By Patrick McAuliffe
For the final installment in my tale of dining hall reviews and Sodexual encounters, I wanted to be as thorough as possible in Hinman. It’s a rather good dining hall, even questionably worth the airfare to get there from Dickinson. I’ve enjoyed this experience, and I hope you, dear reader, have enjoyed reading about my experience. Onward!
If I haven’t dropped enough hints throughout my column already, Hinman dining hall is so bloody far away. It’s convenient if you have lots of classes in the lecture halls or you’re a library nut and don’t feel like taking the hike to Mountainview. However, in a similar way to CIW, the dining hall is fit snugly among the residence halls, forming a self-contained living community that gives off a feeling of isolation. It’s an area that fit my expectation of “residential community” when I first visited Binghamton.
Inside the building, like Mountainview, there are two levels, with the main dining area on the second floor. The former Night Owl (God rest its soul) resembled CIW’s convenience store and grill on the opposite floor as dining (in Hinman’s case, on the first floor). I am honored to have visited it during the first semester. Sometimes I still walk its hallowed aisles.
Upstairs, a quaint little dining area awaits you. Condiments and plastic cutlery divide the two sides of the dining hall in one of the most accessible and obvious places of any dining hall. The soup and salad bar is also quite visible directly behind the cash registers, with the other stations (including pizza, a deli, Pacific cuisine, and a grill) surrounding it. The major flaw in this design is that everything seems rather tight, making it hard for large groups of people to stand in line or buzz about getting sodas or soup or what have you. Many of the stations also seem smaller than at other dining halls. The deli is only capable of up to two workers at a time, and the grill’s counter space is a bit limited. If you are claustrophobic, might want to stay away from Hinman at around noon.
The major item I took away from Hinman (after paying for it, of course *clears throat*) is the pizza. The pizza station has the most variety of pizza out of any dining hall. Unlike the others, the types of pizza don’t change day-to-day, but all at once they cover every base. Veggie? Got it. Meat lover’s? Sure. Various types of meat? Yeah. Hot sauce? No problem. The only problem is that the dough used to make the slices feels like hot, wet, greasy paper. If it was made a bit thicker, Hinman pizza could have a shot at competing with regular pizza places.
The dining area itself is rather spacious and offers many levels at which to eat your food, with regular tables and high chairs throughout. Hinman’s hours aren’t bad either, covering a solid 12 hours on weekdays (8 to 8) and, like every dining hall except C4, opening at 11am on weekends. I’m not a big fan of the 11am opening time, although it makes sense if people are sleeping in after a long night of whatever you kids are into these days. I think a solid time would be 10am. Just putting it out there.
Since this is my last installment, I’d like to rank the dining halls that I’ve acquired sustenance from throughout the year so far. In fourth place is C4, mainly for its mediocrity. It’s like a generic-brand product: nothing particularly special, it’ll be there if all else fails, and you don’t go in expecting stellar quality. In third is CIW because of the strange hours and the loss of one of its only redeeming qualities, Night Owl (goodnight, sweet prince). I’m sorry, Mac and Cheese, but there are too many negatives. In second is my recent eatery Hinman, with solid hours and solid choices, just a bit too far away and a bit too small. This leaves Appalachian as the best dining hall on campus. Despite the labor required to get there, the quality of their food and the politeness of their staff make such a journey worth it. Since it is such a rare treat for non-Mountainview residents, the even stranger hours have little effect on us ground-dwellers.
It’s time for me to sign off from non-political food commentary, but I’ll be back in later issues railing against SJWs and arguing for rational self-interest, so stick around! I’m glad I did this. Now I have more Sodexual experience under my belt (which is also becoming tighter). Happy eating!