12 Reasons Foodies Flock to Rollins

December 18, 2018

By Audrey St. Clair ’03

Students enjoying meals in Skillman Dining Hall, Rollins’ main dining center located in the Campus Center.
Photo by Scott Cook.

A trio of review and rankings organizations recently ranked Rollins’ dining offerings as some of the best in the country. Here are 12 reasons Rollins continues to deserve a seat at the table.

No. 1 college in Florida. Most Engaged Campus of the Year. Top 10 for Study Abroad. These are just a few of the recent accolades Rollins has earned. Add to that “Best Food” and it really drives home the meaning of our liberal arts education that’s not only educating our students’ minds but is equally committed to nurturing their overall health and wellness.

College Consensus, The Daily Meal, and PETA all agree that Rollins is offering some of the most innovative and diverse dining options you’ll find on any campus in the country. Here’s a closer look at why the experts agree that Rollins is the perfect place for hungry and health-conscious students to head.

Steak with beans, rice, and broccoli from Rollins’ Skillman Dining Hall.
Photo by Scott Cook.

1. Our food is Instagram-worthy (#nofilter). From mile-high handcrafted grass-fed burgers to fresh sushi rolls to bountiful protein plates, the food at Rollins is almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Students gather for a snack on the beach between classes.
Photo by Curtis Shaffer ’22.

2. Dining with a killer view just means walking over to The Marketplace, the main campus dining center overlooking picturesque Lake Virginia. This go-to spot serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week and features a variety of specialty stations (think apricot-glazed turkey and oven-roasted butternut squash), deli sandwiches, a pizza/pasta bar, fresh soups, a salad bar, a rotating bagel bar, and more.

Photos by Scott Cook.

3. There’s no shortage of options. With six on-campus locations, 15 off-campus restaurant partners, Starbucks coffee, and Einstein’s bagels, there’s something to sate every mood and taste. Grab an acai bowl at the Bookmark Cafe inside the Olin Library or a smoothie at the Bush Cafe or made-to-order sushi at Dave’s Boathouse.

On-campus urban farm at Rollins.
Photo by Scott Cook.

4. We have an organic on-campus student-run garden. As part of an independent study project aimed at educating students about health and larger issues of how food is produced, transported, sold, and cooked, Andrew Lesmes ’15—along with the help of academic advisors and volunteers—turned a 968-square-foot patch of earth into a microfarm. The market garden is self-sustaining through sales to local restaurants like Hamilton’s Kitchen at The Alfond Inn and Sodexo, operators of the College’s cafeteria.

Students enjoy relaxing together at Dave’s Boathouse, the pub-style eatery on campus.
Photo by Scott Cook.

5. We have our very own pub. Dave’s Boathouse, a quick-casual nautical-themed eatery outfitted with dark-wood booths and high-top seating, serves craft beer along with bar-style food you actually want to eat. Favorites include grass-fed burgers, veggie Beyond burgers, cage-free chicken wings, and healthy bowls overflowing with kale, farro, and white beans.

Students enjoy tacos and bowls from the Mexican-style Cornell Cafe.
Photo by Curtis Shaffer ’22.

6. We have our own version of Chipotle. Students get their Tex-Mex fix at the Cornell Cafe, which is lovingly referred to as Tarpotle, where choices include made-to-order burritos on fresh-pressed tortillas, wrapless bowls (with your choice of brown or white rice), and homemade tortilla chips and guacamole. In January, the cafe will add chicken tortilla soup to the menu, which will come with your choice of toppings. Fun fact: The guacamole is made fresh every day to the tune of 9,000 pounds of avocado per semester.

Students slice vegetables for dinner preparation.
Photo by Scott Cook.

7. Our vegan dining options once again receive an A rating. Peta2, a nonprofit animal rights group, recently surveyed thousands of colleges and universities across the country about how well they’re keeping up with the demand for vegan options. At Rollins, vegan dining goes way beyond tofu to include creative combinations like vegan jambalaya, lentil shepherd’s pie, and kimchi rice-paper wraps.

An aerial view of Rollins College.

8. We are a Fair Trade campus. In fact, Rollins became the first designated Fair Trade campus in Florida in 2013. Rollins is committed to purchasing environmentally sustainable products that don’t come from sweatshops or child labor and actively educates students about the sustainability issues involved in global commerce. All seafood on Rollins’ campus is certified sustainable.

Students cooking dinner together.
Photo by Scott Cook.

9. You can take a cooking class with the head chef. Personalized attention at Rollins is at the core of our mission, extending from the classroom to the community and even to the kitchen. Students with dietary restrictions can learn recipes and get tips from the executive chef and meet with the on-campus dietician to address any food concerns.

A sampling of international cuisine.
Photo by Zach Stovall.

10. Our global emphasis extends to our dining choices. A slew of international dishes like Thai green curry, arroz con gandules, and chicken tikka masala are regular rotations on The Marketplace’s menu, most of which are offered as a vegetarian options.

Students enjoying pizza at local favorite Prato.
Photo by Scott Cook.

11. Access to top-notch cuisine isn’t confined to campus. Select restaurants on Park Avenue and around Winter Park participate in various meal plans or offer discounts to Rollins students. Comfort food? Burgers and shakes at BurgerFi. Greek craving? Falafel at local favorite Power House Cafe. Date night? Cafe de France.

Students dining in the main marketplace, Skillman Dining Hall.
Photo by Scott Cook.

12. Come summer 2019, the main campus dining center will have undergone a hefty upgrade. The renovation will bring all new tables, seating, and flooring, as well as additional space for more than 100 Tars. Dedicated vegan and salad stations will expand our already abundant fresh-fare offerings, and a new brick-oven pizza station will bring a taste of Tuscany right to the shores of Lake Virginia.

Rollins College students enjoying lunch by the Lakeside pool.

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