Where to eat at WPU: campus dining ranked best to worst

Her Campus

Jasmine Johnson, Contributing Writer

One of the most talked and gossiped about things at William Paterson University is not the sports or the raging parties. What the students always seem to talk about is the food. 

So, hop on the bandwagon, while I rank every restaurant on the main campus. (Sorry, Café 1600) 

Here’s how the ranking system works: “Safety” is taken into consideration based on how clean the restaurant is, and if I got sick from eating the meals. 

The price is how much I paid for the food on the menu— I know that the dining hall is $10 for commuters. However, I’m taking into consideration residents whose diets mostly consists of the restaurants on this list. 

Best:

Einstein’s Bagels:

Probably the most expensive food you could buy on campus. It’s not provided by the infamous Sodexo food company. If you don’t know what Sodexo is, you must be a commuter or you must use your pioneer to only buy QuickChek. 

Everything on this campus that isn’t Einstein’s Bagels is provided by Sodexo food, that’s why Einstein’s Bagels is actually enjoyable. Their smoothies are sweet and satisfying; I would recommend their mango and strawberry-banana smoothie (Whipped Cream is a must!). 

I’m a sucker for bagels. Their bagels are adequate, they aren’t deli or ‘Mom and Pop shop’ quality but they are decent nonetheless. Their weekly snacks at the front of the cashiers are good too— the cookies are delicious. 

However, one thing I would stay away from is their wraps that are packaged. I had them and they weren’t all that good. I would expect that quality from one of the lower-tier restaurants on campus. If you ask for them made fresh, the employees will make them for you.  

Grade: A-

Safety: 5/5

Price: Expensive 

The Wingery (Chicken Section):

I’m actually going to rate The Wingery’s chicken and burrito sections separately— they are like night and day. 

If The Wingery was a zodiac sign, it would be a Gemini. The chicken tenders are crispy, golden and seasoned. The chicken wings savory sauces gleam as your mouth salivates and prepares for the deliciousness. 

The downside to The Wingery’s chicken menu is that you must consume the fries as soon as possible or they’ll get soggy and lifeless. 

Another downside is that it’s connected to the burrito part of The Wingery, even though it’s good. There is cross-contamination of the lettuce, and other side-eye worthy vegetables in the other half of The Wingery. 

The Chicken side of The Wingery is Dr. Jekyll (good), the burrito is Mr. Hyde (bad, very bad). 

Tell me why a chicken tender meal is almost $9? That’s Chick-fil-a status only. 

Grade: A-

Safety: 2/5

Price: Expensive

Billy Bear Grill:

Billy Bear is the only restaurant that’s open when the commuters leave— shout out to them. I have tried everything on the menu… that wasn’t against my dietary restrictions. 

I actually enjoy the patty melt. It’s my go-to sandwich. The underrated sandwich oozes with yellow-orange cheese, and the caramelized onions sizzle in synchronization with the juicy beef and the salty but savory buttered bread seals the deal.

The grilled chicken sandwich is enjoyable—the grease pools on the chicken are just right. 

“When the moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars,” (yes, that is a “Hair” reference) the fries are actually good. When the planets aren’t aligned and you come at the wrong time the fries are really bad. 

The wait time kills me too. Sometimes there isn’t anyone waiting in-line and I’ll still be there for a good minute. The classic grilled cheese is good, especially as a pre-pay day meal. 

If you’re tired of getting the meal plan quesadilla—the grilled cheese is a good replacement. 

The milkshakes are OK— they aren’t bad, but they aren’t that good either. They serve breakfast all day which is great! Their breakfast isn’t all that bad either. 

Grade: B

Safety: 3/5

Price: Reasonable

Hissho Sushi:

Is it really that hard to mess up sushi? Unless it’s unsanitary or has been sitting out for too long. Sushi is sushi. 

Grade: B+

Safeness: 4/5

Price: Reasonable

Hit or Miss:

 The W:

You guys, I tried… I tried to get into The W. It’s not having that same effect with me as my friends are having. 

The chicken tenders are cold, depressing, and hard like the winters. The fries are good if I don’t think about them as I eat them. 

