In case you didn’t hear the news or if you live under a rock, Rowan will be switching from Tapingo to Grubhub very soon. With that in mind, I devised a tier list out of the majority of restaurants Tapingo has to offer, corny wordplay included.
Before proceeding to the tier list, it’s important to keep some things in mind. First, this is only my opinion. Also, I left out Einsteins in the Engineering building, We Proudly Serve in Holly Pointe Commons, Shaked Up in the Rowan REC Center, and Freshens Smoothies since they are neither in the Student Center or are not actual meals.
At the time of the list being made, Loaded Pierogi and Absurd Bird were the two pop-up restaurants, but Hot Diggity Dog will still be included.
With that in mind, let’s start from the bottom and work up.
I don’t drink coffee and I know nothing about it whatsoever, but I do know one thing: you shouldn’t be eating at Peet’s Coffee, period. My biggest problem with Peet’s is the hash browns. They get me heated because while they’re good, the problem is that when you take them out of the plastic wrap, you’ve lost half of the hash brown. From there, your hash brown is in shambles and looks more like shredded home fries.
As far as the sandwiches, the bread and bagels sometimes carry a stale-like texture and lack freshness. Sometimes they’re colder than being left on read and what was supposed to be a breakfast of champions becomes a meal of rookies. I’ve rarely enjoyed my experiences with Peet’s, and I’m not insulting the staff, but they need to step up in my opinion.
You should choose Crust when it’s late at night (9 p.m. -11 p.m.) during weekdays and you’re in the mood for a pizza. The baked ziti is a good choice, however the pizzas sometimes have a burned bottom with a raw-ish inside, which kind of makes me think twice when ordering.
I’ve only really gone here a few times, but when I did I always felt that the food was on the lower side of quality. I got the chicken and sweet potato combo, there’s not much to say other than it could have been better.
Pop-Ups: Absurd Bird and Loaded Pierogis
For starters, not much can be said for Absurd Bird since they only offer one item on the menu. Overall, there’s nothing wrong with the Absurd Bird, but it lacks the kind of flavor that would bring me back time and time again. The same can be said about Loaded Pierogis; it’s good, but not great.
Breakfast and Co.
Although this is a mid-table choice, Breakfast and Co. should be your go-to for breakfast using the Grubhub app. I have scrambled opinions about the eggs; they’re good but they tend to be served on the colder side, which is unfortunate when I’m in the mood for a hot meal. The potatoes also share this quality and are often bland, I often have to go through two or three packets of ketchup to help them reach their peak tastiness.
The waffles aren’t bad, but there’s little difference compared to the ones that you can make in Holly Pointe. Where this place shines, however, are the Overnight Oats. These oats are amazing and are a great choice for those who love blueberries and yogurt. The one drawback of this is it doesn’t do a good job keeping you full, but if you need a snack and have a meal swipe to spare, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Pop Up: Hot Diggity Dog
The Rowan Dog is ok, it just tastes like a standard hot dog. However, this place gets my praise for being a place on campus that I can consistently get a good corndog from.
Like a good neighbor, Grill Nation is there. This is one of the few restaurants that dares to stay open past 11 p.m. If you’re a student that needs a caloric boost during a late night study session, this is a good choice. The tenders are consistently good and definitely deserves some praise. Any sandwich you get, whether it’s a grilled cheese, grilled chicken, etc., is well prepared and has plenty of options to make it feel like your sandwich. The mozzarella sticks and pancakes also deserve a mention for being great. The only cons of this place are the wait times, for both waiting in line and food preparation.
There’s not much to say on this one. It has a simple premise of building your own meals and executes the idea well. Sono is also very versatile, offering many options including tacos, burritos, nachos and more. It’s better than most because of its versatility and consistency, but just falls short in the flavor category to be the best option.
Chef Jet is the true wildcard of this list. The chicken, whether it’s General Tso’s or teriyaki, always has good flavor. The rice is always prepared well and doesn’t disappoint. However, the vegetables and portions of chicken keep this out of the highest tier. Sometimes you get a great meal with luscious broccoli and perfect portions of chicken, but other times you get over-steamed veggies and less chicken than there are days in the week. If Chef Jet can fix its consistency issue, there is no reason why it can’t be in the top tier.
Jersey Mike’s Hot and Cold Subs
The cheesesteaks from Jersey Mike’s Hot Subs never fall short on flavor and are extremely consistent. They always seem to have a perfect ratio of cheese and steak. However, the theme of consistency is also their biggest enemy; it always takes them a long time to make the sandwiches. They’ve also messed up my order a few times.
As for the cold subs, I sometimes find myself screaming “Mike’s Way” in my sleep. Similar to Sono, you pretty much get to build your own sandwich, and unlike Sono, the cold subs don’t fall short on flavor. The weakness of this choice is that the sandwiches you get for a meal swipe are too small. You have to pay to make your sandwich bigger, which is okay for the first few weeks, but quickly gets old after you’ve used up the funds on your Rowan card and want a bigger sandwich.
The food from Freshens is amazing, no exceptions. For starters, you get amazing variety in the form of wraps, salads, paninis, and more. The ingredients, like the name implies, are indeed fresh. I especially notice this in the chicken, which feels soft and juicy, and is never dry.
Freshens has an incredible level of credibility with me. My go-to with this spot was the build-your-own-bowl and it always amazed me at how consistent the meals were. The portions were always fair and consistently helped me get over that “hungry” feeling. They’re good to the point where I’ve tried most of the things on their menu without feeling like I was taking a risk. They are truly good at making everything they offer.
In my honest opinion, Smoked is the G.O.A.T. This is as close as you will get to a home cooked meal at school as possible. Everything on the menu is good, from the entrees to the side orders, and even the cornbread they throw in with every order.
What makes this choice the best is how it excels in every category; the portions make you forget you were hungry and they’re very consistent and they have healthy options. To me, nothing beats the Smoked meatloaf with any two sides and a corn muffin.
All in all, I do applaud Rowan for its variety of food. Although some places can be better, the fact that there are at least five restaurants that are above average is pretty Tapin-Tasty.
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