It’s 5:43 p.m. on a Sunday night and I am walking to my Chevy Malibu to head to Dordt to meet with some friends for supper at the Commons. Upon arriving at my car, I received a phone call saying that the Commons closes at 6, so I needed to hurry to get there.
Slamming my car door, I’m praying no cops are in the area as the race against time began. Running into the Commons at 5:58 p.m., I met with two friends who wished to remain anonymous because, while they’re “ok hating on Dordt’s Commons,” they would rather not face any potential repercussions because of their less-than-positive remarks on the food quality there.
Unfortunately, due to Dordt’s policy that you can’t swipe multiple meals at a time, I was forced to pay the $7.25 in cash. However, their drawer wasn’t working, so the front desk worker had to get my change from the back.
With it being a weekend night during Heartland Convention,the Christian school teachers’ convention Dordt holds every year, the food options were limited to pasta, a burger and sandwich line, salad bar and cereal area.
“The food isn’t good here this weekend, or any weekend to be honest,” one of my friends commented. “I usually get the pasta or the stir fry because they are the best options.”
So, off to the pasta line where noodles with Alfredo sauce waited. All food options were self-serve and, aside from the burger line, there seemed to be no cafeteria workers in sight. Perhaps it was because the Commons was technically closed by the time I got my food or maybe that is just how they do it there.
The salad bar was almost identical to Northwestern’s and the fruit selection was good. After grabbing pasta, a banana, a side salad and water, I walk over to the table where my friends sat, saying “hi” to other people I knew along the way. The pasta itself was pretty good: salty but not overbearingly so, and the noodles were cooked to perfection. All the drinks were in stock, unlike on NW’s campus currently, so it was nice to have a full variety of options once again.
As I was eating and chatting with my friends, I noticed a table along the back wall with a sign above it reading: “The Turquoise Table.” I was informed that the Turquoise Table is for students who show up to the Commons alone for one reason or another. They can sit at the table, and anyone can join them to make friends.
“It’s a great idea,” one of my friends commented, “but no one uses it the way it’s supposed to.”
“Yeah,” my other friend chimed in “some even refer to it as the ‘loser table’.”
Another difference about the dining area was the variety in tables. All their tables are smaller, very few could seat more than 12, and most of them are circular, meant to encourage conversation. I would encourage NW to mix up the rectangular and circular tables in both dining rooms because of how much I liked Dordt’s set up.
After I finished eating, I was encouraged by my two friends to get the ice cream because it “is really good and never runs out.” So, I walk over to the dessert and ice cream station to find that it was out of order. Laughing at the irony, all three of us exit the Commons to say goodbye and head out to each do our homework loads for the evening.
Overall, I say it was a pleasant experience. The atmosphere was great to encourage conversation, and, while the food options were limited, they weren’t bad. However, I’d still prefer the NW Caf to Dordt’s Commons any day.