5 Alternatives to Durfee’s (Updated for Spring 2017)

Either you woke up at 2 pm and missed dining hall hours for lunch, or you only have 5 minutes to eat and need to get some food ASAP. Those are the only two reasons one uses a lunch swipe for a measly $8 worth of Durfee’s chips, wrapped sandwiches, or somewhat questionable sushi.

Little did you know, those $8 can be put to better use at some other retail locations on campus. Save yourself from crappy cold sushi today and visit any one of these Durfee’s alternatives!


1. KBT Cafe

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The KBT cafe is a lunch luxury for all you science majors. While it may be intimidating at first to see a bunch of grad students around you, the KBT is a great place to study and finish up any last-minute pre-lab work.

Where is it: Kline Biology Tower. Walk in through the front glass doors and enter through your right.

Where is it close to: Basically everything on science hill, especially the chem/physics/bio classes.

What do they have: The cafe has fresh-roasted coffee, pastries, salads, soups, and (sometimes) flatbreads and will occasionally offer seasonal drinks. There are also dining-hall-esque options like sandwiches and salad/pasta sides, plus they have a similar assortment as Durfee’s (and they’ll warm up your purchases if you ask!). KBT also offers a $4 breakfast swipe with some hot breakfast options, like breakfast sandwiches.


2. Hall of Graduate Studies


The HGS Dining hall offers a cozier meal setting for those seeking solitude in a quiet, calm location. Even though it has the same food as the residential college dining halls, HGS allows a more refined dining experience by offering nicely decorated china plates. However, these plates are slightly smaller, which means less food but better portion control. Undergraduate transfers are allowed before 6:15 pm.

Where is it: Hall of Graduate Studies (right next to Toads)

Where is it close to: Toads, Payne Whitney Gym, Broadway, Sterling Library

What do they have: Normal dining hall food on fancy plates!

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3. Thain Family Cafe / Bass Cafe


The official name is Thain Family Cafe, but people mostly know it as Bass Cafe. Whatever you like to call this place, you should know that you can use your lunch swipe here! Yes, this retail location everyone passes to walk into the study-hole that is Bass accepts lunch swipes for $8.

Where is it: Right in front of the Bass library entrance

Where is it close to: Wherever Bass library is close to,WLH

What do they have: Although Bass Cafe has a very small selection of options that resemble Durfee’s food, they are more well-known for their drinks and pastries. There are a wide assortment of coffee, smoothies, and juices. They also have $8 lunch combos that include a sandwich or salad with chips and water or a large soup with a pastry and water. (This soup is actually very large, fyi.)



4.  Yale Health Center Cafe


The Yale Health Center Cafe is a little far from most people’s paths. However, if you usually shortcut through Yale Health and above the cemetery to get to Broadway/Morse-Stiles/Payne Whitney Gym from Science Hill (or visa versa), the Health Center Cafe can be a good place to grab a quick bite.

Where is it: Yale Health Center. Enter through the glass door entrance and walk around the wall on your left. You will see a sign for the Cafe.

Where is it close to: Right in between Science Hill and Payne Whitney Gym.

What do they have: Their selection is similar to that of Durfee’s; however, they seem to have more varieties of things since less people come here to eat. The biggest difference, however, is that the Health Center Cafe has a hot food selection in the back corner for $7. With the extra $1, you can grab a drink. They also serve hot soups.



5. Cafe Med


Cafe Med is perfect for anyone who is doing research at the medical school. This place has very kind workers and also a decent selection of pastries, drinks, and other goods. There is a very nice common area where you can eat your lunch. They also give you a punch card to use for every salad/rice bowl you get! (I think you can also use your breakfast swipe here.)

Where is it: On the ground floor of the Harkness dormitory for medical students, through the glass doors in the grayish colored building.


Where is it close to: Cafe Med is right across the street from Yale New Haven Hospital. 17776893_1882592748648075_1639327775_o

What do they have: Coffee bar, fresh squeezed juices, and more. Their website also says “Café Med features fresh and healthy bowls based on a foundation of greens, grains or pita and inspired by the bold flavors of the Mediterranean. Signature dishes include a spicy Greek salad; green chickpea falafel, fattoush, Turkish spoon salad, and Spanish mezze. Two soups are offered daily, plus a vegetarian chili and a rotating selection of stews which are served over brown rice. “Grab-and-go” sandwiches, specialty beverages, sushi, and snack items are also available. Café Med features a new interactive coffee bar with artisan roasted drip coffee, gourmet coffee drinks, sweet and savory pastry items, and fresh squeezed to order orange juice.”



Other retail locations The Boola has not researched yet: The Refectory at the Divnity School (plus potential breakfast swipe location) and Blue Dog Café at McDougal Graduate Center. Feel free to comment below if these locations also accept meal transfers and what food they have to offer! 

BONUS: Some extra lunch swipe hacks 

  • Double swiping: Have lunch twice in one day! If you had lunch at a residential college, you can swipe again for lunch at another residential college or at Commons. Nom.
  • Meal-to-go / Late lunch: You can also get dining hall food as a sack lunch if you place an order in advance! You can also request a late plate if you know you will not make any dining halls in time to eat. Click this link to place your order now. Or ask the dining staff for to-go plates, since tupperware isn’t allowed at the dining halls for sanitary purposes.
  • Non-food items at Durfee’s: Don’t let that extra dollar or two go to waste! You can use any extra lunch swipe money for school supplies and toiletries that are to the left of the entrance (when you are facing the cashiers).