Simon: UHDS dining halls continue to improve dietary accommodations, still room for improvement

An+illustration+of+a+bowl+of+fruit+and+vegetables+alongside+a+loaf+of+bread.

By Alex Koetje, OMN Illustrator

An illustration of a bowl of fruit and vegetables alongside a loaf of bread.

Emma Simon, Beaver's Digest Contributor

Oregon State University prides itself on diversity and so do its students. So it only makes sense that in trying to have greater diversity, they should accommodate for their students who have a wide range of dietary restrictions. Whether because of religious reasons, health concerns or even diets, all of its students should have the ability to feel safe and capable of finding accommodating food on campus. This is especially important when most first-year students are required to live on campus.

 If you go onto the dietary restriction info page of the UHDS dietary restrictions website you’ll find actually quite a lot of options at most places. Obviously, there are places that fall short in certain aspects, as there is always room for improvement and accommodation, but inclusivity is always improving and the dining halls are following suit.

According to the University Housing and Dining Services’ food allergies page, they label for the top eight foods that cause the most food allergic reactions in the United States as well as labeling for a few extra restrictions regarding religion. These being wheat/gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts or tree nuts, soy, fish or shellfish, and for religions: pork and/or halal-safe foods.

All of this aside, can you actually find food at all or most dining halls that fits into those parameters? Well, I visited each location on campus to find out. 

Now, as far as what the best places are to eat on campus with a dietary restriction, that’s a difficult question to answer. Especially because there are different needs for different people. However, I can suggest a few in each hall that might be worth trying if you haven’t already.

First, let’s talk about the McNary Dining Hall which is the east side dining hall and the closest for students living in McNary, Callahan, Tebeau and Wilson residence halls. McNary has a variety of options including pizza, pasta, burgers, a coffee shop and soon a burrito place. The easiest to eat at with dietary restrictions is probably at Five Four One. They have the most inclusive options and have alternatives for most, if not all, diets and allergies. 

Another dining hall on campus is South Station @ Arnold, the south side dining hall and the closest to Hasell, Finley, Bloss and the International Living and Learning Center residence halls. Arnold has a variety of options for those with restrictions including burgers, ramen, sandwiches options and more. The best place for those with a dietary restriction is probably at Nori where they have a build-your-own ramen bowl or at The Grill where they have a build-your-own burger. Either gives you plenty of options while still giving you food that you can trust and that you want.

The last main dining hall is Marketplace West, the west side dining center. Marketplace West is the closest to Weatherford, West, Buxton, Poling, Cauthorn, Sackett and Hawley. Marketplace West also has a variety of options for the different restrictions such as burgers, sandwiches, pasta and coffee. As far as the easiest place to go when looking for accommodations, I would probably suggest either Tomassito’s Italian Cafe or Clubhouse Deli. Tomassito’s has a large variety of options for pasta and Clubhouse Deli has an assortment of sandwiches and grab-and-go items that accommodate for most, if not all, of the dietary restrictions.

Not to say these are all the options you have, there are plenty more options on campus and off that can accommodate many different dietary restrictions, but here are some good places to start.