How to Spend Your Dining Dollars

With dining dollars now accepted at off-campus locations, there’s no shortage of places to spend

~Travis Rocha, Lifestyle Editor~

For many Christopher Newport students, they don’t need any help when it comes to spending dining dollars. In fact, they’ve probably already long since dried that well as we near the end of in-person classes this semester. There’s nothing quite like starting a brand new school year with a full balance of dining dollars. It feels good to be rich, right? For years, Captains have been able to enjoy the finest eating establishments the David Student Union has to offer and use their dining dollars as payment. Home to such favorites as Discovery Pizza, Discovery Grill, and who could forget Discovery Bistro? Though, finally, this semester saw a long overdue change in which several off-campus restaurants now accept dining dollars as well. If you had trouble saving your dining dollars when spending was relegated to the DSU, then there is likely little to no hope for you now because it’s a whole new world.

As a vegetarian who never seems to eat salad, my dining dollars have mostly been spent on Chick-fil-a fries over the years. (I just can’t seem to get enough of that Polynesian sauce.) While CNU’s Chick-fil-a Express has certainly served me well, I’d be lying if I said it was completely fulfilling. Everyone has been in a situation when they order nothing but fries. Undeniably, fries are delicious and a cornerstone of the American diet, but order them every week for three years and you’ll find that… they’re still delicious, but you’ll start to feel bad for doing it. This year I reached my breaking point and I had hardly been to the DSU to spend dining dollars at all. It wasn’t until about a week ago when a group of my friends went to Subway that I discovered what I had been missing all semester.

There’s nothing like a Subway sandwich at midnight and my friends could not agree more. They tried coaxing me into joining them on a late night expedition for subs, but I couldn’t be persuaded because I didn’t feel like spending money. I only wish I had vocalized this rather than just saying I was tired because they would have told me that none of them planned on spending money either. Subway is one of several restaurants newly accepting dining dollars this semester. Among others are Tropical Smoothie, Panera, Marco’s Pizza, 7/11, Subway Station, and Rita’s. Your first time spending dining dollars almost feels like you’re doing something wrong. When I went into Panera to test it out, I was sure they’d soon be telling me the card reader or system was down, but to my surprise there was no such hiccup. After a simple swipe of the card, I was on my way to enjoying a half modern caprese sandwich and bowl of mac and cheese–meal of champions. From here, things quickly spiraled out of control.

With only a few weeks left of in-person classes, I’ve felt like a kid in a candy store as I rush to use every penny of my dining dollars before heading home. I have been frequenting Tropical Smoothie with the intention of trying every smoothie on the menu and I even ventured to try Subway’s pizza (which I then ventured to try two more times because it was strangely good). Admittedly, I haven’t been grocery shopping once since I learned of the new use for dining dollars and I have takeout boxes and bags piling up by the recycling bin. It may not be the healthiest month of my life, but it’s certainly been one of the most satisfying. My only hope is that someone reading this is just like me, previously unaware of the untapped potential within their CNU id’s dining dollars and is now realizing what a great next few weeks it will be. If that’s you, then I suggest heading to Marco’s Pizza first. It was a restaurant I had neither visited nor heard of before, but their pizza is some of the best I’ve had in awhile. And if pizza isn’t your thing, there’s no shortage of other restaurants to visit as well. Though, if you really don’t know how to spend your dining dollars, you can always just give them to me.

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