Here’s the deal. If you think the Ratty sucks, you’re just high maintenance. No, it’s not three catered meals given to you on a silver tray by Wolfgang Puck, but if you thought it would be, that’s on you. It’s a college dining hall, and when a single kitchen has to serve three square meals a day in a (theoretically) unlimited quantity to thousands of hungry students, I think it deserves to be cut some slack.
The Ratty is not delicious, but that is as much your fault as the Ratty’s. You clearly just aren’t aware of the options available to you. You are making your Ratty experience sucky when it could be distinctly just alright.
The lunch rush happens around 11:50am and lasts till around 12:45pm since, you know, that’s lunch time. Hate lines? Guess what? Not the Ratty’s fault. Eat a nice breakfast and you’ll be able to hold out until 1. Eat an early lunch and you’ll just have a nice afternoon pre-dinner snack. If you can spend time in the Ratty, you have time to make a perfectly tasty and respectable meal.
These are perhaps the two busiest lines of any eatery on Brown’s campus during the lunch rush, but it also serves the main food options, which can be satisfying or mediocre depending on the day. The Bistro station serves breakfast items through the afternoon, and then it switches to hot entrees and sides. Breakfast for lunch is always a good look, and one frequently unconsidered past noon. You are not better than 1p.m. french toast, and don’t you forget it. Chef’s Corner usually serves alternative entrees, but if Bistro is serving something popular (i.e. chicken fingers), then Chef’s Corner will serve it as well. In any case, checking out both sides is usually a good idea.
Apricot noodles with beef is weird, but damn, snaps for bravery.
They serve three kinds of coffee here from opening till close. They are all the same coffee. If you put ice in a cup and pour coffee over it, it will be watery iced coffee. That is an option to consider. If you put vanilla ice cream in your coffee, you can call it an affogato. It’s classy as fuck.
TIP: The coffee mugs here are ridiculously small. If you’re looking to get a decent amount of coffee in one sitting, bring your own mug or else you’re going to be making several trips to the coffee station.
A choice of thirteen cereals can be found here the entire day.
TIP: Chocolate milk in cereal is not for children, it is for geniuses.
TIP: Hate the dried-ass strawberries in the Special K cereal but love bananas? Grab Smart Start cereal and a banana. Cut the banana into small chunks and dump it into your cereal. Boom, Special K alternative.
They close this at 3pm. Everyone in the omelette line is a dick and they all cut. Don’t take that shit, you’ve been waiting. That said, if you can get away with cutting, do it. That line is long and ain’t nobody got time for that. There are veggies and meats all around the Ratty. If your omelette is boring, do a lap. Add fun sauces from the salad bar.
TIP: If you want extra of a certain topping, just write “a lot, please” and draw an arrow to the topping on the slip.
Grill/Roots & Shoots:
These lines open at lunchtime. The Grill station serves the same options every single day. Make your way over here if you are content with a hot dog, a burger, a sandwich, or both. The Grill also serves chicken, but don’t let the changing name fool you. It’s the same chicken every single day. Roots and Shoots serves vegetarian and vegan options. Trick out everything you get from every other part of the Ratty with the fun veggie sides over here.
Peanut Butter Station:
You can get two kinds of peanut butter here: extremely oily peanut butter or solid, chunky peanut butter. There are also two microwaves in case your food got cold. This is perhaps the most boring station of all.
TIP: JK NO IT ISN’T AT ALL. Peanut butter is your friend. Put it on apples or in oatmeal IF YOU’RE BORING. Mix it with soy sauce and hot sauce and you’ve got a spicy Thai sauce that you can put on everything.
They open it up for lunch and keep it open till closing time. The salad toppings change every single week according to the theme, but the leaf options change almost every day. Theme’s are fun. Right?
TIP: Each salad class has its distinct toppings. For example, the Caesar salad is the only one that comes with chicken as a topping. If the Caesar salad isn’t there, though, you can still grab chicken from the Grill section and toss it into your salad. You can also boost your salad with the Roots & Shoots side bar options. ALSO, have you seen the sauce and spice selection? Balsamic makes everything delicious.
TIP: Grab your salad in a soup bowl if your plate is full instead of grabbing another plate. Plus, it’s just easier to eat salad out of a bowl.
This station is only open during breakfast hours. Grab plain oatmeal and add all kinds of toppings to make it bomb.
Carbo (Bread) Station:
During breakfast hours, this station will serve most kinds of bagels. During the afternoon, it’ll serve different kinds of breads. It is always stocked with sandwich bread. HOWEVER the best bread is in a basket in Roots and Shoots. This is not debatable.
So, there you have it. Ratty Gourmet until you drop (or diarrhea).
Images via Danielle Perelman ’17.