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Viewpoint Debate: Pro-South Dining Hall

| Monday, September 22, 2014

When people think of Notre Dame dining halls, they think big. I’m not talking “like-Texas” big. I’m talking about big in a figuratively expansive sense of the word. I’m talking about greatness, legacy, enormity, dwarfing the competition. In the battle of which dining hall is bigger, better and bulkier, the victor is clear: it’s South or it’s nothing.

Of course, South Dining Hall isn’t just superior because of its immense, Hogwarts-style dining rooms or even because of its picturesque brick facade with pristine, though rustic, wrought-iron cupola spire that tops the whole thing off like beautiful red velvet cake (which South serves from time to time). No, dear reader. These are but superficial beauties. The true bounty lies within.

With seven centrally located food buffets, plus four salad bars and a soup station, South has North beat. What’s more, the buffets periodically go Michael Bay on us and transform into diverse ethnic-food-generating machines, not simply switching one entrée for another, but offering a whole new world of culinary fancy. Mexican to Greek, American to Indian, Chinese to Korean. Try those kinds of cultural transformations, northerners. I dare you.

The superior stations are there, but how they function is what exalts SDH. The layout eases progression from one to the next and prevents lines that, at North, will keep you waiting outside the actual serving room for minutes on end. We don’t have that kind of time, people.

And, if time’s the issue, South has you covered with its far superior (really no question on this) Grab n’ Go service, complete with manifold refrigerated meal items and nifty subterranean location. It’s like Bruce Wayne has invited you over for a nice sack lunch.

Taking a step back, can we just consider for a moment the general aura of South? Huge, arching wood rafters, elegant tables, an enormous foyer in which to wait for friends. Commodious does not even come close.

So too is there tradition — candlelight dinners of unmet ambiance, pictures out front on Easter Sunday. The place looks like a castle, a hall of fame for Notre Dame’s culinary legacy. North? Try bomb shelter with war rations in it.

At this point, I could end on the tired and old platitude that both dining halls have their merits — what with North’s pasta stir fry station and make-your-own omelets — but let’s be clear here. In the words that Ricky Bobby immortalized, “There can only be one number one. Not two.” South reigns supreme.

Charlie Ducey is a junior studying the languages of Oscar Wild (English) and Friedrich Hölderlin (German). For the next academic year, he is residing on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in Oxford, U.K. He welcomes your words. He can be contacted at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

About Charlie Ducey

Charlie Ducey is a senior who studies English at Notre Dame. He is currently a big fan of alternative German rock music.

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