Chick-Fil-A is one food joint you can find in Trailblazer Cafe. Emily Mildenhall ranks six campus dining places based on selection, availability, location and quality. Photo by Breanna Biorato.
As a student who’s been on a Dixie State University meal plan for the past four years, on-campus restaurants play a fairly large role in my daily routine.
There are currently six on-campus dining locations, a couple of which have multiple restaurants within them, but not every dining location is created equal.
As a resource for students and faculty alike, I’ve ranked each one based on selection, availability, location and quality.
The Trailblazer Café
First, there’s the Trailblazer Café located in the Kenneth N. Gardner Student Center right in the middle of DSU’s campus. The café provides a decent variety of entrée choices from personal pizzas at Pizza Hut to teriyaki chicken and rice bowls at Ace Sushi to the infamous Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich (Popeye’s is better, but I digress).
The Trailblazer Café gets an overall rating of 4/5 stars based on the breakdown below:
Selection: ★★★½ Availability: ★★★½ Location: ★★★★★ Quality: ★★★★
My main beef with the café is that there are not many options for vegan and vegetarian students (see what I did there?). While I personally do eat meat, I’d like to see more options for vegetable servings in the main food hub on campus.
I also wish the hours were a bit more inclusive; the café is closed on weekends and is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on most days, which can be a disadvantage for students with early morning classes who might have to wait hours before they can eat breakfast. What if your classes start right at 11 a.m. and you can’t eat until you’re done at 4 p.m.?
The Market at Dixie
The other dining location in the Gardner is the Market at Dixie. The Market has your typical gas station food like hot dogs and tornadoes (they’re like taquitos, except… actually, they might just be taquitos), a coffee and Keurig station, and a Subway.
For what it is, the Market at Dixie is pretty good. Sure, it’s mostly fatty foods and snacks, but I get it. We’re in college, after all, and stress eating is all in a day’s work.
As a whole, I give it a 3.7/5 stars based on the following ratings:
Selection: ★★½ Availability: ★★★★½ Location: ★★★★★ Quality: ★★★
The Gardner is at the center of campus, making it prime real estate for a dining spot, and the fact that the Market opens at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. every day except Sundays gives it a leg up on the café.
That said, you can’t always trust those day-old tornadoes, and the Subway runs out of certain types of bread fairly quickly. If you want something healthy, Subway is an OK choice here, but you’re still surrounded by candy bars and jerky that costs $10 for three bites.
Stacks is located on the second floor of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons and specializes in sandwiches and smoothies. You can also get salads, soups, cookies and ice cream, which is impressive for such a small restaurant.
I eat at Stacks fairly often since I have several courses in the HCC. It’s super convenient to have a well-rounded dining spot right next to the library, too. Brain drain can make you hungry!
Based on the same criteria, Stacks gets a 4.4/5 star rating:
Selection: ★★★★½ Availability: ★★★ Location: ★★★★★ Quality: ★★★★
Paninis and wraps and s’mores cookies, oh my! Stacks has the highest rating so far.
I will always advocate for campus restaurants being open on the weekends, and Stacks unfortunately isn’t. Still, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday isn’t too bad for being so easily accessible after your English classes.
I’ve liked every food item I’ve ordered from Stacks, and you can always request a sandwich or salad without meat if you’re vegan or vegetarian. A good number of the meals have a substantial baseline amount of veggies in them, too!
Infusion is also located in the HCC, except it’s on the first floor next to registration and parking management. Let’s be honest here; Infusion is just a limited Starbucks with a different name, and it ranks the lowest on this list with 3.1/5 stars:
Selection: ★★★ Availability: ★★½ Location: ★★★ Quality: ★★★★
Keep in mind that this ranking is in no way intended to be a diss on this dining location. Infusion is a respectable coffee kiosk with muffins, bagels and donuts, and I love Starbucks frappuccinos as much as anyone else.
The main issue is availability. Infusion is open from 7:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, which is great for morning people, but closing at noon? That’s like half a shift per day, and I know for a fact that college students consume caffeine way past lunchtime — at least, I do.
In addition, the first floor of the HCC is kind of a wonky place for a coffee shop. I’m not saying I’m not happy it’s there, but it’s the smallest floor of the building in terms of accessibility and feels out of place right next to the offices that students don’t have access to.
Brooks’ Stop has a special place in my heart because I happen to live in the dorms right next to it, so my review may be a bit biased.
Being so close to the Nisson Towers and Campus View Suites is one of Brooks’ Stop’s many strengths. It’s on the edge of campus, but that doesn’t stop students from coming to grab a burger or breakfast platter and hang out at the volleyball courts.
Because of its versatility, Brooks’ Stop gets a solid 4.1/5 stars:
Selection: ★★★½ Availability: ★★★★★ Location: ★★★★ Quality: ★★★★
Unlike any of the other campus restaurants, Brooks’ Stop is open every day, including the weekends — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday – Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It may not be open in the early mornings, but at least students have somewhere to go on Sunday when nothing else on campus is open.
The food choices are also pretty comprehensive. There’s a cold case full of sushi and boba tea; a wide array of classic hot food options, like burgers, fries, chicken baskets and pizza; a freezer case with ice cream and microwaveable meals; and even a vegan chicken sandwich with no meat in it at all.
Brooks’ Stop also has snack aisles with chips and candy, and like Infusion, has Starbucks drinks available.
Grazers is DSU’s most recently opened dining location and can be found on the first floor of the Human Performance Center on the edge of campus. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on most weeknights and is closed on the weekends.
I was super excited when I first learned that a fitness-oriented restaurant was in the works. I’m certainly no athlete, but Grazers had the potential to be a healthy option for students that wouldn’t require compromising calories.
I can say with confidence that Grazers earned its good reputation with 4/5 stars:
Selection: ★★★½ Availability: ★★★★½ Location: ★★★ Quality: ★★★★★
The juices, acai bowls, parfaits and smoothies the restaurant offers are all winners. The high emphasis on fruit makes clean eating easy while still being delicious. Don’t even get me started on their fluffy crepes…
My only real problem with Grazers is that it’s in the HPC, which I have no classes in. I don’t really have an excuse to go there other than for the food, but I can’t deny that it makes perfect sense to have the healthiest food in the building with the exercise equipment.
All in all, there’s something for everyone within DSU’s six restaurants. Each location caters to a different taste and time frame, but don’t be afraid to try something new the next time you’re eating lunch on campus.