North vs. South: The Fight of Fine Dining

Author: Andy de la Garza

Many timeless debates have been discussed for generations without reaching a unanimous conclusion: cats versus dogs. Chocolate versus vanilla. Sweet versus savory. But no contention is quite as fierce as the one that rings across the Notre Dame campus at the start of every year: North Dining Hall versus South Dining Hall.

As waves of new freshmen flood the campus, they are bombarded with unmatched tradition and fellowship. And, as upperclassmen welcome them into their new homes, they instill in the first-year students’ minds a raw tribalism for the dining hall on their respective side of campus. Once Welcome Weekend commences, these new Notre Dame fledglings can be seen defending the honor of their respective dining halls, some refusing to even step foot in the opposing eatery. This pride, this dedication to something seemingly as trivial as a dining hall, is a perfect representation of the passion that is present on the Notre Dame campus.

It would be impossible to discuss the long-standing debate of the dining hall without offering the pros and cons of both locations. For the sake of transparency, I feel that it is important to note my close proximity to North Dining Hall. However, my ability to be easily pressured by my friends residing on South Quad to make the trek across campus for dinner means that I have eaten many meals in both dining halls, making me the perfect source to relay the unbiased truths about both of these territories.

Many North Dining Hall supporters claim that the NDH is superior due to its modern design. If by modern you mean that North Dining Hall has tables from this century unlike its counterpart, then this dining hall is the peak of contemporary design. In addition to possessing a sleek interior, North Dining Hall has upper and lower level seating options, making it the perfect destination for gazing out the window at the beautifully dull winter skies. Perhaps the biggest highlight of this dining location are the coveted booths located towards the back of the dining hall. While it is even rarer to find a booth not speckled with crumbs and dirty napkins than it is to find one available for use, these seats offer the most comfortable dining experience between the two locations (when they can be acquired).

Moving on to South Dining Hall, this sight is often likened to the Great Hall from the “Harry Potter” series. Unfortunately, the food at this location does not magically deliver itself to your table; instead, you are more likely to find the sticky remnants from a table’s previous occupant. Nevertheless, South Dining Hall offers a more soothing experience than its counterpart. If it were not for the constant fear that you will drop a utensil and be met with the applause of every student in the dining hall, I would say that this location is a lovely place to recharge between your classes. It is also worth warning you that of the two locations, this one is more likely to be flooded with fans, families and prospective students. While it is a sweet sight to look on as an aging couple shows their children or grandchildren their alma mater, food comes first.

In all seriousness, adequate food can be eaten at either of the two dining halls on campus. You are just as likely to have your spirits lifted by the Boom Boom Chicken Salad at North Dining Hall as you are at South. Likewise, you are just as likely to feel defeated by the same dry chicken served three nights in a row for dinner at either location. At the end of the day, you should simply choose the location which most conveniently meets your need for sustenance.

In conclusion, the best dining hall on campus is…Chick-fil-A. Use your Flex Points wisely.