It's lunch time—grab your trays

University City is rich in restaurants, and chances are, you work within a few blocks of one run by Penn. Spread around campus from 39th Street on the west end to 33rd Street on the east, Penn’s dozen dining eateries offer something for every palette—from strict kosher fare to make-your-own stir fry.

And right now, there’s extra incentive to sit down at one of the all-you-can-eat places or grab a quick bite to go: Penn Dining Services is offering a 10 percent discount with a purchase of $5 or more or a half-price meal at one of Penn’s all-you-can-eat or kosher eateries. Check your mail for coupons.

Laurie Cousart, who runs Penn Dining as director of Business Services, says that faculty and especially staff may not know that anyone with a PennCard can visit any of the dining facilities for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. Cousart encourages Penn people to try them out, especially those who work with students, because it’s a great way for them to enjoy a meal with student co-workers on their own turf. “It’s another way to connect to the real life of the institution,” says Cousart.

The selection around campus includes residential dining halls, where the food is of the all-you-can-eat variety; kosher dining at Falk Dining Commons, (215 S. 39th St.), which has the highest level of kosher supervision; and retail dining, which ranges from the retro-themed Triangle Diner (3716 Spruce St.) to Mark’s Café, located in the lower level of Van Pelt Library.

Cousart understands it can be a little bit scary to wander into a busy dining hall and sit among students for lunch. “When I have taken colleagues, for some of them, it’s intimidating,” she says. So, initially you may feel comfortable checking out one of the quieter residential dining halls, such as Kings Court/English House (3465 Sansom St.).

For those with dietary restrictions, chances are very good that you’ll find something you can eat. Low-fat, low-carb, vegetarian and vegan options are available at every meal, including fresh salad bars, vegan chili and turkey burgers.

There’s standard college dining hall fare available, such as pizza and deli sandwiches, as well as not-so-common dishes, like sushi from Stern Dining (3465 Sansom St.). You’ll also find popular brands like Subway, Chick Fil-A and Freshens frozen yogurt at 1920 Commons, coffee shop offerings at Accenture Cyber Café (220 S. 33rd St.) and a variety of made-to-order dishes at Houston Market (3417 Spruce St.).

If you get a craving for a thick shake and burger for lunch, check out the Triangle Diner, which conveniently delivers food anywhere on campus.

Faculty and staff can use either Dining Dollar$, PennCash, credit card or cash at the various locations. You can even arrange your own faculty/staff meal plan, which is valid at any residential location and the kosher dining hall. (See sidebar for details on PennCash and Dining Dollar$). All retail locations accept major credit cards, while every location—residential, retail and kosher—accepts cash for payment. Meals at all-you-can eat locations cost $6.60 for breakfast, $9.40 for lunch and $13.50 for dinner.

For more information about Penn Dining, including menus, go to: www.business-services.penn.edu/dining/

Originally published on April 14, 2005