More of What to Expect of Oberlin Dining (South Campus)
January 16, 2023
Evan Hamilton ’26
Introduction: A Continuation
This is a continuation of my blog post Eating at Oberlin (North Campus), in which I reflected on my experience dining at Oberlin on the campus’s north side. In this post, I will be detailing and reflecting on my experiences with dining on the campus’s south side.
South Campus Dining Locations
Being on South Campus (and some of them rather far in that direction) the dining locations below can be a bit of a walk for some students; however, they are worth the effort to make it over in my opinion, because of the delightful additional variety they provide. Without further ado, here are my experiences with the dining options on the south side of Oberlin’s campus:
Heritage Kosher Kitchen
Just to the south of Dascomb, where I live, making it not much of a walk for me although it can be a trek for others, is Heritage Kosher Kitchen, the Kosher-certified dining option on campus. Although at first I was apprehensive about going to this dining hall because I don’t personally eat a Kosher diet and didn’t know what the culture around that would be, once I decided I would go and try the food I fell in love with the delicious dishes Heritage creates. From latkas to tacos, to traditional soups, Heritage is a consistent option where I can find a savory lunch. Although it offers only one meal’s worth of items on its menu at once, Heritage functions as an all-you-can-eat for one meal swipe experience like Stevie does and has a communal, sociable atmosphere to complete the experience where it’s located in Talcott dorm.
Moving even further south from my dorm, Clarity, located in the basement of Fairchild dorm, provides allergen-free options that also tend to tailor to vegetarian dining. This location isn’t my personal favorite (I suppose I love having the nine common allergens in my food and I’m blessed to be allergic to none of them), but I have friends who swear by it and tell me all about how delicious the food is. Clarity makes me happy to think that there really is at least something for everyone to love eating at Oberlin.
Probably the most difficult to find (but incredibly placed) of the dining locations, is Sky Bar. It overlooks the Jazz Building from the top floor of the conservatory of music (and is actually a sky bridge between the two buildings!). Although I don’t know the full history, I figured when I was thinking it through that a sky-bridge was likely planned to connect the main conservatory building and the Jazz Building, and yet the architects were uncertain of what they would place in such a spot. Enter the Sky Bar concept and voila, a superfluous glass-paned sky bridge is transformed into a dining location that’s convenient (for conservatory students in particular), aesthetic, and appealing for its air of refinement (you’ll always hear classical music on records playing from the corner that fills the air with a pleasant ambiance). I have attended Sky Bar for breakfast twice now (it stays open only for the morning hours), and both times I’ve enjoyed my breakfast sandwich, sides, and a drink choice of tea or hot chocolate in my case (coffee in the cases of many others). Although it’s a far walk, I really love pretty much everything set up about this spot (and let’s face it, on a campus the size of Oberlin’s, is anything really that bad of a walk?).
Speaking of long walks, however, the last dining location I’ll explain here is located the furthest from my dorm—but is absolutely divine. Lord/Saunders features food from the African diaspora, and I’ve enjoyed several of their unique dishes. On Sunday nights, Lord/Saunders is the place to be because of the fried chicken and mac and cheese dinner they feature. Lord/Saunders is all you can eat, but few people decide to wait a second time through the line that forms on Sundays. This spot is attached to Lord/Saunders dorm and has tables to eat at inside and outside. It also has decorations in accordance with the dining hall’s African diaspora themes. The first time I attended Sunday dinner there, I went along with two of my friends and found that time to not only be a bonding experience for the three of us, but also a night in which we felt the warm and welcoming community that gathers around that place. In general, I tried to make a point of going to Lord/Saunders once a week during the fall semester, even though it’s far, to ensure I wasn't missing out on all the location has to offer.
Overall, I’ve been thoroughly satisfied with my dining experience at Oberlin and the options I can choose from. Although I’ll always miss my family dinners a little, I’ve found a new routine in the meal halls at the college that has improved my experience here and is satisfying all in its own way. I may not always be sure where I’ll use my meal swipes for tomorrow, but there can be plenty of excitement about the choices I can make.