Easy eating options on and off campus

The sign for Miami ChickenCompany, one of the many options in the Hurricane Food Court on UM's Coral Gables campus.
The sign for Miami ChickenCompany, one of the many options in the Hurricane Food Court on UM’s Coral Gables campus. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Cubanos, key lime pie, arepas, sushi and so much more live at the heart of Miami’s culinary scene. Students arriving in Miami for the first time will quickly realize the city offers a diverse array of eating options. Enjoying and learning these cuisines is part of the Miami experience.

That being said, exploring Miami’s culinary scene is not always an option. When hunger strikes in the middle of the night, most places are not open and a restaurant on South Beach won’t always be possible, especially when class is the next day. Having a list of easy, budget-friendly, walkable eating options is valuable for students living alone for the first time.

For those with a meal plan, which is any freshman living on campus, the dining hall is the most straightforward option. The dining hall looks most like a food court with some stations offering consistent options, such as pizza, pasta, salads, fruit and sandwiches, while others change daily. Dine on Campus posts the dining hall’s hours and options for the day.

On Thursday through Saturday, the Hecht-Stanford dining hall opens from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.for Late Night Dining, making it a great option for students returning from a night out or late night studying. Sandwiches, fries, hot dogs and more are available at that time.

Students sit in the Rathskeller, one of the most popular food spots on the University of Miami&squot;s campus, on Sept. 24, 2021. "The Rat" has a wide variety of food and drinks and hosts talks, events and even concerts for students to attend.
Students sit in the Rathskeller, one of the most popular food spots on the University of Miami’s campus, on Sept. 24, 2021. “The Rat” has a wide variety of food and drinks and hosts talks, events and even concerts for students to attend. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

The University of Miami has two on campus restaurants: The Rathskeller, an on-campus sports bar serving casual American food and Lime, serving Mexican dishes. Lime is open until 10 p.m. on weekdays if the dining hall’s 9:30 p.m. closing is too early.

For an on-campus taste of Miami, the food court and Wednesday farmers markets are excellent options. The Food Court includes Vicky Bakery, Sushi Maki and Pollo Tropical, Miami-based chains serving Cuban pastries and coffee, sushi and Cuban fast food, respectively.

“Everyone likes to come here for a good coffee,” said Giselle Martinez, a barista at Vicky Bakery. “We always try to do the best, always with love.”

Wednesday markets are hosted near Richter Library and feature local vendors selling everything from bulgogi bowls to freshly cut mango.

After 10 p.m, all of the above places are closed. So what to do if hunger strikes in the middle of the night? UM’s The Market is a mini convenience store, similar to a 7/11, open 24 hours a day.

“Good stuff, good price,” said Sardo Suso, supervisor of The Market. “If you come here, you’ll get it.”

One can find frozen meals, ice cream, chips, candy, toiletries, energy drinks, medicine and more.

Additionally, there’s a ramen vending machine in the Shalala Student Center available at any hour, including the middle of the night.

Two other popular dining options on campus include a Starbucks, in the Shalala Student Center and a Smoothie King.

“We got a laid back, nice vibe,” said Dychaen Dunbar, supervisor of Smoothie King. “When they come in, we have a nice and peaceful ambience.”

The last several eating spots on campus include an Einstein Bros Bagels, a bagel and breakfast chain; Daybreak, serving gourmet breakfast in Lakeside; the Archivist, a coffee shop by Richter Library; Half Moon, selling empanadas around campus; Fitberry, selling acai bowls in the Wellness Center; and Brewbike, selling cold brew around campus.

Regarding off-campus options, groceries will be a good investment for those late night cravings. Whole Foods and Publix are each within walking distance and perfect to stock up on snacks, in addition to other necessities. Trader Joes and Target are also accessible via a metro rail ride from the University stop to the Dadeland North stop.

When there’s no groceries left in the dorm, popular 24 hour options amongst UM students include McDonald’s and Denny’s, both located on US-1. CVS is also open 24 hours and a short walk away.

Insomnia Cookie is a popular, new option located on Red Rd. True to its name, Insomnia Cookie remains open until 3 a.m. during the school year.

“When people are studying or watching movies at nighttime, we’re open and the food is always fresh,” said Andres Toray, shift lead and UM student. “Salted caramel is really good. Birthday cake is a really good vegan option.”

Dominoes, Shake Shack and Five Guys are other UM student-frequented fast food options.

The last well known, near campus options to mention are Moon Thai and Japanese and Coyo Taco on US-1, offering a more dine-in experience.

While the Miami food scene expands far beyond campus, this is a good primer for quick eats near UM. Several more restaurants/eateries exist along US-1 and, for a slightly longer walk, South Miami offers a large variety of restaurants, with cuisines ranging from falafel to empanadas.