Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Cupid’s shadow can be found in the corners of the Information Commons, his arrows stuck in Dumbach Hall’s walls. Those bit by the love bug face one crucial question — where to go on the first date? Luckily for these bumbling beaus, Loyola offers a range of dining options, dishing …
Dining Dates: Loyola’s Dining Halls Serve Up Romance This Valentine’s Season
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Cupid’s shadow can be found in the corners of the Information Commons, his arrows stuck in Dumbach Hall’s walls.
Those bit by the love bug face one crucial question — where to go on the first date?
Luckily for these bumbling beaus, Loyola offers a range of dining options, dishing up dinner and convenience. These easy-access meals serve a low-effort date night within the comfort of Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus.
Between the Damen, de Nobili and Simpson dining halls, which will be taking home the rose?
Here’s The Phoenix’s ratings of Loyola’s dining halls as first date locations.
Damen: The All-American Lover
Damen Dining Hall is tried and true and considered by some a pure American beauty. Located in the Damen Student Center and open for dinner from 4:30 to 9 p.m., this hall cooks up “curated plates from our states,” according to their logo’s slogan.
Their dishes offer a wide variety of standard American meals. From a well-done burger to breaded chicken drumsticks, it truly doesn’t get more patriotic than this.
In the off-chance Damen serves its spaghetti and red meat sauce, a “Lady and the Tramp” moment could be a romantic possibility.
Damen’s selection of adorable mini desserts allows an indulgence in the most classic of date moves — hand-feeding the other person.
However, caution is needed when planning a first date at Damen. Given the hall’s history with health code violations, couples must be prepared to test the longevity of their relationship, loving each other in sickness and in health.
Many of the dining hall’s seating options are reserved for parties of four or more, which leaves couples to fend for themselves.
Damen does offer two-seaters, but they’ve either been pushed tight together in a row along the booths or have been separated from the pack in the darkest corner of the room. Leaking private conversations to everyone around certainly isn’t ideal but neither is squinting to make out the details of a date’s face.
All in all, Damen stands for extroverted lovers looking to share their newly blossoming relationship over a dinner of reliably simple chicken nuggets and grilled cheese.
First date score: 2/5
de Nobili’s International Rendezvous
If Damen is the girl next door, then de Nobili is the international summer fling. Self-identifying as being formed from “global inspiration,” this dining hall boasts meals from around the world.
From 4:30 to 11 p.m. de Nobili provides diverse entrees like tender beef stir-fry and hearty Hungarian goulash soup.
This late-night bite aspect makes it easier for busy students to plan and attend a first date. Sadly, the dining hall is closed on weekends, limiting couples to weekday-only dates.
Its bi-flavor ice cream machine analogizes the paring of lovebirds to the compatibility of chocolate and vanilla.
With its cosmopolitan dishes, this dining hall carries an air of sophistication. A honeymoon in Italy can be easily replaced by a slice of de Nobili pizza and salad.
The eating area features an abundance of couple’s corners with a long line of booth-and-chair duo seats. This seating arrangement makes the area feel like a cozy bistro off the beaten path.
It’s busy enough to be attractive without appearing cheap, mimicking the feeling of a coveted Michelin star restaurant and adding a sense of accomplishment and style to the date.
Overall, de Nobili welcomes the elegant and cultured lovers seeking a peregrine night out on the town.
First date score: 5/5
Simpson’s Sustaining Devotion
Simpson Hall’s dining is the sustainable giant, with their motto being “crafted with wellness.” If there’s hope of impressing a date with altruistic eco-consciousness, Simpson is the place to be.
Not only is this hall sustainable, but it’s attentive to any dietary restrictions. Its dishes specialize in halal, gluten, vegan and allergen-friendly meals.
Paramours beware — this dining hall is the first of the three to close its doors in the evening at 7 p.m., making date night a shorter affair than expected.
However, despite its early evening hours, it still remains an open option from 7 to 11 a.m. for a passionate weekend brunch. Simpson’s made-to-order omelettes are excellent to split.
Simpson’s designated area of tables for two is complemented by a vaulted ceiling. This allows for plenty of light to strike a romantic mood, calming any nervous feelings.
Despite these advantages, Simpson suffers a sparsity of guests past breakfast time. On one hand, this offers privacy to a first dinner date. On the other, it appears to trap the two alone together — a scary thought if the date ends up going poorly.
On the whole, Simpson is suited for the cautious sweethearts keen on having a date that’s more on the quiet side.
First date score: 4/5
Featured image by Catherine Meyer | The Phoenix