What do you do when your tolerance of college food is on the verge of disappearing? Where do you go when even Pond St. Grill doesn’t sound any better than The Main? Chili’s? Panera? IHOP? All pretty good restaurants I’ll agree, but lately, I’ve been keener on being adventurous with my dining habits. Everyone should try it.
There are very comforting aspects to dining in franchise restaurants. There are no surprises. You know the food will be the same no matter which Chili’s you go to; most of the time, you’ll order your favorite dish and know how much it will be, what it will taste like and how long it will take. The service will be the same most of the time, and the restaurants will almost always look exactly the same.
However, the predictability of franchise restaurants is also the downside of dining out. How many have tried the Korean restaurant on McCart Avenue? What about the Greek restaurant on Park Hill Drive? And the Indian restaurant across from Central Market?
There are many quality restaurants around campus that are so easy to overlook because we naturally remember the heavily advertised and readily available franchise restaurants first. But most of the time, the smaller family-owned restaurants are more enjoyable because of their unique interiors, food and atmospheres.
Also, seize the opportunity to try out some international cuisine.
My proposal is not limited to restaurants. It goes for coffee shops as well. For so many of us, coffee shop equals Starbucks, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.
It does make great coffee and offers a great studying atmosphere, but the smaller, independent coffee shops offer that and more. Their coffees will have unique tastes and names; the baristas will care enough to ask your name.
I want to encourage students to check out and enjoy the many options we have around campus. Instead of automatically choosing Panera or Starbucks, consider what else might be out there that you haven’t tried before.
What new restaurant will you choose this weekend?
Saerom Yoo is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Pusan, South Korea. Her column appears every Thursday.