a current student here
There are two main places to eat your meals on-campus: Lawrence Dining Hall and Ram'Â?s Head located in Sykes Student Union. Lawrence is buffet-style eating: you use one meal swipe to get in and you can eat whatever you want, as much as you want. The food at Lawrence is nothing spectacular, but most of it is not technically bad. It'Â?s what you would expect from college dining. Occasionally they'Â?ll have something that you might actually really enjoy. The great thing about Lawrence is the variety of food. You will always find something you like. There are some stations that have the same options every day, including the salad bar, soup, fruit, pizza, made-to-order pasta, made-to-order wraps, waffle makers, burgers, fries, cereal, bagels, and hot dogs. There are other stations that vary what they make on a day-to-day basis. Some of these options include meatloaf, chicken nuggets (so delicious), grilled chicken, pork, chicken pot pie, cooked vegetables, baked potato bar, fajita bar, Frito salad bar, mashed potato bar, nacho bar, and several other options. The best thing about Lawrence by far is the ice cream. They have a dozen different hard ice cream options, but they also have a soft serve machine. That can't be beat.
Sykes is a completely different machine. The way the meal plan works at Sykes is that one meal swipe is worth $4.70. All the food at Sykes has a price, so you can buy up to $4.70 worth of stuff and use one meal swipe. If your food costs over $4.70, you can either pay for the balance with your Flex (you get $250 a semester with your meal plan), or you can use two meal swipes. If you have a lot of roll over meals (your meals roll over from week to week during the semester), then it'Â?s smarter to just use two meals rather than use up all your Flex. Flex rolls over from semester to semester and year to year, so it'Â?s nice to accumulate some roll over Flex that you can use if you ever want to eat on campus once you don'Â?t have a meal plan anymore.
The other places for quick eating on campus are Einstein'Â?s Bagels, Starbucks, Java City, Larry'Â?s Market, the Pod in Main Hall, and the Diner. All of these places use your meal plan and accept meal swipes as well as flex. They function on the same system that Sykes does, where your meal swipe is worth $4.70. Einstein'Â?s is a great breakfast option. Their bagels are delicious, and in my opinion they have the best coffee on campus. Also, everyone that works there is super friendly. The only downside of Einstein'Â?s is that if you try to go before your 9:30 or 10:00 class, or if you go on a weekend morning between 10 AM and 1 PM, you will be standing in line for half an hour, because everyone else is doing the same thing as you. If you want to go before your 8 AM or 9 AM, you should have little to no line. The Starbucks on campus functions just like a normal Starbucks, so they carry the full menu. The great thing about using meals here is that instead of having to use $5 to pay for a Frappucino, you can just use a meal swipe. But again, right before and after classes, the line is usually out the door, and you will be standing in line for half an hour. Don'Â?t expect to just be able to grab coffee there before class. Java City is located near the entrance of Sykes, and the line here is rarely ever long. They have a smaller selection of bagels and pastries than Starbucks and Einstein's, and they usually only have two different kinds of coffee brewing. However, their coffee is good and really strong. If I have a cup of coffee from Java City, I am wired for the rest of the day. Larry'Â?s Market is located right outside of Lawrence, and they sell a lot of snack foods, everything from bags of chips, dip, candy, peanut butter, cereal, cleaning products, soda, Ben & Jerry's, and Bagel Bites. You can purchase anything in the store with Flex, which is great. The downside is that you could get anything in Larry's at a Grocery Store for much cheaper, but since you already have the Flex, it'Â?s nice to have the option. Larry's also sells packaged sandwiches, which can be combined with a small bag of chips and a drink for one meal swipe. This meal swipe combination also works at the Pod. Nothing else in Larry'Â?s or the Pod can be purchased with a meal; you have to use Flex. The Pod sells Java City coffee, soup, soda, juice, pre-packaged sandwiches, salads, and wraps, bagels, and pre-packaged cookies and granola bars.
The Diner is open for lunch, dinner, and late-night junk food cravings (It's open from 12 to 12 on weekdays and 4PM to 1 AM on weekends). It'Â?s a sit down, order up style. They have everything from burgers to wraps to milkshakes to mac and cheese bites. The food is deliciously greasy and fattening, so if you eat at the diner, you will feel like you need a shower afterwards. If the line is long, you will have to wait a good 15-30 minutes for your food. On a bad night, some people wait up to an hour for their food (if you order a quesadilla, be prepared to wait). But if you go when it'Â?s not crowded, you won'Â?t have a problem.