IMAGE:  April 2003  GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
APRIL 2003
Volume 95, Issue 4
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Unexpected Expertise  
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Survival of the Richest
Food-Court Press  

Clouding the Issues

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Food-Court Press

Mark McMahon

Mary Ruth Yoe

Lunchtime in Bartlett scores (and uses) dining points.

China clatters, flatware clinks, woks sizzle, and diners talk. From 11:45 a.m. until 1 p.m. each weekday Bartlett Dining Commons—the erstwhile Bartlett Gym—is in the middle of lunchtime hours and in full swing. Eleven food stations, with names that would be at home in a suburban mall (Diner, Harvest, Simmer Soups, the Cutting Board & Kosher Deli, the Big Salad, Pizza Fresco, Sweets, Global, Pasta Kitchen, the Grille, Flavors of Asia) draw steady lines of faculty, staff, and students.

IMAGE:  Lunchtime in Bartlett

For students there are almost as many payment options as menu items: Bartlett takes cash, credit and debit cards, and Flex dollars (deducted from one’s Chicago Card). For those on some of Chicago’s meal plans, dining points (1,100 or 600 points per quarter) are the currency of the day.

Seating choices include secluded corner tables for four and refectory tables dedicated to different residential houses. Because lunch is about meeting and greeting as well as eating, the couches and armchairs that dot the mezzanine (the former running track) are empty except for an occasional worker on break, escaping the dining din.




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