MIT Dining Hall

November 7, 2022
By AdmissionSight

MIT Dining Hall

Where Do Students Eat at MIT?

All MIT students, including graduate school students, are welcome to enroll in meal plans although undergraduate residents of buildings with MIT dining halls are required to enroll in one.

So, where do students eat at MIT? Those who are non-residents have the option of signing up for a traditional meal plan that gives them access to dining halls or to cook for themselves (and frequently with friends) in a communal kitchen. Everyone has a distinct preferred method of eating, such as alone or in a group, prepared or served, vegan or paleo, etc. MIT, therefore, give its students options for where, how, and what to eat, just as they do about housing.

Your Choices

  • You must purchase a traditional meal plan and dine at any MIT dining hall if you choose to live in one of the six residences with a dining hall.
  • If you decide to reside somewhere else, you have the option of purchasing a meal plan and dining at any dining hall, cooking for yourself in sizable, well-equipped community kitchens, or doing both.

Some MIT students have cooked their entire lives; others have never cooked before but learned how; and still others have decided that they will learn to cook at some point. There is only a right answer for you; there is no overall right or wrong response.

Places to Shop

There are various supermarkets close to the MIT campus for students who are cooking for themselves or who simply need munchies. While the Korean retailer HMart stocks essentials for both Western and Eastern cookery, the nonprofit grocery store Daily Table offers inexpensive, wholesome, delicious food and prepared meals around Central Square (and delivers to campus). MIT also runs shuttles to Costco for big-ticket items as well as to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and other grocery stores. Many students share operational and economical grocery-buying advice.

View of students enjoying their coffee on a table.

Campus Restaurants

For students who require food on the move, there are various retail dining establishments spread out over campus, as well as at least one somewhat official pop-up student cafe, in addition to meal plans and communities where you can cook for yourself.

  • 100 Main Marketplace – Breakfast and lunch are offered at 100 Main Marketplace, which is situated inside the Sloan School of Management. A made-to-order hot breakfast, panini sandwiches, sushi, soup, and daily market specials are all offered on the menu. A complete grill menu, including burgers, grilled chicken, and a sizable salad bar, is also available at 100 Main.
  • Bosworth’s Café – Bosworth’s Café offers delicious pastries and delicacies in addition to freshly prepared coffee, hot and iced specialty drinks, and gourmet teas.
  • Dunkin’ – Massachusetts is the birthplace of the well-known international coffee and baked goods company Dunkin’.
  • Pacific Street Café – Freshly brewed coffee and warm pastries are available as soon as the cafe opens in the morning. You may also stop by for lunch to get a made-to-order sandwich, one of our daily specials, or a cup of soup and salad. Additionally, Pacific Street Café provides catering for your workplace functions.
  • Muddy Charles Pub – Since its opening in 1968, the Muddy Charles Pub has hosted entrepreneurs and their startups, hosted Nobel Laureate winners and gained international recognition. Only MIT affiliates, as well as their friends and relatives, are permitted entry to the bar. Bring a photo ID from the government as well as your MIT ID. Only 21+ are allowed to enter.

How Many Dining Halls Does MIT Have?

How many dining halls does MIT have? There are six residences with dining halls namely, Baker House, Maseeh Hall, McCormick Hall, New Vassar, Next House, and Simmons Hall, that requires residents to sign up for one of the food plans created especially for them. Students must sign up for a minimum food plan based on their academic year. All students are urged to think about their alternatives for meal plans while deciding on their housing selections.

First-year students must select one of the minimum plans allocated for first-year students, although they may also choose a higher plan if they live in a residence hall with a dining hall. The House Dining Meal Plan Terms and Conditions apply to all students who sign up for a meal plan, whether it is required or optional.

Female student enjoying her drink next to a window.

The entire MIT community is welcome at any of the campus’ many MIT dining establishments. They offer a wide variety of interesting and healthful meals made with high-quality, fresh ingredients.

Through its House Dining operations, MIT Dining provides comprehensive traditional meal plans as well as declining balance accounts and TechCASH, which can be used to pay for meals at any MIT dining hall. All campus services, including food purchases, can be paid for with TechCASH. Credit and debit cards are also accepted at many retail places.

