It's 12am or maybe even 3am. You're tired. Did I mention you were hungry? Maybe you have a bad case of the drunchies or munchies. If you're looking for a great place to eat as well as socialize with those who are just as messed up as you are, there is only one option: Nowl.
For those of you who might not be familiar with this phenomenon, Nowl stands for Night Owl. Most of the on-campus dining halls close around 8pm and then re-open at 9pm as Night Owl with late night snacks, such as milkshakes and a ton of fried food. Some Nowls close at 12am while others stay open until the break of dawn, 4am.
When it's late at night, you're extra cranky, and going to the wrong Nowl could ruin your night, and, quite possibly, your life. But don't worry, I've ranked the Nowls on campus in terms of overall selection, satisfaction and experience to enable you to determine which one is best for you.
Disclaimer: there is no College-in-the-Woods Nowl, so CIW is not included in this list.
When I walked into the Hinman Nowl, I was taken aback by the absence of a grill. There was only a mini-mart store with a selection of snacks and drinks. Even though I was pleased with the variety of snacks available, they weren't things I would go to Nowl for. To be honest, I could buy most of Hinman's Nowl selection from the vending machine.
But, something caught my eye. I realized that the second I walked in and noticed the lack of a grill, I had completely missed the fully-functioning Starbucks and Subway. Yes, you heard that right: Starbucks and Subway.
Although a warm Chai Tea Latte or a hearty $5 footlong (cue the commercial) always hits the spot, this dynamic duo closes at 12am. Therefore, they are out of bounds after a late night, but are perfect for a quick study break snack. Good job, Hinman! Starbucks and Subway were a great touch!
It's a shame that I could buy a lot of Hinman Nowl in my building's vending machine and that there is no grill selection, but the addition of Starbucks and Subway really spice it up (no pun intended)!
It's lack of grill really hurts the score, but the convenient store is pretty dank and who doesn't love Starbucks and Subway (when they're open).
Overall Experience: 4/10
Nowl is something that is most important after a late night, and since it's best features close at 12, it is not really worth the trip.
Total Score: 13.5/30
Mountainview Nowl (Appalachian Dining Hall):
After I finally made it up Mount Everest, I entered the Mountainview Nowl and was very excited. The first thing that caught my eye was the fro-yo I saw. But, I also smelled grease and knew there was a grill too. Say what?
I immediately went to the grill to see what it had to offer. I was very pleased with the selection of mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders, pizza rolls and curly fries. I also noticed that there were wraps, which is a great alternative to the fried food.
In addition to the food mentioned above, this Nowl was full of snacks, such as Tostitos and Chex Mix, and other rare finds, such as Entenmann's doughnuts. In addition, they sold easy meals such as ramen noodles and Easy Mac.
However, while the plethora of food options was exciting, I was overwhelmed by the small venue space of this Nowl. While good things come in small packages, this space was a tad too small to be enjoyable. It was hard to hold my mozzarella sticks in one hand and fro-yo in the other with a crowd of people pushing me on either side. Not to mention, there was only one cashier working the line, which caused for a really long line that wrapped around the whole place. I practically finished my food while waiting to pay. Nevertheless, my tastebuds really enjoyed themselves here!
From fro-yo to the grill to wraps to the snack and ramen noodle section, this Nowl really had it all!
Unfortunately, the lackluster smoothie and the crowdedness followed by the super long line to pay tainted parts of the experience. Also, Mountainview is a hike to get to for most residents of the other housing communities, which can be both good and bad, since you can burn those anticipated calories walking up to the dining hall, but can also risk danger walking up the hill in the dark.
Overall Experience: 9/10
This Nowl seriously kicked some butt! I would definitely go back again!Total Score: 27.5/30....WOW!
Newing/Dickinson Nowl (C4 Dining Hall):
Since I am a born and raised Newing citizen, this was not the first Nowl I had gone to! But, I am unbiased and do not judge Nowls based on their proximity to my dorm.
When I first came to this Nowl, I was so happy with their selection. Their grill is fire, offering mac and cheese bites, pizza rolls, curly fries, chicken tenders, and mozzarella sticks. Okay, hold me back! Unfortunately, the line for the grill was a little too long for the cranky and tired, but the food was so good it made up for the long wait.
The Expedition section also enticed me. My first time there, there were quesadillas and the next day, there was grilled cheese! This comfort food was a huge game changer and was a good alternative to the fried food in the back.
If you're someone who is tempted by the unhealthy yet delicious food with the willpower to not eat it, you can still enjoy this Nowl. There is a cold cut station with fruit and veggies, so your diet doesn't have to suffer while you enjoy Nowl with your friends.
I kept walking and found the milkshake station! These milkshakes definitely bring all of the boys to the yard. With flavors ranging from cookies and cream to Chocolate Fudge Brownie to Phish Food, everyone is pleased. Did I mention they're made with our favorite boys, Ben & Jerry?! You can also add whipped cream and chocolate syrup to your shake. But, the milkshake selection changes every day. Sometimes there are cookies and cream, vanilla, and chocolate fudge brownie all at once, but occasionally there is only strawberry. Either way, these milkshakes are incredible and are a definite must-have.
Even though there was a long wait for the fried food, there is so much space in this Nowl for me to wander around and attempt to choose only one thing to eat. Also, even though their snack section isn't as abundant as Mountainview's selection, it still has enough to satisfy those chip cravings.
This Nowl basically has it all: grilled cheese, fried foods, milkshakes, chips, and even healthy options. However, many people go for the milkshakes and may be disappointed if the flavor they want isn't being served. Aside from that rare occasion, all kind of eaters are happy at this Nowl.
The food at this Nowl is incredible. Anything you choose to eat will be great and you will always be satisfied!
Overall Experience: 9.5
This Nowl is spaced out very nicely and there are three cashiers, so the line to buy food is never long. You will walk out feeling so full, and still have the urge to walk right back in for more!
Total Score: 28.5/30...not too shabby
Can I get a drum roll please?
1st place: Newing and Dickinson (C4) Nowl 28.5 points
2nd place: Mountainview Nowl 27.5 points
3rd place: Hinman Nowl 13.5 points
Keep calm and Nowl on!