Your guide to lunchtime dining during Schwarzman Center construction

Inside view of Commons dining hall
University Commons at the Schwarzman Center serves lunch to more than 1,100 students, faculty, and staff. (Photo by Michael Marsland)

Commons dining hall at the Schwarzman Center is closed as of Aug. 14, marking the beginning of the building’s approximately three-year metamorphosis into a center for Yale undergraduate and graduate/professional students.

Each day, Commons serves lunch to more than 1,100 students, faculty, and staff, so its closure is expected to impact other campus dining operations, especially those nearby.

The good news is that there are plenty of on-campus options for students and faculty with meal plans who frequented Commons for lunch— as well as some new ones.

Here are some tips for lunchtime dining while Commons is closed:

Check for long lines with the Yale Dining app

The Yale Dining Fast Track app (available on iTunes or the Google Play Store) provides estimates of the wait time in any residential dining hall — a figure updated every five minutes, based on the number of individuals entering the facility during the previous 45 minutes.

The app also includes a map to all Yale residential dining rooms and campus cafés; dining menus for today and tomorrow; menu item nutrition information; and a link for “Meals2Go” orders (see below), among other features.

Go a bit farther afield

In anticipation of the influx of former Commons customers, Yale Dining has arranged for extra seating and food service at Berkeley and Silliman colleges — which already see large lunchtime crowds — and there will be available seats at the dining halls serving Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin colleges. Dining officials are concerned, however, that those facilities will be strained in the wake of Commons’ closing.

Those willing to go a few extra steps will find open seats and shorter lines at other residential dining halls, most of which are currently operating at less than two-thirds capacity, such as Davenport, Pierson, Branford, Saybrook, and Jonathan Edwards colleges. There will be some pop-up-style food events including sushi, dim sum, salsa bar, and the all-time student favorite — freshly prepared chicken tenders — all happening at specific dining halls. Check out the Yale Dining Fast Track app and website for more information.

Each residential dining hall has its own architecture and ambience — as well as its own culinary offerings. This is a chance to discover a corner of campus you might not visit otherwise.

Go at a different time

Going to eat even half an hour earlier or later than your usual time is one way to beat the lunch crunch. Yale Hospitality is extending service hours in several dining halls.

Davenport will be open 30 minutes early for lunch (starting at 11 a.m.); Trumbull and Hopper will remain open 60 minutes later (until 2:30 p.m.).

Try the Bulldog Café

Diners can also enjoy lunch at The Bulldog Café, which opens Aug. 30 in the Hall of Graduate Studies (soon to be a hub for the humanities) at 320 York St. The café will offer sandwiches, salads, sweet and savory pastries, snacks, and hot and cold beverages.  The Bulldog Café will be open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. daily.

Lunch to-go

Meals2Go” can be ordered via the Yale Dining Fast Track app or online at: Lunch orders must be placed by 2 p.m. the day prior. Dinner orders can be placed as late as noon the day of.

There will also be several new grab-and-go options at the KBT Café, similar to what you will find available at the Bulldog Café.

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