In residential dining halls, MIT Dining collaborates with Bon Appétit to offer the community an all-you-care-to-eat option. Students can choose from a variety of meal plans through the House Dining Meal Plan Program.

What Time Do Dining Halls Open at MIT?

Planning is essential to eating well. Arrange your options for snacks and meals around your schedule. Locate the MIT dining hall closest to your classes or usual activities. But first, check the operating hours of each of the dining halls or restaurants before going there for a meal. Let’s answer the query “What time do dining halls open at MIT?” with the table of information below.

House Breakfast Lunch Dinner Late Night Brunch
Maseeh Hall 8 am-11 am; Mon-Fri 11 am to 3 pm; Mon-Fri 5 pm-9 pm; Mon-Sun 10 pm-1 am; Sun-Thu 10 am-1 pm; Sat & Sun
McCormick Hall 8 am-10 am; Mon-Fri 5 pm-8 pm; Mon-Sun 10 am-1 pm; Sat & Sun
Baker House 7 am-10 am; Mon-Fri 5:30 pm-8:30 pm; Mon-Sun 10 am-1 pm; Sat & Sun
Next House 8 am-10 am; Mon-Fri 5:30 pm-8:30 pm; Mon-Sun 10 am-1 pm; Satu & Sun
Simmons Hall 8 am-10 am; Mon-Fri 5 pm-8 pm; Mon-Sun 9 pm-1 am; Sun-Thurs 10 am-1 pm; Sat & Sun
New Vassar 7 am-9 am; Mon-Fri 5 pm-8:30 pm; Mon-Sun 9:30 am-2:30 pm; Sat & Sun

Moreover, the MIT website lists on-campus retail dining locations and their hours for 2022.

Does MIT Have Good Dining Hall Food?

MIT is known for complex problem-solving. Operating the campus meals program comes with numerous obstacles and limits that are rarely obvious to meal plan subscribers and dining hall patrons, even though it’s not quite as significant as landing Americans on the moon or creating affordable emergency ventilators.

If you would ask “Does MIT have good dining hall food?” back in 2020, student perceptions of dining have ranged from mixed to unfavorable after one month on campus. Poor food quality and a lack of variety were mentioned by students, especially early in the semester. MIT Dining has made a commitment to enhancing food quality and expanding options for students with dietary restrictions in response to unfavorable student feedback.

View of students talking and eating next to a table with food.

Suzy Nelson, Vice Chancellor and Dean of Student Life, asked for the creation of a working group in June 2019 to review the structure of the student meal plan and to propose a new strategy that emphasizes quality and variety, accessibility, and financial sustainability. The group would be made up of students, heads of house, and staff.

The House Eating Program’s features and financial parameters were evaluated, updated plan commitments were addressed, and finally, Dean Nelson and former Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart were presented with a new dining plan structure, which was previewed at a community forum on March 5, 2020.

Last spring, Campus Dining adopted the first stage of the updated food plan, which included new minimum commitment levels for the Class of 2025, as MIT began work on returning to pre-pandemic operating conditions. The plan will be fully implemented with the Class of 2028, with the increased minimums being applied to each incoming class after that. The Classes of 2023 and 2024 will gradually scale out the previous minimal obligations.

The updated strategy was presented in events throughout 2021 by MIT Dining staff from the Division of Student Life, including virtual CPW in April, orientation in August, and conversations with the DormCon House Dining Committee last autumn.

The last two years have seen MIT Dining and its culinary partner Bon Appétit (BA) continue to focus on upgrading the facilities and offerings despite the essential adjustments made to support MIT’s pandemic response. For instance:

System-wide: Based on the results of the spring 2021 student dining survey, which revealed that food quality and variety were among meal plan subscribers’ top concerns, BA continues to hire new chefs to apply innovative concepts and enhance quality across the system.

In addition, BA’s regional dietitian and head of culinary operations improved staff training to put a stronger emphasis on food quality and presented new menus that offer a wider variety of dishes, like halal entrées at all residences.

Maseeh Hall: To assist students with food allergies or who adhere to special diets, the complete allergen-free kitchen surrounding the Oasis Station in the Howard Dining Hall is being renovated. This entails putting in new grills, a pasta maker, and a salad bar with gluten-free options. In the fall, a brand-new gluten-free pantry and an upgraded gluten-free station both launched.

