Ross Griffith: Stick a fork in J Street

As a senior, I am really tired of the food on campus and I remember when I used to really like it.

No doubt a representative of Dining Services could reel off figures about an increase in the number of options or highlight facts about J Street Café, but that does not change the reality that eating at GW has taken a definite dive in the past few years.

Back in 2005, eating at J Street was not mandated by the University, but people did so because the options were there and the food was better. J Street was the center of campus; everything seemed to happen there. I probably ate about 50 percent of my meals at J Street, and this was before J Street Café and the minimum spending plans which I can only describe as Orwellian.

J Street is in a prime location on a college campus with thousands of graduates and undergraduates. There is simply no reason for such an establishment not to turn enormous profits. Since what seems like every possible program under the sun has already been tried, let us cut to the quick and do something different – hire student workers whenever possible. I understand that there are legal complications, but this is a divorce that needs to go through. Giving students a direct stake in J Street would be the first step toward increasing satisfaction.

Also, bring back selections like Mexican, Italian, salads, a solid sandwich shop like Subway and a small market with better prices. Wendy’s can stay, but it has been there for years. Why not go crazy and put in a Burger King instead?

These days, I do not even think of going to J Street. Thankfully, depending on how far you are willing to walk, there are several great options off campus and some good choices right in Foggy Bottom.

My favorites on campus are Froggy Bottom Pub and GW Deli. There is nothing quite like having some Froggy Bottom white pizza with a pitcher of beer beneath the gigantic psychedelic purple frog. The deli makes great sandwiches, especially the Italian and Californian.

Topping the list off campus are Five-Guys, Chipotle, Cosi and Murphy’s Irish Pub – Murphy’s being the extreme long-distance meal destination. Five-Guys is the rock-solid D.C. burger experience. You can find them in Chinatown, Georgetown and Adams Morgan, serving fast food that feels genuine. Chipotle is located at 19th and M. Need I say more?

The nearest Cosi is 19th and K. Their food is really good, and you can now use GWorld to pay, even though I suspect that most of the price tag goes toward snob appeal. Murphy’s is in Alexandria on King Street and Henry or in Adams Morgan at 24th and Calvert, with great prices on legitimate Irish food with friendly service. The roaring fire is a nice touch too.

So – and I say this especially to you underclassmen – please do not merely accept the required spending program. Keep agitating for a better J Street. Do not be content with what is already on campus – go out and explore this city.

I promise that the world outside campus is full of great restaurants.

The writer is a senior majoring in history.

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