From the Ag Quad to the Engineering Quad, Cornell Dining has expanded its late-night dining services this semester and reduced the offerings available at Trillium.
This semester, Trillium no longer serves hot food because of the high cost of maintaining hot stations, Meng-Wei Hsu, senior operations manager for the Ag Quad and Coffee Shops, told The Sun in an email. Students will only be provided very limited options like grab-and-go sandwiches, salad, and sushi in the fridge.
“This is very disappointing,” said Lakshmi Babureddy ’20. “I liked it when they used to have hot food, but for now, who wants to eat cold sandwiches for dinner?”
Babureddy studies applied economics and management, a program that is based on the Ag Quad.
For student-athletes and those who stay around the Ag Quad at night, Trillium is considered the most convenient place to eat, according to Babureddy, Vanessa Lobo ’20, a student in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and Hailey Erkkila ’22, a member of Women’s Track & Field. However, both Babureddy and Lobo mentioned that they probably would not visit Trillium again during late-night hours if no hot food is served.
Last year, when Trillium extended their dining hours, The Sun reported the change was spearheaded by Cornell’s athletic community. When a late-night eatery located near athletic practice facilities had closed, many athletes were concerned about their late-night eating options.
However, Trillium received “very little participation” from student-athletes at night for the past three semesters, despite being the first group to request Trillium’s late-night hours, according to Hsu.
Starting last semester, the Cornell Dining Team shifted Trillium’s late-night hours from 7-9 p.m. to 6-8 p.m. due to a limited number of customers arriving after 8 p.m.
Among the current late-night dining locations around Central Campus, Mattin’s Cafe, located on the Engineering Quad, has been the most popular one so far — with around 300 to 600 customers coming in from 6-10 p.m., according to Hsu. The extension went into effect after Fall Break.
Goldie’s Cafe, located in the Physical Sciences building, also expanded their hours after the break to remain open one and a half hours later until 7:30 p.m, on Mondays through Thursdays.
“Goldie’s Cafe has been well received by the students and faculty from Physical Sciences Building and Clark Hall,” Hsu said. “This is a brand new late-night service we’ve never tried before.”
For the past few semesters, Cornell Dining has been receiving requests to offer more late-night dining options on Central Campus from different groups of Cornell Community, due to its limited options compared to both North and West Campus.
The Robert Purcell Community Center on North Campus has featured a dining hall that is open until 9 p.m. and a convenience store and grill open until 2 a.m. On West, the last dining hall among its five houses closes at 9 p.m. and its convenience store is open until 1 a.m.
“We try to be responsive to all of the suggestions we hear, and try to have meals available when and where people need them,” Hsu said.
Joshua Park ’20, AEM, and Brian Jeong ’21, an Engineering student, told The Sun that Mattins’ location, short food-preparation process, and relatively satisfactory food quality are the main reasons that keep it popular.
Besides those late-night dining places mentioned above, the Take Us Home meal, a microwavable food tray packaged by Cornell Dining, is also an option for those who prefer hot-meals during the times when kitchens cannot be opened around them.
“There are four very different full dinners to choose from with generous portions and affordable pricing, and students and staff have told us they enjoy them when they want to enjoy a hot meal right at the cafe or even take something home,” Hsu said.
The Take Us Home meals can be picked up at Bear Necessities, Mattin’s Cafe, Cafe Jennie, Amit Bhatia Libe Cafe, Trillium, Jansen’s Market or Green Dragon.
The Cornell Dining Team will decide on the late-night opening hours and locations for the upcoming spring semester based on the demands of both current and previous spring semesters.