Duke is working to improve its dining options and dining plans, but currently they are pretty great for sophomores and upperclassmen, and a little less great for freshmen. Freshmen get a set number of "food points" (equates to dollars, what you use to buy food), and a set number of "swipes" to use at a communal eating place called the Marketplace. It's on East, where the freshman live, so it's really close to where you live. Also, since everyone eats there, it is a great place to socialize. The Marketplace has a couple of sketchy options (I would generally avoid the casseroles that vaguely resemble the food from a few days previously), but the staples (sandwiches, salads, pizza, vegetarian options, chicken, mashed potatoes...) are all pretty good. Marketplace brunch, which is from 11 to 2 every weekend, is to DIE for. It's the one part of east that I'd say the sophomore class misses most - hanging out with your friends on the weekend while eating a massive amount of delicious breakfast and lunch food.
On West, where the sophomores currently live for the most part, and on central, where mostly upperclassmen live for now (the housing model Duke is initiating will change this, making both campuses a mix of sophomores and juniors) food is better quality than Marketplace, but there is not a communal eating location. Most sophomores and juniors say they like the eating arrangement, but do miss the social aspect of the marketplace. The Great Hall is west's closest equivalent to the Marketplace, with a variety of options every day from Japanese to traditional Southern food to breakfast for dinner. The Loop is a good place to go for a casual and consistently delicious meal. Alpine Bagel and Alpine Atrium both have really good to-go sandwiches and bagels. The only places open 24/7 are McDonald's and Pitchfork Provisions, a newly-opened restaurant located in Keohane dorm. These locales, in addition to the hot dog stands that are open late on East and West campus, are especially popular late at night and on the weekends. There are a number of really good coffee shops, including one in the library, Perkins, which becomes a staple during exams. The Plate and Pitchfork is Duke's sit-down, on-campus restaurant - it's really fancy and delicious, and you can pay on food points!
A staple of Duke's West campus is the hot dog cart called "Pauly Dogs." Pauly Dogs used to be located on the main quad, but was moved to the Bryan Center walkway after the construction of the walkway was completed. Pauly can cook you up most anything you'd ever want from a hot dog, with toppings ranging from crushed chips to various salads
Students eat lunch at the Loop
A shot of the Student Union during lunchtime.
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