New Vassar: The dining hall opened in the fall with all of its hours, including lunch, at full capacity. The Meal Plan Working Group was informed by students that they were unable to enjoy a mid-day meal at Maseeh due to the large crowd there. Since New Vassar began serving lunch, we have noticed a gradual balancing out of the noon traffic between Maseeh and New Vassar.

Baker: Last fall, BA launched the Green Lite salad station, taking inspiration from national trends toward fresher, healthier meals that emphasize vegetables.

Simmons: The well-known late-night snack station relocated to Simmons’ servery and added a new menu that includes some of the most well-liked foods provided at Maseeh’s late-night station.

The success of the house meal program depends on ongoing collaboration between students, house teams, staff, and BA, with a focus on community feedback. Dining will continue the student satisfaction survey, which was initiated last autumn in collaboration with student leaders and has impacted these and other recent program modifications.

How Much Is the MIT Meal Plan?

Block plans feature a certain number of meals that can be used up during the semester. Every time you swipe for a meal, the balance will go down. You can use as many meals as you like each day. For comparison, the 225 Block consists of roughly 14 meals each week.

You can pay for guest meals with meal swipes. Visit your MyCard to sign up for a meal plan, click this link, which opens in a new window.

Female student talking on a woman.

The Any 19 plan resets every Sunday and features a predetermined number of meals for each week (Sunday through Saturday). Eight guest meal swipes are included with the plan. Students who are certain they will consistently consume all meals each day throughout the semester should choose this option. Now, how much is the MIT meal plan? Look at the following options you’ll have for meal plans at MIT dining halls.

Meal Plan Semester Cost Guest Passes Dining Dollars Available to Class Years Living;
In a Required Building In a Cook for Yourself Building
Any 19 per week   $3,403.50  8 optional 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4
Block 225 $3,403.50 included in total $150 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4
Block 190 $2,964 included in total optional 2,3,4 1,2,3,4
Block 125 $2,048 included in total optional 3,4 1,2,3,4,
Block 90 $1,529 included in total optional N/A 1,2,3,4
Block 60 $1,044 included in total optional N/A 1,2,3,4

Remember that any of the offered meal plans are open to the entire community of MIT graduate students.

Dining Dollars

Introducing Dining Dollars, a simple and handy method to pay for food both on campus and in nearby restaurants. Dining dollars are accepted for food and beverage purchases at campus retail and MIT dining halls, as well as at several off-campus places.

And who doesn’t enjoy a deal? Dining dollars offer a 5% discount (for every $1 spent costs 0.95 cents in dining dollars) at dining halls on campus.

If there is a spring contract, unused dining dollars carry over from the fall semester to the spring semester. If there is no spring contract, any unused fall dining credit is applied to your account. All eating credits run out on June 2, 2023, the day after commencement. Except for LaVerde’s in W20, Dining Dollars will be the default tender in campus retail dining operations, followed by TechCash.

Class Year       Minimum Plan Requirement
2022-2023 2023-2024 2024-2025
(1) First Year 225/Any 19 225/Any 19 225/Any 19
(2) Sophomore 190 190 190
(3) Junior 125 160 160
(4) Senior 125 125 160

Per-Meal Door Rates

Even if you are not enrolled in a meal plan, you are more than welcome to eat at any MIT dining hall. Please refer to the information about the per-meal price shown below before you enter the eating area.

Pay at the Door*
 Meal Per-Meal Rate
 Breakfast  $9.95
 Lunch  $15.75
 Dinner  $18.75
*Dining dollars, TechCASH, and cash are accepted.

Although MIT’s engineering and physical science programs are likely its most well-known strengths, other disciplines, such as economics, political science, urban studies, linguistics, and philosophy, are also strong at the university. Due to the intense competition for admission, undergraduate students frequently get the opportunity to conduct their own original research.

After we discussed the MIT dining hall and other options you will have in the future, it’s best to boost your application as soon as possible. AdmissionSight has been helping students get into their top-choice schools. Feel free to set up an initial consultation with AdmissionSight to start your preparation for college admissions.

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