Hoch-Shanahan Dining Hall, Harvey Mudd College, 301 Platt Blvd. (at Dartmouth), Claremont
I’ve dined and dished about the dining halls at Claremont McKenna, Scripps and Pitzer colleges in Claremont, but I’d never been to Mudd’s until last week, when I ventured there for lunch with a friend at the colleges.
Mudd evidently didn’t have a cafeteria until 2005, when Hoch-Shanahan opened. The LEED-certified Dining Commons, as it’s known, is 28,000 square feet and boasts “open exhibition kitchen areas, seating for nearly 500, a state-of-the-art pizza oven and a rotisserie oven,” according to the college; hours, pricing and more are on the same page.
Aesthetically, it’s among the best of the cafeterias, with a high ceiling, big windows and lots of natural light, similar to McKenna’s. Mudd may get the edge because its setup is so user-friendly. For one thing, there’s an electronic menu board above each food station, letting you decide quickly based on the offerings if you want to get in line.
Items this particular day included pizzas, flatbreads, rotisserie chicken and pho, the Vietnamese beef noodle soup. They also had burgers and other sandwiches, a salad bar and more.
I got flatbread, pizza, chicken with sauteed mushrooms, mushroom caps stuffed with spinach, and a salad; my friend had some of the above plus the soup, creamy potato green chile.
“On a consistent basis, the soups are really good,” my friend said. “At Pitzer they have two soups a day; here they have three.”
She pointed out two other features that may be unique to Mudd: an Icee machine and a Karl Benjamin painting. Both classy touches.
For dessert, they had fresh-baked cookies, three kinds of fancy ice cream, strawberry shortcake, chocolate pudding, brownies and more. Cost for lunch: $13 for guests like me. Pretty good for all you can eat, and the food is really good. They even have a rack of newspapers, including the New York Times, to read.