We’ve all heard of students who lived off of Mr. Noodles because they simply couldn’t afford to buy proper groceries or make more nutritional meals. Perhaps you’re one of those students. There are also many students who buy fast food every day because, between classes and work, they don’t have time to cook for themselves. Thankfully, VIU has solutions for both.

Cafeterias tend to have a bad reputation. Everyone seems to think cafeteria food is disgusting and over-priced. VIU’s cafeterias prove that to be untrue.

There are two cafeterias on campus: the upper cafeteria in bldg. 300, and the lower cafeteria in bldg. 185, so no matter where your classes are there is food nearby. The upper cafeteria is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., while the lower cafeteria is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Breakfast is served at the upper cafeteria starting at 8 a.m. with a variety of breakfast foods to choose from. The Food Service Express provides a hot lunch, which includes French fries and hot dogs, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and there’s also a Panini grill available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a salad bar. Dinner is served from 4 to 7:30 p.m., and each day offers different options. Some days, you’ll find simple meals such as mashed potatoes, whereas other days you may find dishes that belong in a five-star restaurant. Often, food creations resemble something you might see on the Food Network. Regardless, the food is fresh, the quality is high, the service is fast, and the price is low. You can also purchase a Dining Card for the upper cafeteria, so if you’re too strapped on cash for groceries you still have money on your student card; if you put at least $100 on your card, you also get 10 per cent off.

The lower cafeteria, also known as “the vistro”, has a breakfast buffet with eggs from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. For lunch, there are two options: a grill menu that’s available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and the Food Service Express hot lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays at the vistro are buffet day. When the Culinary Arts Program is providing lunch at the lower cafeteria, then the grill menu and buffet are suspended in favour of their delicious food options.

If you’d like to opt for a less crowded place to eat, there’s also the Discovery Room and the VIU Students’ Union Pub on campus.

The Discovery Room is also in bldg. 300, but offers a more formal eating area than the upper cafeteria, with five-star meals, fine wine, and panoramic views. Their lunch and dinner menus change every week as the Culinary students progress through their training, with level one students creating classic bistro-style dishes and level two students making more west coast contemporary food. The Discovery Room is open Tuesday through Friday for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., and on Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. for dinner. On Thursdays and Fridays, Hospitality students act as managers, bartenders, and servers in the dining room for both lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended, and menus can be found online.

The Students’ Union Pub is located in bldg. 193, and offers a casual restaurant space to eat, drink, and talk before, after, or between classes. If drinking a beer on a weekday on campus doesn’t interest you, they also offer non-alcoholic beverages such as coffee, cappuccinos, and hot chocolate. When you’re done your meal, feel free to stick around to watch TV or play some pool with friends. The pub hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and 11:30 a.m. to midnight Thursdays, but they stay open later for special events, such as open mic nights, karaoke, and music trivia sometimes on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

If none of the above meets your needs, there’s always Jumpin’ Java by the library, or Subway in bldg. 165.

With all the options for cheap, delicious food on campus, there’s no excuse to not eat something a little more nutritional than Mr. Noodles every now and then.

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