If you go
What: The CanteenWhere: 4 Avenue of Remembrance, The Citadel campusHours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridaymore Info: 953-2598
Well, this sure beats the old bowling alley.
The Citadel’s Canteen has undergone several iterations across the decades. It began as a bowling alley in the 1960s before becoming a snack bar and now a modernized dining facility operating in conjunction with Aramark.
In sunny and, yes, tech-savvy quarters (check out the free Wi-Fi, 55-inch televisions and Sirius XM Radio), The Canteen serves a bounty of pizza, burgers, soups, salads and wraps, appropriate options for all cadets. Or the public. Anyone is welcome to dine.
Updated kitchen equipment includes a pair of soup wells, salad bar, a condiment station for the flat-top griddle burgers and pizza conveyor oven firing up its share of carry-out orders.
So how does the new grub taste?
About like Aramark tastes. It’s professional work. Food service giants tend to have the formula down pat. There’s nothing terribly unpleasant here, and some choices, the popular, order-out Wednesday night meals, for instance, receive high marks.
The condiment bar is a huge plus, the cheeseburgers ($3.29), double cheeseburgers ($4.59) or even Philly cheese steaks ($4.99) lifted off the flat-top and fit inside a warm, steamy bun, ready for your choosing. Here, have a few extra pickles, onions, black olives or green peppers.
Breakfast options include the traditional bacon, eggs, sausage, biscuits and grits, as well as bagels and yogurt parfaits.
The hot bar rotation features Southern faves such as fried chicken and meatloaf.
And what’s a Canteen without the drinks? The Coke Freestyle machine lets diners pick from about a gazillion (er, fact check: actually 256) options.
There’s even a F’Real milkshake automaton that divvies out chocolate, vanilla, peanut-butter cup, cookie dough, and cookies and cream flavors, all custom-mixed to extra thick, regular or less thick specifications.
So, that’s entirely awesome, and, no, home blenders aren’t yet available. I know because I’ve already checked. Until then, it looks like I’ll be paying a few more visits to The Canteen.