EC Eats

An honest review of Hilltop Dining Center

Charlotte Becker

More stories from Charlotte Becker


When thinking of what to eat and review for this article, my mind originally went to one of the local cafes, restaurants or even some bar food. However, upon further reflection I realized that as a freshman student I have a unique option right here on campus — Hilltop.

Hilltop Center itself is filled with social activity options like pool, a bouldering wall, group exercise rooms and the Environmental Adventure Center. The dining hall portion is technically called the Riverview Cafe, however most students refer to it simply as Hilltop.

I decided to attend the well-known and controversial dining option for those like myself that reside on upper campus for the first time this semester. My current dining plan doesn’t require that I eat my dinners at Hilltop, so I have avoided that place like the plague. 

My first semester of school I was not impressed by food and options available, so I had switched to a different plan that would suit my picky eating tendencies a bit better. 

However, I have heard from friends that Hilltop has been changing around some options this semester and my interest was piqued. 

So, I gathered my journalism notebook and marched myself over to do some investigative journalism on the potentially infamous dining hall. 

Upon entry, I was pleasantly surprised. I was met with a few more unique options than there previously had been. 

Where there used to be a place called the Big Olé, which served loosely Mexican style food in a bowl with tortillas, and on the rarest occasion chips, is now BBQ Nation. It was a potato place called Spuds for a bit, but has since returned to BBQ Nation. 

Then there used to be an interesting place called Black Bowl that served some kind of noodles and soups that were made with what seemed to be spaghetti noodles. I rarely dared to eat there. What exists now is a wonderful option called Noodle House.

Riverview Cafe also consists of an Italian-style subs and pizza place, a homestyle spot, a burgers and fries place, cereal, waffles, a soup option, along with fruits, veggies and other assortments of sides. 

I decided to get my dinner from Noodle House. I was able to choose the type of protein, including meat and tofu options, veggies such as corn, green beans and onions and then they cooked the food in front of us. I was so happy to have so many choices.

It was especially excellent to see all of the vegetarian options in that station alone, as a lack of vegetarian food had previously been an issue with the dining hall. 

Overall, my experience was a wonderful surprise. I was happy with my meal and the changes I saw in Hilltop.

Because of the complaints of the food in the fall of 2022, the dining program notified students via email that they had heard the feedback and would be implementing changes. It is good that they are taking action to improve what is available to students who rely on the food there.

Students who live on campus pay a lot of money to eat there, and for most it is their only source of food. Hilltop is taking student feedback seriously and making changes, which has definitely changed my opinion for the better.

Becker can be reached at [email protected].