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Dining on-campus during shelter-in-place

The switch from Founders to the Tea Shop came on March 16. For the remaining weeks of the semester and through the summer, all dining services will continue to be held in the Tea Shop.

Besides the change of dining location on campus, the biggest change that has occurred in the Tea Shop is the requirement that everyone must wear a face-covering/mask to enter, aligning with the Face Covering Order by Alameda County. Now the Tea Shop is also selling reusable face masks for $1, and even toilet paper for 55 cents. Additionally, the tables in the Tea Shop have been pushed all together in a corner, so no one can eat inside. All food is put into to-go containers, and you can either eat in your room or some other spot on campus. My favorite spots to take my food are in either Holmgren Meadow or in Strike Plaza, where the “Power of the Woman” statue sits.

The Tea shop has also seen a change in inventory, by selling products like toilet paper, general groceries, trail mix and full bottles of condiments instead of student-beloved bags of candy and ramen. The change of inventory is more so connected to the pandemic and Bon Appetit attempting to supply groceries for students during the shelter-in-place order.

For everyone who misses burgers on Tuesdays, you’ll be glad to know that the grill in the Tea Shop is open at every meal, every day. The grill continues to provide all the usual burgers, fries, and sandwiches, while the classic buffet styles from Founders have been conceded into one smaller section. When sheltering in place was first established at Mills, the Tea Shop served breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the usual brunch and dinner on the weekend. But on April 1, the Tea Shop switched over to brunch and dinner throughout the whole week.

Before the shelter-in-place order and the full-time switch to eating at the Tea Shop, I was a full-time Founders diner and the one thing that has really kept my spirits high on campus is that the quality of food has improved! Of course, the people who make and prepare the food work endlessly to do so, but now with fewer mouths to feed on campus the food has been *chefs kiss* delicious.

While the food quality has improved, like anyone who’s been eating almost the same food for weeks, Uber Eats and I have become very close as I have come to explore various local eats. Yet, nothing makes me feel like the world is somewhat normal by walking to the Tea Shop, face mask on, trying my best to show my gratitude to all the employees for staying on campus to ensure that I get food, and getting those small moments of human interaction during social distancing.