Dining is an integral part of residential life at Carleton and most students eat most of their meals on campus. Carleton offers flexible meal plans that give students options to eat at four campus locations: East Dining Hall, Burton Dining Hall, the Sayles Hill Café, and the Weitz Cafe.

Dining Halls

Every meal plan option allows for at least a few meals a week at either of Carleton's dining halls, Burton or the LDC.  Burton Dining Hall is located on the ground floors of Burton and Severance Halls, and can be reached without going outside from anywhere in the Complex (i.e., half of the buildings on west campus), making it ideal for avoiding the winter chill.  The LDC, or the Language and Dining Center, is located on east campus.  Its upper floors host the majority of the language courses offered at Carleton, and during the warmer months it is common for students to enjoy their meals in the fresh air on the Mini Bald Spot in front of the LDC.  As to which has better food, this is a point of contention for the student body:  the LDC has the best vegan and vegetarian options, but Burton loyalists claim that the fare there is consistently better otherwise.  Even so, the amount of traffic both receive on a typical day suggests that there is no clear winner.

Other On-Campus Options

Most students choose to take the 15-meal plan after their freshman fall, which gives them 15 meals per week in the dining halls and leaves them free to eat several meals a week elsewhere (or sometimes just sleep through them).  The most popular alternative to Burton and the LDC is Sayles Cafe, located in the Sayles-Hill Campus Center.  From early in the morning to late at night, students and other Carleton community members can go to Sayles to find sandwiches-to-go, quick snacks, and a range of delicious largely-fried foods like BLTs, quesadillas, and chicken strips.  A second cafe with shorter hours can be found in the Weitz Center, and there is currently a plan to add a third in the upcoming science complex.  Then, if all else fails, hungry students can also turn to the vending machines found in almost all dorms on campus.

For students who want to make their own food, though, every residence-hall floor is equipped with a kitchenette complete with an oven, microwave, refrigerator, and cabinet space for supplies and ingredients, which can be wonderful as long as you remember not to gross your floor-mates out with week-old dirty dishes.  Carleton's houses, both the town houses on west campus and the more-traditional homes to the south, have more extensive kitchens still, and one house's kitchen is even stocked and open 24/7 for students who have a craving for homemade cookies.  Finally, there are several grill and bonfire locations on campus for outdoor cooking, spread from the Mini Bald Spot all the way out to the Arboretum.

Off Campus Dining

For a little variety, take a short walk or bike ride into town to sample Northfield’s dining options. You’ll find everything from Indian, Mexican, and Chinese offerings to hot dogs, pizza, and plenty of midwestern comfort food.

And if you’re up for a short road trip, the Twin Cities area is full of outstanding restaurants (the virtues of which have been well documented in Minneapolis’ City Pages by Carleton grad Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl).