UMass Amherst ranks No. 1 — again — for campus dining

Amherst, MA - 10/04/17 - The lunch crowd on a Wednesday afternoon. According to one rating, UMASS Amherst has the best campus food in the country. Hampshire Dining Common serves 8000 people a day. As much as 30% of food served is locally sourced. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Reporter: (Nestor Ramos) Topic: (06nestoramherst)
Lane Turner/Globe Staff/File
The lunch crowd at UMass Amherst on a Wednesday afternoon in 2017.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst’s dining services has been named the country’s best for the third year in a row by the Princeton Review, the college said Monday.

“We are humbled and extremely grateful to be recognized as the Best Campus Food in the nation, three years in a row,” Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst, said in a statement. “We’re serving more than just food, we strive to create memorable dining experiences and to enrich the quality of campus life.”

The rankings were based on surveys of 138,000 students at the schools in the Princeton Review guide.


“UMass students have spoken,” said Robert Franek, the Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief, noting that thousands of UMass Amherst pupils completed the surveys. “UMass Dining remains a leader and teacher in higher education.”

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A chef from UMass Amherst will appear on NBC’s “Today” Tuesday morning between 10 and 11 a.m. to present hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb with three popular dishes — sushi, mushroom-blended chicken tikka sliders, and local peach macarons.

UMass Amherst serves about 4,000 handcrafted sushi rolls a day, mostly made by student staff. The mushroom-blended chicken tikka slider won a James Beard Foundation Award in 2017, according to the university.

Over the past decade, the school’s dining program has gone from fairly standard to something resembling a high-end casino buffet, offering a sushi bar, infused water, and locally sourced seafood.

The food, of course, comes with a cost, and some students have raised questions about if the program is worth the expense, with meal plans reaching as high as $3,269 per semester this year. (Globe columnist Nestor Ramos has noted that UMass Amherst charges less than other Massachusetts colleges. Toong has also previously said the program is less expensive than its competitors on a per-plate basis).

A dessert at UMass Amherst.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff/File
A dessert at UMass Amherst.

Nestor Ramos of the Globe staff contributed to this report.