Here's the lowdown on dining plans and on-campus eateries

Thursday, July 25, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
Melanie Brown, a senior at MU, sorts through fresh blackberries in the dining hall of the Missouri Athletic Training Center on Monday. Brown has worked in the dining hall for five years.

COLUMBIA — Incoming students have a new meal plan and several dining options for on-campus eating.

In fall 2012, MU changed the dining plan system to accommodate all students. Instead of using a weekly dining plan, students now purchase meals in blocks of 175, 225 or 275 for the semester. Additional blocks of 25 meals can be purchased separately throughout the semester.

What is Zoutrition?

Zoutrition is a free online tool to assist students and public to identify balanced meals and food allergies when they are dining on campus.

This tool can be used to check facts and nutritional information by meal or individual item.

How does it work? Go to the website, select the dining hall location and check the menu. Then select the meal and the food choices.

More information: 882-3663, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Twitter: @mucampusdining

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The meals are loaded onto a student ID card, which is swiped at the entrance of a dining hall. The plan can be used in any of the MU residential dining locations.

Here's a rundown of the options, also called "swipes":

  • Block plan 275: $3,450; covers 275 meals per semester or 550 for the academic year. This plan is good for students who plan to eat three meals a day.
  • Block plan 225: $3,030; covers 225 meals per semester or 450 for the academic year. This works well for students who tend to skip breakfast.
  • Block plan 175: $2,610; covers 175 meals per semester or 350 for the academic year. Students who like to eat off-campus or skip meals often will make this choice.
  • E.Z. Charge: This is an optional, debit-style, prepaid balance on the card. It can be used at retail food outlets on campus such as Starbucks and Wheatstone Bistro (in Memorial Union); Mizzou Market (various locations);  J Café (Reynolds Journalism Institute); Kate & Emma's, Mort's, Pomodoro, Sunshine Sushi and Do Mundo's (all in the Student Center); Bookmark Café (Ellis Library); and Catalyst Café (Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center).

At Summer Welcome students were provided a map of the different dining areas on campus. On the back of the map was a guide to help students determine which block system is best for them.

Students have the ability to change their dining plan until the fifth week of the semester. Because each block plan varies in price per meal, by choosing the smallest block and adding blocks of 25 throughout the semester, students will be paying more per meal, said Michael Wuest, marketing manager of Campus Dining Services.

The new block system also converts meals to a partial meal system, which allows students to have easier access to items from Baja, Emporium and Time Out without using an entire meal to purchase one or two items.

Emporium and Time Out are small grocers located in Plaza 900 and Dobbs Pavilion. Both offer an array of items that students can tote back to their dorm rooms.

Baja is a small eatery located in Bingham Commons, and along with the other dining options below, is popular for a quick lunch.


Where: A popular stage for group events, Plaza 900 is just over the bridge from Hatch, Shurz and College Avenue residence halls. It also caters to hundreds of students on campus and is a hot spot for college tours.

Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, Plaza 900 opens its doors for breakfast at 7:15 a.m. and closes at 9:45 a.m. Lunch service begins at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 2:15 p.m. Plaza 900 opens back up for dinner at 4:30 p.m. and closes at 8:30 p.m.

During the weekend, lunch and dinner are offered at the same time the meals are offered during the week.

Menu: Options very from pasta to burritos. The menu options change daily.

Chances are: Long lines prevent students from making a fast dash around lunch time. The best time for snagging a meal at Plaza 900 is just as it opens, or before closing. Although the dining hall offers plenty of seating, popular meal times crowd the dining area and make eating with friends difficult.

Try this: Plaza 900 has many options, but one of its more popular meals is made at the On Stage stop, where hot, made-to-order meals are prepared, such as its pierogi. This dining hall is also known for its deli options.

Secrets revealed: If students don't have time to wait in line for breakfast, Plaza 900 allows students to make their own waffles.


Where: Rollins sits across the Life Sciences Center attached to the Hudson residence hall.

Hours of operation: Monday through Thursday, Rollins starts breakfast at 7 a.m. and ends at 10:30 a.m.; lunch is available between 11 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.; and dinner is from 4 to 7 p.m.

Friday offers breakfast and lunch at the same times, but in lieu of dinner, Rollins stays open for Late Night. Saturday service begins with breakfast at 8 a.m. and lunch between 10:30 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Rollins doesn't close its doors between the two meals on Saturday.

