The ultimate ranking of every W&L dining option

From Mezzefeta to make-your-own flatbread, these venues will certainly satisfy a variety of cravings


Lilah Kimble

The iconic entrance to Dhall does not make up for its substandard food quality.

Ana Dorta

For a small school, Washington and Lee University is certainly not remiss of dining options where students can enjoy a variety of cuisines. As a self-proclaimed food connoisseur, I feel qualified to weigh in on an ever-persisting debate: Which Washington and Lee dining location offers the most delicious nourishment? Perhaps this ranking will also provide a much needed counsel to incoming freshmen about the value of saving a dinner swipe to use after 8 p.m.  

  1. The Tea House: This may be a rather unpopular take, but the Tea House is last in my personal ranking of dining options. While the Tea House does offer a variety of bubble teas, coffees and seasonal drinks, what it possesses in beverages it lacks in food options. Offering solely prepackaged sandwiches, the occasional baked good and granola bars, if students are looking to fill up on a meal before class, I suggest looking elsewhere. I also don’t believe that the drinks offered at the Tea House are all that different from those offered at Hillel and Coop.  


  1. D-hall: While D-hall certainly offers a wide range of options and boasts a unique feature in the fact that, after you swipe, the food is unlimited, the quality of the D-hall food is its fundamental shortcoming. Over the past several years, D-hall has improved its salad bar tremendously, now serving hummus, sweet potatoes and other toppings reminiscent of the toppings served at the CAVA we all wish existed in Lexington. However, if an unknowing freshman is to wander over to the hot line, they will ultimately be greeted with an off-putting, D-hall-esque take on what should instead just be simple grilled chicken. D-hall receives the sixth place vote, slightly redeeming itself with its celebratory dinners. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a Christmas-themed dessert bar.  


  1. Sorority Dining: In my opinion, sorority dining is an elevated version of the D-hall hot food line. One thing I appreciate about the meals offered by sorority dining is the variety. From the Mediterranean lunch that boasts arguably the best tzatziki you can find in Lexington, to my personal favorite, the barbecue dinner (who in their right mind doesn’t love pulled pork and mac and cheese?) there is diversity in the food you can savor at sorority dining. The quality of sorority dining, especially the quality of the meat offered, is also much better than the meat offered at D-hall.  


  1. Foodside: I’m now entering the portion of this ranking that is incredibly difficult to delineate. With the introduction of weekend açaí bowls to Foodside’s offerings, I feel inclined to put this option higher on the list. And I would, if they started offering açaí every day. However, I cannot ignore the very obvious reality of Foodside and the diverse, rotating cuisines that Foodside serves. Some of them simply are not palatable. While I could eat “Mezzefeta” and “Mexicoop” quite literally every day (and I do, when they’re being offered), the months where Foodside is occupied by the Masala or Harvest concepts, I could not be caught dead in the establishment. With this said, Foodside is an anomalous paradox: on the one hand, it boasts some of my favorite meals on campus, but, conversely, when I’m forced to consume Foodside during its “dark” months, I am usually left keeling over in stomach pain.  


  1. Hillel: Hillel is an absolutely delicious breakfast and lunch option. If Hillel expanded and started offering any sort of dinner option, I’m sure Hillel would climb the list. From refreshing smoothies to egg and cheese bagels that make the New Yorker in me question my bagel superiority complex, Hillel has something for everyone. The location of Hillel is incredibly convenient, and those who eat at Hillel can enjoy arguably one of the best study spots in warm weather with an open-air porch and optimal people-watching vistas. Sunday morning Hillel visits to share anecdotes about the weekend in lush booths is a Washington and Lee tradition in which I encourage every student to participate. Also notable about Hillel: I have yet to encounter someone who works at Hillel who doesn’t greet me with the sunniest of grins.  


  1. Fieldside: I am very partial to the food that Fieldside offers, specifically the “make-your-own” cauliflower flatbread. Fieldside serves a variety of different sandwiches, breakfast options, and most importantly, milkshakes. Most known for their avocado everything sandwich, Fieldside could benefit from offering a smoothie to pair with this sandwich that doesn’t induce a gag reflex the way that their “Green Goddess” smoothie seems to always prompt. I truly believe this is Fieldside’s only real shortcoming.  While the location of Fieldside is not optimal for those who don’t live in third year, the walk (or as I like to call it, the hike reminiscent of summiting the Himalayas) to Fieldside justifies indulging in their monthly special shakes or the best single food item on campus: the spinach and artichoke flatbread.  


  1. Coop: The thing that sets Coop apart from aforementioned dining options is the vibe that Coop exudes. Freshman year in particular, some of my fondest memories came from returning to Coop after a night at Windfall with a gaggle of new friends, eager to recap hilarious stories over far too many loaded fries. To put it simply, Coop is a Washington and Lee staple. And its appeal isn’t solely greasy food that probably tastes better at 1 a.m than it would at an appropriate hour. Coop offers delicious prepackaged salads, a unique falafel bar, the best grilled chicken on campus, a sandwich bar that isn’t really much different than D-hall’s, and the critically-acclaimed breakfast burrito. Students can even purchase Ben & Jerry’s from the Coop store when they need a little something to satisfy their sweet tooth. My only grievance is that Coop hasn’t brought back the pre-COVID-19 era yogurt bar. For a place that is so “Washington and Lee” in tradition, ambiance and association, it only feels right that Coop comes in at the number one spot.  


This list is, without a doubt, controversial. But in writing this, something about Washington and Lee dining options was made incredibly evident. Every dining option on campus boasts either a dish, an aura or a perk that makes it both unique and appealing to any hungry student.