lounge and Whispers attract ridiculously long lines on the hour. The only place that has longer lines is the campus bookstore during textbook week.

You don’t want to stand in line for 30 minutes, which is what will happen to you if you go to Holmes right after you get out of class. It’s usually better to go a quarter to the hour or a quarter after, give or take 5 minutes. Then you can be in and out of there in 10-15 minutes. Much better.

Whispers is usually more manageable– anytime is a good time as long as it’s not right after class. Anyway, the Whispers line moves faster than the Holmes line, so you still might be able to grab a snack in between classes.

2.  Ibby’s Takeout

If you’re craving something from Ibby’s but there are no open reservations, you can do takeout. They’ll tell you only 4 items per order, but don’t let that stop you if you and a group of friends are trying to get food. Have everyone call separately. Speaking of reservations, you’re going to need one if you want to splurge on meal points near the end of the semester. Since everyone is trying to do the same, it can be booked solid for a week in advance or more. Make your reservations early!

3. Ice cream

There are ice cream machines on the third floor of the DUC. Also in the basement of Mallinckrodt. Yum.

4. Ice cream, part 2

The freezer in your mini-fridge won’t keep ice cream frozen, sorry.  I know this from experience 🙁

5. Online ordering

I’ve never tried this because the options are kind of limited, but you can order food online to save time.

6. Brunch on Alumni Weekend

On the weekends, Bear’s Den does brunch from 10:00 am to 2 pm. It’s pretty great, but for the most part it’s the same every week. On Alumni Weekend though, when everyone comes back for reunions, they change it up quite a bit. My favorite part was the endless chocolate-covered strawberries. I may or may not have stockpiled them in a cup to take back to my dorm…

7. Einstein Bros Bagels

There’s one on campus, in the Olin Business School. Apparently, if you go there right before they close they’ll give as many free bagels as you could ever want. Observe: https://twitter.com/WUSTLDera/status/304404054778445825

Off Campus

1. U-City Grill is not what it sounds like

There’s a restaurant on the Loop called U-City Grill that I kept hearing about. I decided to try it. Expecting a large burger diner, I walked into a teeny Korean restaurant. Needless to say, I had to go elsewhere to satisfy my burger and fries craving.

I’ve been told their food is really good though, so you should definitely try it. I’m just telling you now so you don’t make the same mistake I made.

2. Crown Candy Kitchen

I just found out about this wonderland yesterday. Just look at this place! If I don’t go there before I graduate, I’m taking St. Louis for granted.

On a similar note, there are a lot of great eating places you won’t know about if you don’t explore or ask around. I didn’t explore that much my freshman year, and I regret that. Explore your city!

3. The Hill and St. Louis Hills are not the same

The Hill is a neighborhood known for its many great Italian restaurants. Not to be confused with the St. Louis Hills, which also has at least one Italian restaurant.  So if you’re trying to get to The Hill, make sure you end up in The Hill and not St. Louis Hills! St. Louis Hills, on the other hand, is home to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. WashU events sometimes cater Ted Drewes, but it’s just not the same. You need to go there in person to experience the various flavors, sundaes, and toppings.  Take a walk around the neighborhood while you’re there. I went there during Thanksgiving break, and the houses and fall leaves  were really pretty.

4. Home Plate

I know I’ve mentioned Home Plate before, but this is a a post specifically about food, so I guess I’ll mention it again. Home Plate is a lot of fun. You can sign up solo or with your friends, and you’ll be assigned to a local family. Your host family will pick you up from campus several times during the school year and bring you to their house for a nice home-cooked meal and some family entertainment.

5. Foods Native to St. Louis

Gooey butter cake

On campus it’s called gooey butter bar, but outside of WashU the proper term is gooey butter cake. No matter where it’s from, it’s very tasty, and it’s topped with powdered sugar, and — okay, I can’t talk about this anymore. I’m getting hungry.

Provel cheese

Some people love it. Some people hate it. Many restaurants in St. Louis use it, most notably IMO’s Pizza. What is it? A processed, smokey-flavored white cheese that’s a mix of chedder, swiss, and provolone. I think it tastes good, but you’ll have to try it for yourself and see!

Toasted ravioli

By toasted, they mean breaded and deep-fried. Like most things that are deep-fried, it’s delicious.

Other foods that originated in St. Louis:
7 Up soda
cotton candy (introduced during the St. Louis 1904 World Fair)
peanut butter (George Washington Carver is crediting for inventing numerous peanut products that he didn’t invent. Peanut butter, invented by C.H. Sumner and introduced during the 1904 World Fair, is one one them.)

6. St. Louis Bread Co.

You know Panera Bread? Well, it originated in St. Louis! In the St. Louis metropolitan area they still operate under their original name, St. Louis Bread Company.


That concludes my post on food. Bon Appétit! Ha see it’s funny because Bon Appétit is the company that caters for WashU Dining Services.