Back in October, we all received emails about Booth’s new Fresh Air Fund. I wasn’t sure what to expect: a fund dedicated to the environment? A reference to NPR’s podcast? No. The Fresh Air Fund is an effort by Booth to nudge us away from Harper and into our larger UChicago surroundings. As part of this, we have been given $60 in credit to dine, snack, and shop at campus cafes, markets, and dining halls. I tried out a few this quarter and walked away pleasantly surprised and eager to go back. Here are my top picks!
Common Knowledge Café (1116 E. 59 th St.)
This student-run cafe is right outside Harper Memorial Library (arguably the most beautiful library on campus). I was impressed with the selection of teas and pastries. I made my order and got some work done next door.
Bartlett Dining Commons (5640 S. University Ave.)
This experience gave me a wave of nostalgia for my college days and a look into UChicago’s past. The cafeteria is on the second floor of what used to be the University’s gym (you’ll notice athletic records from the ‘50’s on the walls),I enjoyed the variety of food offered. There was a taco station, a salad bar, a pizza bar, a hot bar with carved meats, and unlimited dessert. Needless to say, I left fully fed.
Hutchinson Commons (5706 S. University Ave.)
Hutchison Commons is UChicago’s version of a food court. Come for the selection of BBQ, Middle Eastern, dessert, noodle, and Mexican food stands. Eat in the food hall, which is sure to remind you of Harry Potter.
Grounds of Being (1025 E. 58 th St.)
Located in the basement of Chicago’s Divinity School, Grounds of Being is probably my favorite cafe on campus. The selection of coffee and teas was impressive, but what I most enjoyed were the food options – there were plates from nearby Thai, Middle Eastern, and Indian restaurants. Fun fact: all proceeds go back to Divinity students in the form of grants, reimbursements, conference planning, and financial aid.
Ex Libris Cafe:Nestled in Regenstein Library, this cafe offers drinks, great cheese sandwiches (tip: ask them to toast them for you), and even better seating if you can grab a spot before it gets busy with students hitting the books.