One of Binghamton University’s touted selling points during orientation is its diverse food options. Whether you want to change up your diet with some sushi or keep kosher, there are “allegedly” enough options for everyone. Here is a list of the best — and worst — BU has to offer from a seasoned college diner.
Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center: 7/10
Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center, more widely known as C4, is there for you through thick and thin. With a stocked salad bar, Kosher Korner, Halal section, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream fridge and a variety of snacks, you’re sure to find something to like. Keep it nutritious with some boiled, watery vegetables at Simple Servings or indulgent with milkshakes and fried mac and cheese bites at Nite Owl, or “Nowl.” Although it has had some questionable dishes — like the gray mac and cheese I was served with a ladle of Parmesan cheese — C4 keeps it interesting with themed food nights and rotating expedition menus. My biggest qualm is that it doesn’t serve the same fries at the grill for Nowl as it does during the day.
College-in-the-Woods (CIW) Dining Center: 6/10
While closed this year, CIW Dining Center arguably offered the second-most diverse options with its vegan station, barbecue grill and trucker rock music. I was impressed by its effort to have Beyond Burgers on Sundays and relatively affordable vegan grain bowls and tacos during the week. CIW definitely brought the best breakfast game with its non-liquid egg omelets, chocolate chip pancakes and bagel sandwiches. It was the perfect, low-key place to spend your weekends or between classes when you don’t want to run into your classmates or terrible neighbors.
Appalachian Collegiate Center: 5.5/10
Appalachian Collegiate Center has one of the best views on all of campus, but is pretty boring with its dining choices. While the pasta bar is delicious, you’ll be in hunger-induced agony waiting in line only for it to run out right before you order. Its Cupcake Wednesdays are pretty enticing, and so is its obsession with playing pop hits from 2016 during dinner.
Hinman Dining Hall: 2/10 (because it has been closed for almost two years)
We all miss Hinman Dining Hall! Why renovate something that was already good to begin with? The pierogies are so good that you’ll be obsessively checking the menu during lecture in the weeks after to see if they’re being served for lunch. That being said, it is the only dining hall that has served me raw chicken, so do with that what you will.
Chick-N-Bap was founded by BU students, serving street food with a Korean twist. There’s really nothing bad to say about Chick-N-Bap: its staff is always friendly, and its food is pretty reliable. If you’re in the Marketplace and can’t decide what to get, Chick-N-Bap is a solid choice that will keep you full and happy.
Red Mango: 5/10
For some reason, BU students love Red Mango — there is always a chaotic line during class hours. Although it has downsized its options due to COVID-19, most of its best items are still on the menu. Go for the parfait if you’re looking for a dessert or a mango smoothie if you want to feel refreshed. I would steer clear of its energizing smoothies that have added supplements if you don’t want the plastic packet to accidentally wind up being blended into your drink. Not speaking from personal experience.
Mein Bowl: 10/10
Forget all the other food places in Marketplace: if you want to see a friendly face or a campus celebrity, look no further than Mein Bowl. Mary, the manager and an employee of the Asian-inspired establishment, will greet you with a sweet smile and happily fill your bowl — she is there practically every day that Mein Bowl is open, without fail. Its General Tso’s chicken with spicy mayo is a go-to, but even if you don’t eat meat, its flash-fried tofu is a great source of flavorful and filling protein.
There’s a saying among BU students about Dunkin’ that may have some truth: “You never get the same drink twice at Dunkin’.” While some may view that as a negative, it actually keeps things interesting, especially when you don’t want to trek all the way to Hinman College for the Starbucks truck. When you’re really in a pinch for food and you’re stuck on central campus, Dunkin’ has a fairly good Power Breakfast Sandwich, and you can now swap out its meat for Beyond Meat brand alternatives.
Food Co-op: 10/10
The campus Food Co-op has some delicious, locally sourced food options with tons of choices for those with gluten, meat or other dietary restrictions. Representing the business side of the student organization Students for Ethical Living and Food (SELF), the Food Co-op has a lovely cafe-like atmosphere and welcoming student staff who are happy to help. While it does not accept dining dollars, leftovers from the previous day are always affordable at a reduced price. Although I don’t go often, the Food Co-op never disappoints with its home-cooked meals chock-full of variety. If you can’t make its hours to pick up some lunch, you can always grab an item from its fridge or swing by its Nite Owl events where it serves your fried favorites with a plant-based twist.