Explore Your Dining Options

Here are some tips to help you have the best experience possible when the lunch crunch gets real.

September 01, 2023

Know Your Options

Whether you’re looking for a full sit-down meal or something grab-and-go, Columbia Dining has options for you. Exploring what’s available will you help beat the lunch crunch when the dining halls get busy!

  • Eight Columbia Dining locations offering in-unit or to-go meals
  • Express dining at Chef Mike's Sub Shop Express and JJ's Take 4
  • Retail dining at Blue Java and Cafe East
  • Off-campus dining and delivery with Flex
  • Barnard Dining

We heard you wanted more space, more options, and more Columbia Dining, so we opened TWO new locations this fall:

  1. Grace Dodge Dining Hall at Teachers College
  2. The Fac Shack in Wien Courtyard

Make sure to check out these new additions, plus all the other great options we offer. See locations, menus, and hours in the Eat With Us section of the website.

Use your meal swipes for an express meal at:

  • Chef Mike's Sub Shop Express: skip the lines by taking a pre-made sub special from the express section. 
  • JJ's Place Take 4: Grab four items from the Take 4 shelves at the entrance to build your own to-go meal. Options include yogurt, mixed nuts, granola bars, cheese sticks, chips, and more.

Best for: when you're short on time

Sushi. Soup. Paninis. Pastries. All of that - and so much more - is available with Dining Dollars or Flex at:

  • Blue Java Butler, Everett Library Cafe at Teachers College, and Blue Java Uris
  • Cafe East

You can also use Dining Dollars or Flex for express options at Chef Mike's Sub Shop or at JJ's Take 4.

Best for: when you're short on time

Go with Flex! Flex dollars can be used for dining-in at select restaurants and grocery stores around campus. So whether you're in the mood for pizza, noodles, or a burger, or you just want to pick up some snacks for your room, Columbia Dining has you covered. 

Best for: exploring the local food scene

No time to make a food run? No problem. Use your Flex to order online food delivery.

Best for: can't-stop-for-anything study sessions or your weekend streaming binge

Where offered, use your eco-container or purchase a 50 cent compostable container and take your meal to go. Eat outside, in your res hall lounge, or wherever!

Best for: dining al fresco and/or meeting up with friends

Know before you go! The main dining hall web pages have an occupancy indicator that provides a capacity snapshot in the seating area. Check it out before you head to your favorite spot. Also keep in mind:

  • The King's Table room in John Jay provides extra seating when the main dining room is full. Enter the King's Table through the door near the fusion station.
  • Take your Grace Didge Dining Hall meal to-go and grab a seat in the outdoor courtyard between Whittier Hall and Grace Dodge Hall.
  • Hepburn Lounge and the Uris patio are great spots to enjoy your Chef Mike's sub!

Through the Columbia-Barnard meal exchange, Columbia Dining plan holders can use their meal swipes at Barnard Dining locations. Select locations will also accept Dining Dollars and Flex.

Best for: using your meal swipes at new places

Do you and four friends want a chance to win $100 Flex each just by eating with Columbia Dining? Find out how