The Jamaican beef patties aren’t good, but they should burn your mouth off when they first come out of the oven. When I got mine from The W they were lukewarm.

The sandwiches are OK. 

I mean, if you’re a freshman, and it’s Saturday, and you don’t have a car, and the dining hall is closed, and you don’t feel like walking in the bitter cold to QuickChek, it’s good. But when you have other options, you know you would rather have Billy Bear instead, if they were open. 

The ironic thing is, I don’t like The W, but the smell of The W loves to cling to my clothes and hair. When I first had The W, I didn’t even bring the food into my room. 

It stunk up the entire room and the grease smell was entrapped in my hair. I understand the vibe of The W. It’s there for those Friday and Saturday nights while you watch some low-budget cartoon on Adult Swim in your dorm and eat something that’s low-brow. I like the idea, but I wish it was executed a little better. 

Grade: C+

Safety: 4/5

Price: Reasonable 

Mein Bowl:

It’s not the worst or best thing on-campus; General Tso’s Chicken is good. Now, if you pick the right or wrong sauce on it, it’ll make or break the eating experience. 

There are so many combinations where you could get a really good experience or a really bad one. The thing is, when you are done with the chicken or whatever protein you decided to pick that day, there is too much rice left. 

The rice isn’t as good as a standalone. I usually end up tossing it. My personal pick is General Tso’s Chicken, broccoli and carrots with cucumbers. 

Grade: C

Safety: 4/5

Price: Reasonable

Pioneer Pizzaria:

The pizza isn’t good. The pasta is meh, bland and predictable. It’s one of the cheapest restaurants on this list. 

However, the staff there are very nice, which saves this establishment from getting the worst placement. 

A lot of restaurants don’t have good customer service, and I’m not even talking about this campus exclusively. Good customer service is hard to find, which is why Pioneer Pizzaria is like a breath of fresh air. The cashiers are always so nice and accommodating. 

Grade: C-

Safety: 5/5

Price: Reasonable

“Starbucks” (Center Cafe):

The things I consume there seems like a knock-off of what I’m actually ordering. 

The Strawberry Acai drink lacks something and the fruits in the drink… dare I say it… are greasy and old? 

Very Berry Hibiscus tastes like cinnamon applesauce. It’s not like Mott’s, but it’s the crusty applesauce you would get in a cup in the cafeteria they would serve to you in prison. 

The white-hot chocolate isn’t all that bad. I would recommend sipping it while you’re heading back to your dorm or taking a scenic walk around the campus. 

The sheer audacity of them charging extra for whipped cream! 

The Starbucks we know and love would never! 

Oh and stay away from the side snacks perched on top of the counter. They’re expensive and not worth it. 

Grade: C

Safety: 3/5

Price: Reasonable 

The Dining Hall (Lunch):

Surprisingly, the dining hall during lunch is the best time to go. The food is acceptable. Most of the thinking and creativity go into lunch and fizzles out from there.

I always break my neck to get to the dining hall during lunchtime. My favorite meal from the dining hall is the Chinese stir-fry. The food is fresher and more appetizing. But when you get to dinner…

Grade: C

Safety: 3/5

Price: Meal Swipe

The Dining Hall (Dinner):

When you get to dinner… that’s when the shenanigans start all over again. 

The freshness from lunchtime is ruined, especially the global section.

They leave the food open to get hard, and the pizza is a hit or miss. I had to get up and sit down again to check if it’s an edible pie or if they forgot to replace the several empty trays with fresh pizza…again.

The burgers are suspect at this point. 

Grade: C-

Safety: 2/5

Price: Meal Swipe.

Worst: 

Campus Restaurant:

I finally figured out where the secret campus restaurant is located. It’s not worth finding or spending almost $9 on. 

It’s the dining hall food with less variety and better presentation. They have better sneeze guards, and it’s cleaner than the dining hall. 

Grade: D+

Safety: 3/5

Price: Expensive 

Sub Connection:

I consumed the turkey sandwich at Sub Connection. It has the potential to be great, but it isn’t great. 