Sunday's breakfast commences at 8 a.m. and rolls into lunch at 10:30 a.m. Dinner isn't served until 4 p.m. From 2:15 p.m. through the dinner bell at 4 p.m., Rollins offers meals from its grill, deli, soup and salad stations. These stations also stay open from Monday through Thursday.

Rollins also provides a la carte options after other dining halls close for the day. Although the most popular item during Rollins Late Night is its famous pizza, the dining hall also offers milkshakes and patty melts. Between Sunday and Thursday, Rollins Late Night operates between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. On Friday and Saturday, Late Night starts at 4 p.m. and stays open until 11 p.m.

Chances are: The lunch rush gets busy at 11 a.m., the line will snake down into the lobby and will take up to an hour to clear. Rollins Late Night can also get pretty rowdy, be prepared for loud music and patrons.

Try this: Rollins is well known for its hot pizza. It offers the classic cheese and pepperoni options as well as other toppings for Rollins Late Night-goers.

Secrets revealed: Rollins is one of three dining halls on campus with a to-go option. Students can ask for a to-go box and stock it with different meal options. One box is one meal and must be closed when leaving the dining hall.


Where: Situated near Lathrop, Laws and Jones halls, Pavilion at Dobbs caters to students living near Greek housing and Memorial Stadium.

Hours of operation: Pavilion at Dobbs remains open from 7:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with a small break between breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is served from open to 10:30 a.m. and lunch starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. From 4 to 7:30 p.m. dinner is available to students. Between lunch and dinner, the grill, deli, soup and salad stations stay open for late lunchers.

Through the weekend, lines out the doors signify brunch is being served. Instead of offering a breakfast or lunch option, Pavilion at Dobbs opens its doors for brunch at 11 a.m. and starts serving from its grill, deli, soup and salad stations between 2 and 4 p.m. Dinner starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m.

Menu: Its burgers are well-known because they are made with Missouri Legacy Beef. It has different menu options daily, also a deli and vegetarian items.

Chances are: Students might not get the opportunity to eat brunch every weekend. Lines get long and sometimes forces students to choose a different dining option.

Try thisAlthough brunch can be a long wait, the omelets and waffles are worth the wait.

Secrets revealed: When bad weather prevents comfortable travel to dining halls, residents of Lathrop, Laws and Jones can travel to the Pavilion at Dobbs through an underground tunnel network.


Inside Johnston Hall, Sabai offers Southeast Asian cuisine, but will be closed to students for renovations this syear


Where: This new dining hall is located inside the recently renovated Mark Twain residence hall and will focus most of its efforts on an improved deli station.

Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, breakfast begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 10 a.m. An hour later, lunch is served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Mark on 5th St. opens its doors back up at 4:30 p.m. for dinner and closes at 7 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, the dining hall offers brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and starts dinner at 4:30 p.m. The dining hall closes at 7 p.m. on the weekends.

Menu: Signature items include freshly baked breads, and a variety of hot/cold protein options such as meatballs and chicken breast strips. The Mark also offers pizza, salad, desserts and other items. The menu might include international cuisine as Mexican, Brazilian and Asian.

Chances are: This dining hall is a trek for students in other residence halls on campus, so it won't see as much traffic as Plaza 900. If a student is looking for a less crowded atmosphere, this may be the place.

Try this: The new deli station will offer students hot, fresh-baked breads and toasted sandwiches. The station will boast fresh ingredients.

Secrets revealed: The Mark on 5th St. will also provide carry-out boxes so students who are in a hurry to cross campus will have a meal ready to be devoured.


Where: Baja Grill is located in Bingham Commons, which connects Schurz and Hatch residence halls. The Commons acts as a large study area where students have the opportunity to work on homework while enjoying Mexican food.

Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, Baja Grill caters to late-day eaters and operates from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. During the weekend, Baja Grill opens at noon on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Menu: Its specially is Mexican food — tacos, burritos, quesadillas and nachos. It also offers desserts and smoothies.

Chances are: If students aren't taking advantage of Rollins Late Night, or if Rollins Late Night is closed for the evening, Baja will be swamped with students hoping to get a quick meal before going out.

Try thisBaja Grill's nachos are well-liked, but students should also take the opportunity to try new dishes such as the Jamaican sandwich.

Secrets revealed: Baja Grill is also known for its creamy smoothies. Partial meals can be swiped to provide students with different items they can take to their dorms.

Marissa Weiher contributed to this article.

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