Campus food. It’s what everyone’s talking about. High prices, insufficient options, and food quality to rival the mouldy scraps in the back of your freezer. I dread to think what Gordon Ramsay would do if he ever got the McGill Food and Dining Services team by the collar, but I can’t lie, I’d be jolly pleased if he did.
The campaigns are coming in fast now. Let’s Eat McGill’s community assemblies and student protests are leading the charge to shed light on the food insecurity crisis at McGill. But despite students’ best efforts so far, the university is working at a snail’s pace. Campus food accessibility and quality have not improved. So, since they’re uninterested in addressing this problem sufficiently and quickly, we have a pressing issue: What’s for lunch?
Here are some affordable options to get you through the day.
Super Savings ($0-3)
Midnight Kitchen, a non-profit volunteer collective, is back and on a mission to increase the accessibility of campus food. Operating out of the second floor of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) building, the student-funded service provides free vegan meals.
And look, I’ve had my fair share of bad vegan food; most are not worth a side eye, but hand on heart, Midnight Kitchen is worth your time. Free, simple, sustainable food that fills you up—take notes, McGill.
It’s only operating two or three times a month at the moment, as it’s underfunded, but when it is serving, be sure to get there well before 1:00 p.m. because the line will snake fast.
Homemade sandwiches with ingredients from local grocery stores
Sometimes nothing beats a homemade sandwich. It’s also a smart idea when it comes to lunch-time savings, and when it comes to price, it’s a hard sell to beat Segal’s on St. Laurent for consistent cost savings.
My advice? Keep it simple. Stick with sandwiches or salads, and let the creative juices flow for dinner. Grilled ham and cheese or a Caesar salad play well for the school day. For me, I like to take inspiration from Marco Pierre White: Sourdough, shallots, anchovies, butter, parsley, and dish-dash-dosh, sorted. You can also mix and match your ingredients with other independent stores. Fruiterie du Plateau, for example, in the Plateau offers cheap, fresh fruit.
Lunch on the go ($4-6)
It’s one of our own, as we say. I’ve heard some talk recently that McGill should buy it or allow it to move on-campus. Don’t forget that it’s so super because McGill has precisely nothing to do with it. That and the fresh sandwiches—made in front of you faster than your eyes can blink, and for prices that don’t make you rethink.
Tim Hortons on Sherbrooke troubles me. Not in terms of price, quality, or anything in between, but the waiting in the 20-minute desolate line. I find myself fading in and out of reality, lost. Thankfully, Tim’s $4.99 roast beef and crispy onion and $5.99 BLT brings me back to reality. And, as it’s just across from campus, it’s a great lunch on the go.
Metro hot food counter deals
It might seem counterintuitive to say that McGill students should support Metro, which is perhaps one of the main culprits of the latest food price spikes, but their hot food counter on Parc has some great deals, from a $5.29 chicken leg meal on Monday to $4.99 poutine on Thursdays. Portion sizes are also not for the faint of heart, either.
Another deal to consider is up Parc Ave: Sansazzlia’s special of the day––a different nine-inch pizza every day for $6.90. Sansalizza is opposite New Residence, but don’t fret about running into first years—they only go at midnight when they’re listening to Drake, high as a kite.
A short stroll away
I’ve mentioned this before in a café recommendations article, but it’s still worth bringing up: An Iranian café-lunch spot on Sherbrooke, a few steps down from street level, offering a range of sandwiches and brunch bites, as well as coffee and herbal tea.