The bread is dry and crumbly and reminds me of moist cardboard. The meat is just tragic and unfortunate. The vegetation is suspect. It’s so suspect it committed a crime of robbery because I wasted my perfectly good meal plan on this mess of a sandwich.

I would rather be eating Subway’s infamous yoga mat ingredient laced bread than the bread at Sub Connection. The only “connection” I would be having is the fastest connection to the Health and Wellness Center for stomach cramps. 

Grade: D

Safety: 2/5

Price: Reasonable

Simply 2 Go:

Simply 2 Go should simply go in the trash where it belongs. Some of the things behind the glass get two side-eyes from me. 

Some of it looks like it has been there since the super seniors were freshmen. I had a buffalo chicken wrap that gave me the bubble guts afterward. 

Simply 2 Go even messed up the vanilla pudding—I ended up throwing it in the trash. The desserts look tragic. The sandwiches look old and one was filled with mold. I’m not even going to talk about the hard-boiled eggs. 

The only thing I see that’s consistent is the bagels, packaged named brand foods, fruit and maybe the salads.

Grade: D-

Safety:1/5

Price: Reasonable 

The Wingery (Burritos):

Absolutely deplorable. Everything about the presentation was weak.

I thought I was getting a chicken burrito, but instead, I got a burrito bowl with popcorn chicken in it. 

This is something I would’ve created when my Mom said that there was food at home, knowing full well there wasn’t anything at home. 

It was either create something on your own or have slept for dinner because she wasn’t stopping at McDonald’s. 

The lettuce looks sketchy, and the tomatoes aren’t good. I felt sad eating it. Sad that I wasted not only a meal swipe but my pioneer. Nobody plays with my pioneer. 

Grade: F

Safety: 2/5

Price: Expensive

The Dining Hall (Breakfast):

In the wee hours of the mornings when I had the strength and courage to actually participate in this thing called breakfast. I went to the dining hall. 

There was hardly anyone there. The griddle wasn’t open, so I couldn’t even make breakfast worth it with french toast. 

The hash browns tasted as if they shaved Fozzie Bear’s Muppet fur off and served it to us.

I figured, let me get a bagel. Who can mess a bagel up?

I’ve never tasted something so disrespectful in my life. The bagels were bland. Even with the butter, it was bland. After that experience, I ended up going to the usual breakfast of peanut butter and jelly sandwich with water to wash it down. 

Grade:

Safety: 2/5

Price: Meal Swipe

The Dining Hall (Late Night):

One of the worst offenders of the list. 

The choices are so uninspired. The food is a former shell of itself from the previous hours. 

They take the ice cream away for some reason

The most bizarre altercations happen late at night. 

The weirdness of late nights at the Dining Hall is on par with the Waffle House.

There seems to be a lot of tension in the air. If you’re going to the Dining Hall at night, you’re begging to play roulette with food poisoning. 

I will never forget it. I had French Toast. It was actually good. The next morning, I was moaning and rolling in pain. I was praying to whatever deity heard me first to free me from this pain. 

I stumbled my way to the bathroom and hugged the toilet like it was my Mother. I kept thinking to myself, what did I do to deserve this? Then I realized it was the food from the dining hall. The thing is, you have to go to late at night because there’s nothing else that’s open. It’s like, would you rather starve, or get food poisoning?

Grade: F

Safety:1/5

Price: Meal Swipe

Overall Rank of William Paterson’s Food:

Grade: C-

Safety: 2.5/5

Price: Expensive 

Overall, William Paterson’s food gets a C- because it’s tolerable enough to eat at the same few good restaurants over and over again. 

Safety gets a 2.5/5 because some of the restaurants don’t seem clean. Unfortunately, I have to ignore the unsanitary habits because my options are I either starve or eat somewhere that has questionable cleaning habits.

Also, most of the food here gives me a stomach ache. Even safer foods give me a stomach ache. What do they put in the food? 

Meals here are expensive, especially considering they’re not all that good. Not even well known fast food restaurants charge the prices they charge here. 

The restaurants here have this conceited aura like they think they’re on the same level to charge Five Guys, Chick-Fil-A, and Chipotle prices. 

Would I recommend it to my friends who don’t go to William Paterson? No.