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Definitive D-Hall Rankings

April 27, 2017

“Food is necessary to life. Therefore, make it good,” once said the founder of Chik-fil-A, the finest food establishment in the Western hemisphere.

On Richmond’s campus, the food options are plentiful and polarizing. In this landmark two part series, four years of backbreaking, stomach growing research has culminated into the definitive rankings of Richmond’s food offerings.

First, the ground rules. For on campus dining, it is necessary to account for meal plans, the foundation on which students decide how to fuel their minds and bodies for hardcore learning. Therefore, like King Solomon, I have cleaved these on campus food rankings into two parts to share with the world. One part ranking the food within our beloved dining hall, where you can use swipes off of your meal plan. The other rankings will account for all of the other food establishments on campus that accept dining dollars.

Second: For off campus food, this is much harder. There’s a lot of amazing food in Richmond, and by no means have I been able to try all of it. Therefore the off campus food rankings, like the Pirates Code, is much more like guidelines than actual rules.

Third: These rankings will upset people. The only thing safe in this space is the truth. Without further ado, the definitive d-hall food rankings, organized by station.

Spider Grill

  1. Mozzarella Sticks -- D-Hall Mozzarella sticks emerge from the deep fryer like Aphrodite emerging from the ocean on the half shell. And like the Goddess of Beauty, Mozzarella Sticks leave Richmond students enamored with a lust bordering on lascivious, clamoring for more. The Golden-Brown Standard of the Spider Grill.

  2. Chicken Tenders -- A close contender for the crown, chicken tenders at d-hall are the prototype of fried food. Tenders are delicious, reliable, and savory. Underratedly, the tenders are surprisingly versatile. Whether you like your tenders plump and juicy or thin and crispy, the tenders always deliver.

  3. Hash Brown Wedges -- The way that God intended potatoes to be eaten -- Golden Brown, deep fried, in obtuse triangle form.

  4. Chicken Nuggets -- The poor man’s chicken tenders. Offering lower quality ingredients but a higher quality reminiscence of childhood, chicken nuggets are soul food. As such, they constitute the last of the upper echelon of the Spider Grill.

        7,092.  Fish Strips -- An abomination to everyone involved,  from Long John Silver to Poseidon.  I don’t associate with people who eat fish strips.


  1. Poke Bowl -- An example of why D-hall itself is so great. Sushi quality ingredients in burrito bowl form? The balance between quality and quantity (offered about twice a week) makes the poke bowl a truly exceptional dish.

  2. Panini Station -- Apparently it doesn’t rain in California or something, idk, but avocados have been conspicuously absent from the panini station this year and it is outrageous. Despite losing what some would consider a main draw, the panini station has kept churning standout sandwiches. The addition of prosciutto and higher end italian meats, in addition to the bread options -- Sundried Ciabatta es fuego -- combined with the panini station’s everyday presence ensure it will end up with it’s sign in the rafters and a shrine in the HOF (Hall of Food) one day.

  3. Gyros -- A newcomer to the game, Gyros have taken d-hall by storm. Anybody who has been abroad in Europe took to them immediately. Gyros don’t give paninis a run for their money yet, but when looking for a change of pace, gyros don’t miss a beat.

  4. Cooked to order eggs -- The only ding against cooked to order eggs is the long line, where people who’ve been out of bed for less than 45 minutes stare glassy-eyed forward, unaware of the world around them as everyone stares at their Instagram, waiting for their brain to wake up.

  5. Omelettes -- A step below the cooked to order salads and pastas. For those who like their eggs anything but the hardest of hard, the omelette station can be a station you have a love/hate relationship with.

  6. Chinese Station: Great idea, questionable execution.

Rotating Specials

  1. Wing Bar -- Little needs to be said. Shocking to watch the Asian Zing decidedly take the wing crown over the classic Buffalo, but luckily, we are not forced to choose. Wing bar is the definition of reliable, and in the rotating specials world, reliability is the name of the game.

  2. Indian Bar -- To be fair, this could be renamed the “Tikka masalah Bar” and my opinion wouldn’t change. Yes, there are downsides. You’re not here for the nan. The rice can dry out over time. The Tikkah may not get refilled, forcing you to settle for Vindaloo. Regardless, the tikka masala is fire. Many consider Indian bar high risk, but I prefer to think of it as high reward.

  3. Nacho Bar -- SAD! The Nacho bar is decidedly meh. The best option on bad d-hall nights, and a firmly mediocre one on other nights. All of the downfalls of Mexican, but none of the upside.

Grains and Greens -- Full Disclosure, I am wholly unqualified to judge the vegetarian station. I only eat the vegetarian station for stuffed portabella mushrooms, eggplant lasagna and when better quality rice than the Indian Bar. I still don’t know what a “Vegetarian chicken nugget” is. For everyone involved, let’s move on.

Dolce Vita

  1. Jersey Dirt -- The classic. Like any great dessert, it makes you feel so right and so wrong at the same time.

  2. Black Velvet Cake -- Dare I say, the best cake d-hall has to offer. Admittedly, there is a chocolate bias here, but bite for bite, black velvet takes the cake. (I had to)

  3. Compost Cookies -- They have everything you’d ever want in a cookie, in a cookie.

  4. Oreo Madness Cookies -- The best store brand cookies baked into homemade cookies.

  5. Birthday Cake -- The runner up for best d-hall cake. Flavorful as it is colorful, birthday cake is consistent, if potentially underwhelming.

Piatto Bene

  1. Sizzling Salad -- Personal preference here, as I think the cooked to order pasta and sizzling salads are similar enough you could switch these and I’d have no qualms. Regardless, that either of these exist is amazing and I thank the D-Hall Gods everyday for them.

  2. Cooked to order pasta -- See above.

  3. Cheese and sauce on bread-- As a pizza snob from New York, I am impressed by the brick oven pizza, but not enough to eat it.

Bruce’s -- The main entrees of the day

  1. Chicken Parmesan -- The best d-hall has to offer. The line for chicken parm is longer than rides at Disneyworld, and the wait is worth it. A fresh tray of Chicken parm could make Kawhi Leonard show a human emotion. Other contenders need not apply.

  2. Plum-Grazed Duck -- The single most underrated offering in the history of the Heilman Dining Center. The duck is so succulent and savory, I should have been rooting for Elmer Fudd to kill Daffy all these years. True story, I once took a takeout tray of duck to my room freshman year, and passed a bunch of ducks by the lake, and I swear that they knew and I felt really guilty about it. There’s a reason duck is served Sunday afternoons.

  3. Atlantic Salmon -- Some shy away from the sustainable fish. Those people are plebeians. The Salmon is one of the highest quality meals d-hall offers, and the sides go along with it -- Couscous and Squash -- offer the best holistic meal of any station, on any day.

  4. Apricot/Bourbon Chicken -- Criminally underrated. Apricot Chicken is reliably great and never dried out.


Seafood Fry -- Nobody asked for this.

Steak Guinness Pie -- Contains neither Steak, nor Guinness, nor Pie.


I'm always hungry, usually talking, and an occasionally funny senior double majoring in Journalism and Leadership Studies with a minor in Business Administration. I am the Vice-President of Academic Affairs for the Richmond College Student Government Association, an Associate Editor with The Collegian, the student newspaper, and a brother of Theta Chi Fraternity. This past summer I interned for the Washington Redskins official website, Redskins.com. I am probably procrastinating as you read this.