With more than 90 percent of students living on campus all four years, St. Olaf is a very residential campus. School policy dictates that living on campus means having a meal plan. To those unfamiliar with the school, that probably sounds awful, but the St. Olaf cafeteria ranks highly among the nation's colleges for its food, so it isn't nearly as bad as you may think. There is only one cafeteria on campus, and it can get pretty crowded when 2,700 students are all trying to get to dinner sometime between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. But what the Caf lacks in elbow room, it more than makes up for in quality.
The Caf works in an all-you-can-eat style. There are multiple stations or lines, each with a different meal option. These can range from meatloaf, potatoes, and green beans to falafel and couscous in the all-vegan grains line. There are eight lines plus a salad bar, soups, cereal, and desserts. While students at most schools are spending a large amount of their cash going out to eat, Oles enjoy restaurant-quality meals right on campus. When you buy your meal plan, you also get about $70 a semester to spend at the Cage. The Cage is run by the same company that handles the Caf and is like an upscale diner. You can use your student ID, cash, or credit cards to buy fresh fruit smoothies, grilled cheese, salads, soup, ice cream, espresso, and things like that. The downside is that the place closes at 8 p.m., which is ridiculously early.