Where to eat in the wake of the Market health inspection

By Delilah Bourque, Senior Staff Columnist

Swiping in at one of Pitt’s two dining halls — Market Central and The Perch — is a huge part of Pitt life, especially for those of us living on campus. When Market was cited for 14 health code violations by the Allegheny County Health Department on Oct. 10, many were — and still are — left wondering if they should start looking elsewhere for lukewarm pizza at 1 a.m. on a Thursday.

Here are a few suggestions for those who feel like they have nowhere left to go.

Trade swipes for dining dollars with people who haven’t read the report

It’s pretty likely you have at least one friend who hasn’t read the report in which Market was cited for six “high-risk” health code violations, either because that friend isn’t reading The Pitt News daily or just doesn’t care. Once you’ve run out of your own dining dollars to use at Market To-Go, ask that friend to trade one of your meal swipes for some of their excess dining dollars.

If you’re willing to risk it all by looking for made-to-order prepared foods from Sodexo, Cathedral Cafe and the William Pitt Union basement have you covered. Dining dollars are good at all of these locations, and remember — exploiting your friends is OK as long as they don’t know what hurt them.

Literally every campus event

Everyone knows that events on campus would never be well-attended if they didn’t dish out free food. Lucky for those in search of a quick and sanitary bite to eat, Pitt has a huge events calendar detailing everything from sports games to fun workshops, which are all hot spots for free snacks.

Most of these events are open to everyone. Look for the Writer’s Cafe held on Fridays in the Writing Center, which normally features snacks like cookies, chips, clementines and drinks. If you live on campus, chances are your RA is desperate to get you to a program they’re throwing and have some free food as bait. It’s pretty easy to grab a snack and leave at most of these events, so try to sneakily evade the watchful eyes of members of Pitt Program Council and chow down.

Late-night meal deals

Going out to eat for every meal is definitely financially impractical for most college students — but unfortunately, most deals in Oakland don’t start until after 9 p.m.

The Porch in Schenley Plaza offers late-night pizza at half-off Monday through Thursday and Fuel and Fuddle on Oakland Avenue has a whole half-off menu past 11 p.m daily. Get ready to adjust your sleep cycle to make eating at night and only at night feel normal, because it’s time for a great deal.

Get a job at a restaurant

A great way to score yourself some free or reduced-price food is to be the one making it. Getting a job at one of the numerous restaurants around campus is a surefire way to score something to eat. You’ll know the food is properly handled because you will be the one making it.

Student favorites like Chipotle and Panera are almost always looking for employees, and if you have a job, you’ll be able to afford having to buy all of your food instead of having to trick your friends.

Eat the overly friendly campus squirrels

Campus squirrels are a known phenomenon on campuses across the country, both for being very friendly and very bold when it comes to proximity to humans. These squirrels are socialized to not fear humans, according to Nancy Dreschel, an animal science professor at Penn State. While some may see this as a nuisance, you can use this to your advantage — friendly squirrels that are used to human interaction are much easier to hunt.

Campus squirrels are fed either intentionally or unintentionally by campus-goers, and are a good source of protein for those who want to know exactly where their food is coming from. Cooking the squirrel in your dorm room may be a difficult task, but think about how impressive it will be to have a date over for squirrel stew that you made using just your microwave and Keurig machine.

Just go home

College is hard enough as it is without worrying about whether or not the food you’re eating was stored at the correct temperature. A home-cooked meal is always nice and academics can be incredibly stressful. So if you’re looking for an inexpensive, stress-free way to eat well, just drop out of school and go home.

No more worrying about your next exam or trying to get to the grilled chicken before anyone else if you leave Pitt forever. Mom and dad will surely be happy to have you home and cook you food with washed hands. Sure, they may ask you questions like, “What are you going to do with your life now?” or “Do you think we’re going to just support you forever?” but at least you know the ACHD can’t cite your mom for the temperature of her refrigerator (just remember, don’t trust everything that you find in the drawers).