Vending machines in Main Hall

Vending machines in Main Hall

Food and drinks are one of the most essential things to keep yourself and the people you care about alive. At Middlesex College, there are eateries that serve food and drinks. But what you’re able to get there to survive the long days on campus can be such a mixed bag for food and drinks. I’ve been going to Middlesex College for five years now, and I know the meals you can get there at this point. While what is around campus is affordable for college students, you shouldn't eat the food and drinks around Middlesex College because Starbucks is expensive for the food and drinks, UNO Express is expensive and has small portion sizes, and the shopping center outside the campus has a mix of cheap and expensive restaurants.

The Starbucks that is on campus, which you can find in Main Hall, isn’t an official Starbucks you see in the middle of a city or town; the college provides it through what looks like a vendor. The food provided at the Starbucks you see on campus doesn't provide the food you see at a typical Starbucks, except the drinks. I love a coffee or tea from Starbucks, but not when the one on campus doesn’t provide me with the whole menu. You can’t even get one of those delicious cake pops or the merchandise a normal Starbucks sells. The food and pastries provided by the college vendor have prices set by a typical Starbucks. It is expensive and  I don’t go there much unless I want a big cup of coffee. Whenever I go to the Starbucks that is on campus, my receipt ends up being around $10 to $12, and I see it as a bit much. The food and drinks are good if you want to enjoy something a bit on the premium side for your coffee, tea, and pastries, because that is what Starbucks is. I like Starbucks, but I don’t go to the one on campus constantly because of the price of it.

Additionally, UNO Express is expensive and has small portion sizes. A vendor provided UNO Express, and it is a restaurant in Cafeteria A inside the College Center. The food and drinks there have small portions and cost $5–$10 each for the specific items. A big deal when the personalized pizza you can get there is around $10 for a five-inch pizza pie with four slices. There are sub sandwiches and salads that you can get, but neither looks particularly appetizing in my eyes. There are garlic knots, chicken tenders, and mozzarella sticks that are near the pizza, but they are a mixed bag. The garlic knots are burned sometimes, while the breading for the chicken tenders and the mozzarella sticks look light and not heavy. There are sauces nearby for the chicken tenders and mozzarella sticks, but I think the choices behind mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup are very limited. My bill at UNO Express usually ends up being $20 if I want it to resemble somewhat of a full meal, despite it not being filling at all. That makes me annoyed if I want to eat somewhere close to the Quo Vadis room, but the food isn’t filling, so I end up hungry as a result when I’m stressed. An option I consider is eating the food and getting some drinks around Middlesex College because of the variety at the nearby shopping center, but I rarely do it and save it as a last resort.

You shouldn't eat the food or get drinks around Middlesex College because the shopping center outside the campus has a mix of cheap and expensive restaurants. When you arrive at the shopping center by car or walking, you see some recognizable places such as Wawa, Panera Bread, and Playa Bowl. Wawa is very inexpensive, with breakfast items costing around $7 to $8 and lunch or dinner items costing around $10 to $12 with drinks included. I mean, getting food from Wawa isn’t bad, but whatever you want to get, depending on your craving, it can rack up quickly from cheap to expensive. Then there’s Panera Bread, with what you’d expect from there: a lot of bread items, coffee, soups, salads, pastries, and various meals. Basically, Panera Bread has a higher price than Wawa, with meals usually costing the same as Wawa, depending on how much you buy. Playa Bowl is what you’d expect, with there being healthier food options than both Wawa and Panera Bread. You get food bowls, smoothies, juices, and coffee at Playa Bowl, which is nice, but the price of everything for a healthy meal is on the expensive side, costing around $15–$20, which is a bit much for college students. But it really depends on what you get from there at the end of things. There's Chicago's Pizza With A Twist, where the pizza ranges in price from $14 for a small pizza pie to $17 for a medium pizza pie, $21 for a large pizza pie, and $29 for every pizza pie they offer. That is a bit much, but at least they have more sizes available for pizza than what you can get on campus. Would I recommend you get anything from the shopping center to have a whole meal worth? No, if you’re unable to afford it. You shouldn’t get anything from this shopping center except gas for your car or truck because there is a gas station connected to the Wawa. The food and drinks here are cheap or expensive depending on the restaurants you go to, and it’s hard to go out to this location all the time if you’re broke.

Thus, while what is around campus is affordable for college students, you shouldn't eat the food and drink around Middlesex College. Starbucks is expensive for the food and drinks; UNO Express is expensive and has small portion sizes; and the shopping center outside the campus has a mix of cheap and expensive restaurants. I love food and drinks, but the restaurants are so expensive that you can end up broke so quickly as a college student. The only place I can truly recommend that you save money is by getting food and drinks at the vending machines. Drinks cost around $3, while snacks cost around $2-$3. Vending machine food may be unhealthy, but it is affordable, and it is still on campus if you want to save a lot of money instead of spending what you have on one go. That is what I recommend: vending machine food, which has a lot of variety for me to snack on while also saving me money. I know it’s a bad idea in the long term, but it's worth it if you’re a broke college student.

“That’s an important decision for me to make. And If I can help it, I wanna make sure I’m doing the right thing.” 

Hi! My name is Jared Almanzor. I’m a part of the Middlesex College Newspaper called the Quo Vadis. I’m a Managing Editor, a Section Editor, and a Staff Writer. I primarily write reviews on different interests I like but I like to dabble now and again.

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