Fine dining in the Student Union

The Tiffin Room is a hidden North Campus gem for a calm lunch experience

The Spectrum

Between the weekday hours of noon and 2 p.m., hundreds of students take over the Student Union. Edgy Veggies, Moe's, Tim Hortons and Pistachio's draw lines of over 30 students at a time.

On the second floor - at the end of the corridor, to the left of Pistachio's - lies a sit-down restaurant that contrasts the battlefield of students attempting to grab lunch between classes downstairs.

The Tiffin Room, UB's only full-service, sit-down restaurant, offers filling salads, hearty sandwiches and paninis, build-your-own burgers and entrees like pasta and pizza.

On UB's hectic North Campus, the Campus Dining & Shops (CDS) restaurant is intended to provide an environment for students, faculty and staff to dine with real silverware and enjoy casual meetings or sit-down lunches with colleagues.

"The concept of The Tiffin Room is to have a nice, upscale dining place for people to eat during lunch," said Mary Jo Butler, the general manager of Putnam's, Pistachio's and The Tiffin Room.

The Tiffin Room is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch. As business grows, the eatery may expand its hours to dinnertime. Though it originally only accepted cash and credit, the restaurant now takes meal plans, dining dollars and campus cash as a means of payment so students can enjoy a dine-in meal without having to spend extra cash outside their meal plans.

"I appreciate the fact that UB is trying to accommodate our wants and needs by providing a restaurant that accepts meal credit," said Mudita Mishra, a sophomore biomedical engineering major.

The venue was renovated this summer. Patrons can find soft lights, open spaces and dividers to prevent disruption in the dining area.

Some of The Tiffin Room's food can also be found at CDS eateries Pistachio's Bread Box Deli and Bravo Pasta - The Tiffin Room uses bread exclusive to those dining locations. A few of its sandwiches are the California club, reuben and tuna melt, which can be found at the Bread Box. Pastas like penne vodka, chicken or shrimp broccoli alfredo and spicy chicken alfredo are also served at Bravo Pasta.

Many of The Tiffin Room's items, however, can't be found anywhere else on campus.

One of its popular items is a Tiffin Room original - the Turkey Waldorf Salad, which consists of mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, apples and walnuts, topped with a turkey breast and raspberry vinaigrette dressing. The Veggie Patch Pizza is also a favorite and is only found at the Tiffin Room, according to Butler.

The Tiffin Room offers a "pick your pair" meal - two items (between soups, salads, sandwiches and pastas) together for a special price. Customers can pair options from any side to create a personalized meal. Prices vary according to how the items are paired, ranging from $6.49 to $8.49.

The French onion soup is "hugely popular," Butler said. She said, like all of The Tiffin Room's foods, the soup is made fresh every day.

For a university eatery, The Tiffin Room gives students more than the average, grab-and-go dining hall experience.

"I think we give great service," Butler said. "I think we're better than some restaurants outside [of campus] in terms of the quality of our food and the quality of our service."

Though it may be faster to grab food on the first floor of the Union, students may want to slow down to enjoy lunch or schedule their next study session at the quieter upstairs eatery.