Where to go when dining halls are not an option

Downtown Columbia offers more than one would think. Here is a quick overview of the range of restaurants found a walking distance from campus.


For some reason, there aren't any events to display here.


More Stories

MU has a great variety when it comes to dining halls. From Mexican to Southeast Asian and the regular all-you-can-eat, there’s a lot you can get from your meal plan. However, most of them close at or before 8 p.m. and earlier on the weekends. You might run out of swipes or maybe you and your friends just want something other than dining hall food.

For when that happens, here’s a list of options in Downtown Columbia. They have different price ranges and are all at a walking distance from the MU campus.

For breakfast lovers

If you love breakfast or brunch, some places in Columbia are here to fulfill your needs. Cafe Berlin and Harold’s Doughnuts both close at 2 p.m. for example.

Harold’s specialty is self-explanatory. They are known to have some of the best doughnuts in town and it’s often easy to try them for free in residential halls or organization events. The doughnuts are made from scratch in front of a big window that faces Ninth St., which makes it easy to watch the whole process (sometimes late at night - doughnuts need to be ready to go when the store opens at 6 a.m.).

Cafe Berlin opens a little later, at 8 a.m. However, they close at 2 p.m. for a reason: the place becomes a concert and event venue in the nighttime. It doesn’t mean their main focus is the music; Cafe Berlin gets lines of people waiting to get in for brunch on the weekends for its breakfast food options that range from french toast to breakfast burritos.

The best study spots

If you need a snack break and Bookmark Cafe is not open, or you simply don’t feel like going to the library, Columbia has a number of cafes that are also popular study spots.

Downtown has Lakota Coffee Company, Kaldi’s Coffee and Shortwave Coffee, to name a few. They are all fairly close to each other, open early (between 6 and 7 a.m.) and close at either 10 p.m. or midnight. All of these cafes have available outlets for your phone and laptop battery needs and of course, wifi.

Columbia’s pizza spectrum

For new students, Shakespeare's Pizza is one of the first dining out destinations. However, Columbia has so many more pizza options to offer. These can range from getting all different kinds of specialty pizza by the slice at Pizza Tree, to a more formal environment at Midici.

If you’re fond of classic chains, you can also find Gumby’s and Papa Johns all at a walking distance from the residential halls.

Asian Cuisine

From Japanese, to Thai and Indian food, one can try a number of different Asian dishes in Columbia.

For the sushi fans, Bonsai, Geisha and Sake are three Japanese places where you can get your fix of sushi, bento boxes and more. India’s House and Bangkok Gardens are alternatives to your usual Asian restaurants, and Big Mama Chim’s is a good choice for those looking for a good variety of noodles.

However, if you want to make your own recipes, Lee’s Market downtown offers a range of Asian products for those who like to cook their favorite meals from scratch.

Classic Diners

Downtown Columbia can also offer you the classic small-town diner experience. The Broadway Diner was once popular for its late night hours. Now that it works at a regular schedule, the diner keeps its fame with great classic meals from omelettes to breakfast platters.

Ernie's Cafe & Steak House is also a diner at a walking distance from the dorms. Located close to the North Village Arts District, it offers the classic diner experience. However, keep in mind that they do close at 2 p.m.

Edited by Janae McKenzie | jmckenzie@themaneater.com

More Stories