Waring Commons - dining

Waring Commons houses West's Waring Square and West Wing for on-campus dining options.

Penn State has a wide variety of food options, so it can be a little bit daunting to try to figure out where to eat. All of the dining commons offer something different, but here’s a guide to which ones are the best on campus.

1. West's Waring Commons

The general consensus across campus is that “West is the best” — and there are plenty of reasons which support it.

One of the first lessons incoming freshmen learn about the dining halls is that the cookies in West are the most incredible on campus. Most who don’t live in West would probably attribute their first trip to Waring Commons just to find out how good the cookies are. Every dining hall has cookies in the buffet, but West is the only one to have warm, freshly baked cookies.

It’s not just the sweet treats that make West incredible. Rather, the dining hall includes practically every kind of dining option you could ever want. If you’re in the mood to eat healthy or gorge yourself with junk food, West has you covered. There are different lines for pizza, tacos, salad, sandwiches and grilled food.

For those who aren’t in the mood for sitting down at the buffet, West Wing offers quick food options like chicken tenders or a sub. For some students, one of the best things about West Wing is the curly fries option. However, one of the nicest things about West Wing is the warm cookies that are still available outside of the buffet.

Additionally, some students think the staff at West is the nicest on campus, which can make the dining experience much more positive.

And did we mention the cookies?

2. Pollock Commons

Pollock is probably the nicest dining hall across all of campus in terms of design. It’s the largest dining hall at Penn State and it features a colorful array of decorum and dining wear. Sometimes, the ambiance in Pollock is enough to want to spend the meal points there.

There are also plenty of options to eat at Pollock, and they’re good at keeping things consistent as well. If you’re really set on eating a cheeseburger or pizza, Pollock has got you covered. The desserts remain consistent as well, including ice cream from the creamery and fresh cookies. Your sweet tooth will always be satisfied.

Pollock Commons

Pollock Commons on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2018.

However, they do offer a wider range of food outside of the everyday menu items, as well. If you’d rather have something different, the buffet does change things up. There are always options of fish, turkey or steak with a selection of vegetables on the side.

As if you needed more reason to understand how great Pollock is, the weekend brunch options are the greatest across campus. The options are endless, including freshly made omelettes, a waffle bar and a mixed variety of bread. Pollock brunch on the weekends becomes a loved tradition for many students.

3. South's Redifer Commons

Landing squarely in the middle of the list, Redifer is there for you when no one else is. Compared to most of the other dining halls, South has many a-la-carte options, which is great for when you start to run low on meal points. There are cheap food options for pretty much any kind of mood that you’re in. You won’t have to live off of Ramen when your swipes start dwindling.

The buffet is a little bit of a coin flip, though. There’s never really a time when a person will feel in the mood to go to the Redifer buffet. Instead, you just kind of end up there. Generally, South has a little bit more interesting plates for students. Once in a while, there will be meals verging on gourmet at the buffet. Some days, they’ll serve lobster and crepes, and other days it’s unseasoned chicken breast with carrots.

Different from Pollock, the buffet at South is extremely small. So, if it’s unseasoned chicken night, that’s all that you’re getting. There is no pizza line to turn to in case you realize you messed up after swiping in.However, it is the only dining hall that offers “late night” dining from 8 to 11 p.m., and usually the options are pretty good.

Redifer also isn’t centrally located in South, making it difficult for students who live in dorms like Atherton to stop by on their way to class. During the winter, it’s easiest to avoid going to Redifer as much as possible — the walks are too cold, even for food.

4. East's Findlay Commons

Findlay Commons

Findlay Commons on campus, Wednesday, Apr. 10th, 2019.

Findlay Commons is certainly a dining hall that students should make sure to try out at least once during their four years at Penn State. The primary reason for East’s allure is that it’s renovated. After experiencing the traditional dining halls, many students want to try out East to see if renovated makes it any better.

It doesn’t have anything much different from any of the other dining halls, though. While it offers several a-la carte options like South, the buffet items aren’t much better than any other dining hall.

After realizing that Findlay is mediocre, students who don’t actually live in East will have to trek all the way back to the rest of civilization. Depending on where you need to go on campus, the walk can sometimes take 20 minutes. Due to the sheer fact that it is so far away from everything, East will be a one time stop for many students.

5. North's Warnock Commons

Does North actually exist? For many students, Warnock Commons remains a mystery. It seems as if the name “North” was made up just to complete the cardinal directions of dining halls.

The amount of students who live in North is very low, so it’s difficult to actually find opinions on the dining hall.

The only real thing about North that I’ve heard is that there is grilled cheese. Apparently, it’s pretty cheap grilled cheese. Though it seems pretty rare to meet anyone who has lived in North, the only thing they mention about Warnock is that there is grilled cheese. Are there any other food options there for the lactose intolerant students? The answer may remain unknown.

However, North does have its benefits. For those who aren’t interested in long lines or loud dining halls, North remains relatively relaxed during the day — even during rush hours. If you’re feeling like you need a break from the world, North may be the place to escape to.

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