Ferris State University is ranked 107th when it comes to college food in the United States according to college ranking site Niche.com. This number rivals many notable world-class universities like Stanford and Colombia.
While it has been decided that our campus food is the best amongst other colleges, one topic is still debated to this day: which campus food establishment is the best at Ferris?
When it comes to the most popular choices, it always seems to be two locations: The Rock Café and The Quad Café. If there was a student survey across campus, the vote would likely be close to a 50/50 split, or slightly favored to The Rock. If you were to ask me which I would prefer, my choice is easy and simple. Like the classic game of rock-paper-scissors, paper, or in this case quad-ruled paper, always covers rock. Here’s why.
I tip my cap to whoever decided to place The Quad inside the University Center. The idea was brilliant. Being centered between three of the largest teaching buildings (Starr, Swan and Science), the widely popular FLITE library, and four residence halls, brings easy convenience for many students and faculty. Inside the UC, being close to the bookstore and various study spaces, provides opportunity for those looking for a quick snack or meal.
Unless you live in a south campus residence hall, The Rock is a hefty walk away and does not have the competing resources to draw in customers like The Quad. The Rock also only has a metered parking lot for students to park in, leaving commuters and more distant residents with a longer walk to enter the restaurant. The Quad has an advantage by having not only a commuter parking lot, but a large one to guarantee a parking spot. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a minute-long free walk or a 30-second walk costing me 50 cents.
When it comes to the arrangement of each cafe, there are things I like about both places. The Rock is the king of space, there is no arguing that. How can The Quad compete? Modernity. The visual pleasure of the Quad brings a much more contemporary, lively look. Whether it’s the colorful station signs, vivid light fixtures or bright televisions, the Quad’s modern design surpasses the Rock’s dull, 90’s furniture store vibe.
Not only does The Rock lose eye appeal, but the overall layout doesn’t help its case. With all the seating on the further outside of the circular station of food and condiments, the customer is forced to walk a long distance to grab a second plate or more sauce. The Quad has direct seating off the main path of stations, creating the benefit of quicker access to food and beverages. Being able to get ketchup for my french fries in less than 30 seconds comes in clutch for days when I am feeling physically tired, which is more often than I wish.
Finally, the part you’ve been waiting for. Believe it or not, this one pleads no contest in my mind. While both cafes often cook and prepare food similarly to each other, The Quad always seems to hit the spot more consistently.
When it comes to how the food is organized and presented, I personally prefer the Quad’s style. The Quad organizes stations based off the ethnicity and type of food. For example, there is a Chinese food station, Mexican food station, dessert food station, breakfast food station and more. This provides more consistency in what to expect from each station every day. The Rock contrasts by organizing by the feeling of food. Names like Comfort Zone, World’s Fare and Woody’s Grill describe the food served.
Here’s how they compare. With the Su Casa station at the Quad and the World’s Fare station at the Rock, both often serve tacos or nachos during the week. The difference is that Su Casa consistently has various taco, nacho and quesadilla options nearly every day, while World’s Fare might serve tacos two days a week and serve other world cuisines like jambalaya and chicken curry the rest of the week. For me, the amount of trust to know what to expect is more important than a surprise each meal.
All in all, both cafes can provide great meals throughout the semester. They are the cornerstone of Ferris’ on-campus dining and will continue to be for years to come. Although they both have their own benefits, The Quad has always been my preferred choice. While may people may disagree with me due to the Rock’s popularity, I hope these points provide insight into why the Quad is more than people realize, and start to consider it as a viable dining option.