Lehigh students explore new dining preferences during pandemic

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COVID-19 guidelines and protocols have drastically altered on-campus dining at Lehigh, causing some students to shift in favor of alternative dining options for this semester. 

Jisu Choi, ‘21, said her dining experience this year is much different than her previous semesters at Lehigh. 

“Now that I’m a senior and I don’t have a meal plan, I’ve been really exploring the options in Bethlehem,” she said. 

Choi said she is a fan of the outdoor dining scene in South Bethlehem and has been to Urbano, Vegan Treats and Vegout. 

She said a lot of hangouts and social interactions are centered around eating outdoors, which gives students a chance to see friendly faces around. 

In addition to eating out, Choi said she has cooked a lot of meals for herself. She and her friends have found a passion for cooking and baking over quarantine and have been cooking for themselves in their off-campus house. 

Choi and her friends have made an Instagram account, @fokinfoodies, to document their culinary creations. They post photos and stories of “family dinners,” a Monday night tradition where they try out new recipes ranging from coconut lentil curry to vegan sushi. 

“It’s a good time to unwind and connect over our love of making and eating new food,” Choi said. 

Victor Cochrane, ‘22, said he has been cooking for himself now more than ever. Being a Gryphon in Sayre Park, he decides to prepare quick meals for himself in between classes. 

Cochrane said other Lehigh dining options are slim. His meal plan consists mostly of dining dollars, so he relies heavily on Upper Cort for his meals when he’s not cooking. He said the meals there have changed dramatically from last year. 

“I feel like they are getting rid of a lot of the healthy options and have replaced them with fried chicken and fries,” Cochrane said. 

He said there aren’t many late-night dining options available. He has been spending more money at off-campus restaurants and at other campus staples, such as the Füd Truk. Hawk’s Nest is also open for late-night dining.

Jack Edelman, ‘24, however, said he primarily eats at Rathbone. Being a first-year student, he and his friends find it to be the most convenient dining option on campus. 

Rathbone, though, is not the same dining hall today that many upperclassmen have grown to know and love. Plexiglass partitions line the tables, and the familiar made-to-order pasta and sandwich stations are no longer open. 

“I feel that I have a lot of options, and I haven’t been worried about where my next meal is going to come from,” Edelman said. 

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