Escape the dining halls and swipe elsewhere

How to make the most out of your valuable meal exchanges on Grounds


Rising Roll, located on the second floor of New Cabell, takes meal exchange swipes for a select menu. 

Madison McNamee | Cavalier Daily

The first few weeks of school have passed, which is plentiful time to realize that dining halls are not the most ideal spot to curb your hunger. While their locations and unlimited access to first-years may be convenient, the same cannot be said for their provided food options. Fortunately, there are a multitude of meal exchange opportunities for students on Grounds. 

A meal exchange counts as one dining hall swipe, which is beneficial when you’re a first-year with endless swipes or even an upperclassman with a smaller dining plan. If the latter is your case, and you’re saving up for unexpected hunger pangs in between studying — or even if you’re a just a first-year looking for an escape from Newcomb — here’s some advice on how to make the most out of your swipes. 

I will forever advocate for Rising Roll, located on the second floor of New Cabell. Not only is it a convenient location for classes, but its menu provides more flavorful options than any dining hall. You can often find me there for breakfast devouring their oatmeal drenched in brown sugar and toppings. The meal exchange also includes a cup of coffee, ideal for breaks after early morning classes. 

If you’re at Rising Roll for lunch, I recommend the Hummus Veggie Wrap, which includes chips and a coffee or fountain soda. People also rave about the Turkey Cheezer, and new options include two salads, which I assume are far superior to the mediocre salad bar at O’Hill. The inclusion of a drink and side along with a delicious meal makes Rising Roll a worthwhile swipe. Some may argue West Range Café is the better alternative on Central Grounds, but my loyalty remains with Rising Roll for getting me through sleepy-eyed mornings.

For Sundays spent studying curled up in 1515, the Crumbs on the Corner meal exchange is essential. The location offers assorted salads and sandwiches that you typically have to pay for with plus dollars in Clark Library, Crossroads or Newcomb. Not only is this a prime meal deal, but it also includes a choice of cookie along with a hot coffee or tea. The caffeine from the drink boosts studying energy and the cookie simply boosts morale. Surely no dining hall can provide such an experience. Pro Tip — go for the lemon flake cookie, always. Just trust me, there’s no better accompaniment to cramming for classes than cookies.

For those more drawn to name brands, Pavilion XI, more commonly known as “the Pav,” never fails. Located in Newcomb Hall, this cafeteria style spot offers Five Guys, Subway, Chick-fil-A and Wahoo Nori. Of those delectable fast food spots, both Subway and Chick-fil-A offer meal exchanges. At Subway, you can get any six-inch sub with a drink and chips, which includes unlimited toppings, so load up for maximum fullness. At Chick-fil-A, the meal exchange is a chicken sandwich, either normal or spicy, with a drink and waffle fries. This is undoubtedly a satisfactory meal, far more exceptional than the bland crispy chicken sandwich O’Hill provides every single day. When you just want a taste of commercial deliciousness, head downstairs to the Pav instead of the Newcomb.

While I hardly ventured to McLeod Hall during my first year because of its distant location, it’s now a convenient option for first-years, as numerous lectures take place there due to the reconstruction of the Chemistry Building. Last year, I consistently heard Nursing students rave about the appetizing options Café McLeod offers, and now I finally understand. 

For one swipe, you can choose from any of the paninis, subs, wraps or salads, which come with a fountain soda, a side of carrots, whole fruit or chips. This may sound similar to aforementioned options, but they have a variety of sides, not just the typical chips, so there are options for those who want to fill their appetites with healthier options. 

The Chicken, Pear and Walnut Salad is also a staple at Café McLeod with its nutritious kale base. While it may not be exactly comparable to Roots, it is still quality food for those not on the coveted Corner meal plan. Java City is also located within the cafe and offers smoothies, pastries, fruit and coffee for meal swipes. Take advantage of the far walk to class and treat yourself to a meal exchange at McLeod.

When the dining halls just won’t do, head elsewhere on Grounds and utilize your swipe for something more satisfactory. Avoid hanger and indulge at the Pav, grab a quick bite on Central Grounds at Rising Roll or even take a visit to 1515 for Crumbs on the Corner. Whatever you choose, it for sure will be more appetizing than the same dull meal being served at the dining hall for the third day in a row.

Maddie McNamee is a Food Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at

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