The South's Most Stunning College Dining Halls
Down here in the South, it’s pretty well known that we take our food very seriously. We also happen to take our interiors very seriously, particularly rooms that guests may linger in a while. So it’s no wonder that at Southern colleges, the places of utmost pride and allegiance, one could find beautiful dining room design. From a modern and playful eatery at SCAD in Savannah, Georgia, to the traditional Kappa Kappa Gamma house at the University of Arkansas, these dining halls hold their own next to private homes. Just because a college campus weathers the wear and tear of thousands of students each year doesn’t mean the dining room furniture can’t be durable, yet luxe or made in masse, yet sophisticated. Some of these transport us to a different realm (read: have us pretending we’re in the Great Hall at Hogwarts) while some boldly combine the school’s history and architecture with modern design. Without further ado, our favorite dining rooms in the South:
The Marion L. Brittain Dining Hall at Georgia Institute of Technology
This architectural beauty, built in 1928, was originally a “joint effort” by Georgia Tech’s very own architecture, ceramic, mechanical engineering, and textile departments. It remains dotted with historical details, like the Georgia School of Technology (the school’s name from way back when) floor seal.
The E. Bruce Heilman Dining Center at the University of Richmond
The spiders’ central dining spot is serenely situated on the south side of Westhampton Lake, resulting in meals with a serious view. Originally the University of Richmond was comprised of Richmond College, a school for men, and Westhampton College, a school for women. They sat at opposite sides of the lake and this dining hall was seen as a way to “increase the informal social interaction between the two schools,” according to the Richmond College SGA president at the time.
The McClurg Dining Hall at Sewanee
Remember when we said we thought we’d entered Hogwarts? This gothic dining hall is not short on splendor or space—within its walls you can find a 450-seat formal dining hall, 250-seat informal room, a 150-seat outdoor dining area, and four meeting/dining rooms.
Bolton Dining Commons at the University of Georgia
This new addition to UGA’s campus—opened in fall 2014—is the largest dining facility on campus. And while is seems like the great hall of a ski lodge, it also houses a variety of small restaurants for students to choose from.
Carnival at SCAD Savannah
Free of all the expected all-beige-everything found in some less-inspired large dining facilities in the South, Carnival serves up a variety of Asian-inspired cuisine in a colorful setting. Grab a seat out back where shipping containers, string lights, and swinging chairs make for a cheery dining experience (or even study session).
West Union at Duke
Open 24/7, this recently renovated student center is the heartbeat of campus. While there’s much more than dining happening here (hello cozy lounges and cool collaboration spaces) the feasting options alone are enough to come hang out. With 14 vendors to choose from, two of which are upscale, we’d be camped out in this contemporary-meets-historic space all the time.
The Eatery at Vanderbilt University
This 6,000-square-foot, two-story dining center seats 550 students. Two working flue-less fireplaces flank either side of the first floor seating area, while floor to ceiling windows soar through both levels creating an open and airy space.
East Servery at Rice University
This university in Houston, Texas has a dining hall we wouldn’t mind frequenting. Stunning floor to ceiling windows and stunning architectural details make this dining hall feel more like a 5-star restaurant.
Suwannee Room at Florida State University
This historic dining room was originally used to serve the Florida State College of Women. It now serves the school’s east campus seven days a week.
Turner Place at Virginia Tech
Nope, this isn’t a colossal coffee shop, it’s one of the dining halls at Virginia Tech. Complete with glass walls and eight restaurants, this is not the typical undergraduate dining experience.