With Hopkins’ proximity to downtown New Haven, students frequent restaurants in the area. Eating out at local restaurants strengthens the school’s connection with the city.
Members of the Hopkins community often eat out in order to escape the busyness and pressure of the week. Harini Thiruvengadam ’23 said, “I go to restaurants for special occasions or sometimes just for fun. It’s especially fun to eat out with a friend that I maybe haven’t seen in a while.” Yaqub Bajwa ’22 said, “I love being able to spend time with my friends, whether that be just driving around, chilling at home, or going to get coffee. I love eating out. I would say I eat out 1-3 times a week.”
Each member of the student body has a unique taste in New Haven cuisine. Bajwa said, “I LOVE spicy food. Like SUPER spicy food. I will order whatever the most flavorful or spicy thing there is because I don't like boring tastes at mall.” Thiruvengadam described her food preferences: “I’m somewhat of a picky eater; I love trying new foods. My favorite foods would probably be soft tacos, sushi, and naan.” As Co-head of the Vegetarian/Vegan Environmentalists Advocating for Nature (V.E.G.A.N) Club, Krishna Scholand ’23 enjoys exploring new plant-based foods. She orders “Whatever's vegan: vegan burgers, vegan pizza, vegan milkshakes, and french fries.”
Students search for different characteristics in order to find the best restaurants. Scholand looks for “good food in a restaurant, good reviews, and recommendations.” Vedant Aryan ’24 said, “I also enjoy restaurants that aren't too loud, but still, have a decent volume so that it's not completely silent. I also enjoy fun and kind [servers] who talk to me like a friend, but don’t actively search for them in order to call a restaurant good.” As well as delicious food, Bajwa enjoys restaurants with relaxed ambiances: “I personally do like homey vibes, but I am literally fine with anything. To be completely honest, ‘fine dining’ and fancy restaurants stress me out, and I don't always see the point. The best restaurants, in my opinion, are family-owned local restaurants. They have the best food and are down to Earth.” Alex Spasov ’23 said, “I think good food and a comfortable atmosphere make a good restaurant.”
However, Leela DeSilva ‘22 prefers unique decoration: “I love when restaurants have extravagant decor; I swear it makes the food taste better. Although I love music in general, I do not care for it so much in a restaurant because I am usually talking to someone.” Marco Buschauer ’23 values well-prepared food over a restaurant’s atmosphere: “For me, the quality of food is one of the most important aspects of coming back to a restaurant. If the ambiance is great, it’s a reason to stay longer in the restaurant, same with music, but good food is the primary reason why I would go back to a restaurant.”
With over 120 restaurants within two blocks of New Haven Green and over 88 food trucks throughout the city, students are able to find restaurants they enjoy. Scholand says that she frequently eats at: “ION (It’s Only Natural), Monty’s Good Burger, and Double Zero. I really like that all of their food is vegan and that it tastes good.” Buschauer described the food at Mecha: “Unlike many of the other chain-ramen places in Connecticut, Mecca manages to make the soup taste fantastic, and the ramen taste freshly made.” He also enjoys fast-food restaurants while in a rush, “Shake Shack is a fantastic place to get food quickly after coming back from something. The ice custards they have are a fantastic change from normal ice cream and the root beer floats they have are great, too. The best part, of course, are the burgers, which taste perfect.” Bajwa echoed this idea, “I also order a LOT of takeout and Uber Eats.” DeSilva agreed: “I love all types of food, so it is hard to say what I usually order. Not [going to] lie, though, I could eat Mecha’s spicy miso ramen every day... ”.
Food also brings the Hopkins community together. During team dinners, students can bond and get to know their teammates. Aryan, who runs on the cross country team, described memorable experiences at team dinners: “My favorite part of the team dinner was honoring the senior athletes with haiku recitations and gifts. I also enjoyed seeing ‘paper plate awards’ being gifted to everyone on the team because it showed how included and important every single member was.” Sylvia Franz ‘23 reflected on swim team dinner: “I like the large quantities of it since we are swimmers and eat so much.” The tradition creates camaraderie amongst sports teams and a more welcoming community.
Buschauer said that eating out brings his family together: “School nights restrict that and often, homework gets in the way, but on weekends it’s always a pleasure to spend with my family. We often eat dinner at good restaurants.” He continued, “Some of our favorites in New Haven are ‘Bonchon’ and ‘T-Swirl crepe,’ which is a great place to get desserts after a movie or axe throwing with the fam.” Aryan said, “I love eating out be- cause my whole family loves food from many different cuisines. I go to restaurants with my family almost two times every week. We try to go to newer restaurants regularly.”
The variety of food choices in New Haven encourages a sociable environment and a sense of togetherness among members of the Hopkins community. DeSilva commented, “I love cooking but every once in a while (maybe once every two weeks), going to a restaurant is amazing. I love the excitement of waiting for the food, the decor, and the talking ”