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Grabbing a Bite to Eat

Posted by: Cay Smith | June 19, 2009 | No Comment |

By Adam Sylvan, Broadside Staff Writer

One question that burns in the mind of any freshman college student: Where to eat? While you are wise to ask, you’ll be happy to know there are a vast array of dining options available to you at George Mason University. Whether you desire a full course, buffet-style dinner, want to satisfy a fast food craving, or need to maintain the structure of a vegetarian diet, a destination awaits. 

The best place to start is Mason’s state-of-the-art, all-you-care-to-eat dining facility, Southside. Opening in October of 2008, Southside has been offering some of the freshest and varied ingredients that can be found on this, or any college campus. One of the most visited spots in Southside is PastAmore, where your favorite pasta is tossed and blended with your choice of ingredients and sauces. A salad and dessert bar, plus several different entrée stations comprise this tasty and aesthetically pleasing campus eatery. Southside is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. A full service, 24-hour  Starbucks will be opening its doors for the fall semester in Northern Neck.

The Johnson Center is one of the most recognizable and functional buildings on Mason’s campus. The same goes for the half-a-dozen, fast-food and sit-in restaurants it houses. A preferred location for many students, La Patisserie is the perfect pit stop  for a morning bagel and coffee, or at lunchtime, for a freshly made deli sandwich. Sangam serves satisfying Middle Eastern cuisine by the plateful. World of Green is yet another option, for vegetarians and vegetable lovers alike, offering a salad and soup bar. Burger King and Taco Bell also add to the variety of meal options.

On the basement level of Student Union Building I is a Chik-Fil-A, and Jazzman’s coffee shop. A gameroom beside the food court makes SUB I a cool hang out area between classes.

Don’t think because it’s after 8 p.m. you are stuck heating up Easy Mac in the dorm room. Mason also has options for your late night food cravings. Ike’s Diner, located in Presidents Park, serves popular breakfast and lunch items; including pancakes, egg sandwiches, and chicken parmesan. Due to its convenient location and great food, Ike’s is a favorite hangout for freshmen. Ike’s is open between the hours of 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.

In the city of Fairfax, there are also great and affordable dining options available. Metro Diner is a short bus or car ride from campus and provides great menu items and is fully equipped with Wi-Fi internet. Noodles & Company, on Main Street, offers plenty of great pasta entrees, all under $8. With flexible hours and economical menu items,  the 24-hour Denny’s is another popular off-campus visit. Denny’s offers great food with friendly service for those late night hangs with friends when you’re tired of Ike’s and have a car. For great burritos, check out Chipotle, just a few minutes away by car or bus. 

If you’re feeling bold and want to have a nicer, and pricier, meal with your friends, a date or are just flying solo, check out the multiple restaurants that line the streets of downtown Fairfax. If you’re interested in some Thai cuisine, walk into Best of Thai Restaurant on University Drive or Thailand Thai Cuisine on Main Street. 

If you’re looking for nicer sandwiches and salads, but still relatively quick service, check out Panera Bread or Potbelly Sandwich Works in downtown Fairfax. Craving a good American burger? You might want to try Red Hot and Blue on Chain Bridge Road or Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Fairfax Boulevard. If you enjoy being entertained during your meal, check out Otani Japanese Steak House where the food is cooked at your table on a hibachi grill.

Feeling adventurous and have time and money? Hop on the Metro and head into Washington D.C. You can get off at almost any stop in the D.C. area and find either a chain or a nice local restaurant within walking distance. Union Station is a good stop if you want to explore its food court or check out a movie. 

No matter where you decide to eat, try to taste some variety. Afterall,college is about trying new things.

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