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Nov 26, 2008 09:31 AM

Food options at your workplace?

Just curious, as my building of over 600 people has a full-service cafeteria. They do 2-3 hot breakfast options, and for lunch is normally 4-5 hot entrees and a number of sandwiches, soups and random other stuff. We also have a decent salad bar.

I think entrees are normally $5.99, including two sides. Sandwiches plus chips and a drink is normally $4.99 or so.

I'm a dedicated brown-bagger and have never actually had the hot lunch here, but occasionally will get a salad...or dessert & a cuppa...or a bagel in the morning. Some people eat breakfast & lunch here every day.

It's a good thing we have a caf, as our surrounding area has very few other eateries except for a handful of crappy chains.

It's a far cry from my last workplace. We had a sole vending machine, a dirty microwave and a fridge that people stole others' lunches from! We also had one of those nasty catering trucks that came around. We called it the Roach Coach :)

What do you folks have or do for eats at work? Any interesting eateries around your office? A cafeteria? Catering services? Bring leftovers? Nothing at all?

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  1. When I worked in a nearby suburb, our building had a cafeteria similar to yours. 2 companies shared the building, 700 or so employees in total.
    In the city, however, few companies have the space for something like this so its fast food, a few local salad bar/sandwich chains like Pax and Cafe Metro, a few decent Chinese/Korean/Indian places, Starbucks. Numerous sit-down restaurants too, but it would cost me a small fortune to to that every day. We have a great cleaning person on our floor that keeps the fridge and microwave spotless. So, chowhound that I am, almost always bring leftovers.

    1. Our large reserch campus hasa large cafeteria where most of the national staff have lunch (because almost all meals are subsidized based on salary), a small restarant where most of the international staff eat that is more expensive, and some nicer and more expensive dining rooms where people on short visits might eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner (there is a sprawling hotel that includes from small one-bedroom places to two bedroom full apartmernts). Ten minutes away is a typical small Colombian town with a few options (the tradional fried pork, big bowl of bean soup,and rice at the Bomberos is best).

      Our unit has a small kitchen with a two place electic stove and large sink. Two drawers in my office filing cabinets have pots, knives, cutting boards, plates, blender, bowls, strainers, utensils, cups, and other basic equipment; and basic condiments, sauces, rice, oil. I can and do make just about anything for lunch that can be done on a stovetop.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        Well, going counter-clockwise through our cafeteria, we first pass the bottled water cooler, the soft drink machine, the cappucino/latte/expresso machine, the flavored coffee. Then we work our way around the salads, the grab-and-go cooler, and the sandwiches. Next is the Asian/sushi station, followed by the vegetarian station, which is right next to the deep fryer and the grill. Opposite end is the pasta station, right next to the Mexican station. A sharp left around the do-it-yourself sandwich/salad bar brings you to the Exhibition station, which might serve anything from duck, veal, lamb, salmon, trout, or prime rib. Last is the pizza station and the desert station. We can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner for less than $15 total. I'm just not sure why I can't lose these last 15 pounds!

      2. In our lunchroom we have 3 soda/juice/water vending machines, a Maxwell House/General Foods "coffee" machine, chips etc. machine, four microwaves, a fridge, a toaster, and the "wheel of death" - one of those fresh-food carousel machines with the doors at each level that open when you put enough money in. I tried the "coffee" machine once when I thought I was absolutely desperate for a cup--I now know I can NEVER be that desperate! (I also saw the vending company guy refilling it one day with sacks of brown goo: never again will I be tempted.) The Wheel has some useful options like milk and actual pices of fruit, but I've never dared try any of the other offerings, like plastic-wrapped red hot dog on a white bun or tiny sausage patties on a biscuit. To be fair, a colleague once had a decent, if small, plate of black beans & rice from the Wheel...The snack machine is full of the usual fare plus a few attempts at 'healthy' snacks.

        That lunchroom has saved me a WHOLE LOT OF MONEY! Luckily I've never had anything stolen from the fridge, the microwaves are at least as clean as mine at home, so I plan leftovers or portable stuff like cheese, hummus, baby cut carrots and the like. The filtered hot-water tap is great for tea, ramen, etc without that city-water taste. Then there are nearby options if one isn't too picky: three or four Chinese take-out spots, two Thai, a couple of bar & grill places, the local House of Pizza (a.k.a. "House of Grease", but actually pretty decent), and the usual array of fast-food emporia.

        I used to work at a large bank with a full-service cafeteria. The food wasn't bad, but I would have needed a second job to pay for my lunch! It made the place smell really good, though. I ate a lot of Uncle Ben's nuke-in-bag rice pilaf and Simply Asia bowls when I absolutely needed a hot lunch!