UMN students bid farewell to Centennial Dining Hall

Centennial’s dining hall has closed following Pioneer Hall’s building renovations.

From left, Mike Lau, Roudra Bhattacharya, Nathan Hafey, Matt Legler and Jeevan Prakash enjoy a meal in the newly renovated Pioneer Dining Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Pioneer replaces Centennial as the only dining hall available to students living in Superblock.

Jack Rodgers

From left, Mike Lau, Roudra Bhattacharya, Nathan Hafey, Matt Legler and Jeevan Prakash enjoy a meal in the newly renovated Pioneer Dining Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Pioneer replaces Centennial as the only dining hall available to students living in Superblock.

Michael McGough

Centennial Dining Hall closed its doors this summer after feeding students, staff and faculty at the University of Minnesota for years. In it’s place, Pioneer Hall now houses Superblock’s sole dining hall.

Pioneer Hall reopened this fall after undergoing a $104.5 million renovation that added a new dining facility to the building. Now, Pioneer Hall is responsible for feeding the more than 2,800 residents of Superblock — which also encompasses Frontier Hall, Territorial Hall and Centennial Hall — on the University’s East Bank campus.

Prior to Pioneer Hall’s renovations, Centennial Hall and Pioneer Hall both operated dining facilities simultaneously. Now, with the absence of Centennial’s dining hall, Superblock is adjusting to having just one dining hall. 

First year Kevin Vang said that the line to eat at Pioneer’s dining hall can stretch out the residence hall’s front doors. Milli Sandhu, another first year student, said she had difficulty finding the vegetarian options because the dining hall was busy.

Meanwhile, many students must bid farewell to Centennial’s dining hall, which some say helped them adjust to life at the University by providing warm food and a place to socialize.

After senior Carson Mummert transferred to the University, Centennial Dining Hall served as a place to spend time with friends between classes.

“I used to go there with my friends a lot a few semesters ago,” Mummert said. “The food was super good, and it was convenient.”

Mummert’s fondness for Centennial is mirrored by other students who speak nostalgically about the dining hall. Junior Peter Goncharov said it’s “too bad” that Centennial Dining Hall closed.

Goncharov spent a lot of time there as a first year student, and he appreciated its unique characteristics.

“I had a group of friends who lived in Territorial and Frontier, and we ate at Centennial a lot,” Goncharov said. “When I first went there, I thought it looked like a dungeon. It was underground, and there were a lot of huge TVs everywhere.”

Goncharov said he associated the dining hall with relaxation. “It had rushes, but it was never too busy,” he said.

Senior Emily Streit lived in Pioneer Hall as a first-year, but ate almost every meal at Centennial. 

“Everyone would go eat after class and talk about the day. It was like a recap,” she said.

Streit regularly went to Centennial with friends late at night to eat waffles, and she said she liked eating there when the University’s football team played. 

“They had the best tater tots on every game day,” she said.