Although both the Georgetown neighborhood and Washington, D.C., boast an abundance of dining options, most students quickly learn that a regular splurge on M Street dinners is pretty unrealistic. Sweetgreen, Good Stuff Eatery and Baked & Wired are all great options for an occasional treat, but between full class schedules and extracurriculars, the majority of Georgetown University students — especially new students — will stick with on- campus dining options where they can use a meal swipe or some Flex dollars.
Luckily, Georgetown’s campus has a range of worthwhile dining locales. While the best meal plan is entirely subjective, first semester is a great time to figure out what works for you because you can always switch for the spring. You probably won’t need as many swipes as you think, unless you’re a breakfast person. Get to know our on-campus dining options with this guide.
O’Donovan Hall — Meal Swipes, Debit Dollars, Flex Dollars
O’Donovan Hall, lovingly — or, at least, commonly — known as Leo’s, is Georgetown University’s only dedicated dining hall, boasting a range of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Extensively renovated just two years ago, Leo’s is now split into two distinct floors: The bottom floor is all-you-can-eat buffet style, while the top includes a range of vendors offering set meals in exchange for meal swipes. On the lower level, you’ll find homestyle cooking, pizza, pasta, vegetarian and vegan options, meals accommodating students with gluten, nut or other allergies, and many other options including fruit, cereal and desserts. Downstairs Leo’s is renowned for its weekend brunch, offering not only a range of food choices, but also the opportunity to debrief your friends on the previous night.
If you’re looking for a more distinctive flavor, you’d better aim for Upstairs Leo’s. The top floor includes six separate vendors with rotating menu selections. Whisk, a bakery and coffee shop, is a popular option for a quick breakfast before class. 5Spice offers Asian-inspired fare emulating a range of regional recipes. Launch Test Kitchen, the most eclectic of the bunch, plays host to a variety of menus, from New England classics one week to traditional American chicken and waffles the next. Bodega offers premade sandwiches and groceries, as well as hot homestyle meals until as late as 8 p.m. Olive Branch cooks up Mediterranean food, featuring flatbreads as well as a grain bowl station. Finally, Sazon, a Latin-inspired option, tantalizes with customizable salsa, guacamole and a healthy helping of chips.
No matter what’s on your plate, Leo’s will undoubtedly become the social hub of your freshman year,a place where you will share countless meals and conversations with your classmates. When you go home for break, you might even miss it.
Hoya Court — Meal Swipes, Debit Dollars, Flex Dollars
The newly revamped Hoya Court is well-suited to
those who spend long hours in the Leavey Center or have classes in Regents Hall or the Intercultural Center. The Chick-fil-A fast-food joint and Crop Chop salad spot are dominant forces in the Georgetown dining scene. While these two stellar options are sure to grab your eye, don’t forget to look around the corner for creative sandwiches from Royal Jacket Deli, which takes meal swipes like Crop Chop.
Bulldog Tavern — Debit Dollars
Located in the Healey Family Student Center below New South, Bulldog Tavern has a cozy restaurant and bar atmosphere that will make you feel like you are dining out without ever having to leave campus. Partly staffed by students, the tavern featuresa menu full of pub fare such as nachos, burgers, wings and a signature Nutella shake. Wednesday’s Bulldog trivia nights are a student favorite, and the takeout window provides a bountiful supply of cheesy fries to hit the spot during study breaks.
The Hilltoss and Grounded — Debit Dollars, Flex Dollars
Students of Georgetown, Inc., commonly referred to as The Corp, opened The Hilltoss in 2014 to meet the ever-expanding demand for avocado toast, salads, smoothies and acai bowls. In 2018, The Corp replaced its smoothie and acai bowl offerings with Grounded, an espresso bar with an expanded breakfast menu that finally provides the HFSC with an easily accessible coffee shop. Students can now find their espresso, bagel sandwiches, parfaits, made-to-order salads and, yes, avocado toast all in the same place.
Vital Vittles and Hoya Snaxa — Debit Dollars, Flex Dollars
If you live in Village C or Darnall Hall, Hoya Snaxa and Vital Vittles will soon become your go-to stops for dorm room snacks and groceries. The Corp-run stores could sustain you for an entire semester: Snaxa, located under the archway in the Southwest Quadrangle complex, will satisfy your chip, popcorn and slushie needs. Vittles, located inside the Leavey Center, is stocked full of groceries, microwaveable meals and pharmacy products to save you the trip to Safeway or CVS.
The Midnight Mug, Uncommon Grounds and More Uncommon Grounds — Debit Dollars, Flex Dollars
Although you may have survived high school caffeine-free, you might soon find yourself desperate for a pick-me-up before a long night of studying or your 9 a.m. class. These are the times when The Corp’s trio of coffee shops come in handy, conveniently dispersed throughout campus so that you’re never far from a cup of coffee or tea to keep you going. The Midnight MUG, located on the second floor of Lauinger Library, is an indispensable study savior open as late as 2 a.m. from Sunday to Wednesday. The ICC’s More Uncommon Grounds coffee stand will fuel your pre-class needs. Finally, Uncommon Grounds, located on the second floor of the Georgetown University Bookstore, combines The Corp’s signature blends and breakfast options with convenient access to the serene Leavey Esplanade.
Epicurean & Company — Debit Dollars, Flex Dollars
Your freshman year will not be complete without many trips to Epicurean and Company. Epi boasts fully stocked sushi, noodle and salad bars, a large buffet, and a range of made-to-order sandwiches and pizzas. The true stars of the menu are the quesadillas and onion rings — late-night staples of the Georgetown social scene, especially on the weekends. Epi is located adjacent to Darnall Hall and stays open late, making it ideal for midnight snacks and postgame gorging when Leo’s is closed.
Einstein Bros. Bagels — Meal Swipes, Debit Dollars, Flex Dollars
Located on the second floor of the Car Barn on the easternmost edge of campus, Einstein Bros. Bagels is the hidden gem of Georgetown dining. Einstein’s is fully stocked with bagels, sandwiches, smoothies, coffee and shmears of all kinds. A meal swipe at Einstein’s can get you a warm bagel sandwich, coffee and a snack, which may be just what you need before you start your day.
File Photo: Lauren Seibel/The Hoya