Late Night at True Grit's always attracts a long line of residential students at UMBC. Photo by Kristina Soetje.
It is 10:30 p.m. on a Thursday night and all Joshua Bell, a junior biochemistry major, can think about is heading to Late Night at True Grits for a cheeseburger and fries. For many students on campus, Late Night at True Grit’s is both a convenient meal option and a time to meet up with friends. The program, which offers an expansive menu from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Friday at True Grit’s, is one of the only places to get hot food after 7:30 p.m. on campus.
As beloved as Late Night is to many a beleaguered student, many students feel that the program could better serve their needs. Moaz Hassanin, a junior chemistry major, feels that “late night could be open at, like, 8 p.m.,” because 8 p.m. is the time at which the late night meal period begins. Currently, the only dining options available at 8 p.m. are Salsarita’s and the True Grit’s Outtakes which primarily sells prepackaged foods.
Beyond that, some students take exception to the lack of nutritional options at Late Night and Outtakes. Junior political science major Jacquilyn Johnson said, “Pretty much everything at Late Night is fried, which is hardly healthy.” She added, “The salads are $6 and way more expensive than the other options.” On the other hand, junior psychology major Christina Paul commented that “the food at Late Night is good when you are up late studying.” She says the Late Night options are “comfort food.”
Some students feel that while the food at Late Night is good, the hours of operation are lacking. “I wish they were open on more weekends,” said Lisa Hong, a junior biochemistry major. She added, “It would be nice to have another option besides D. Hall and Salsarita’s on the weekends.” The lack of weekend hours has been a constant complaint from students who live on campus. In response, the Late Night program has been expanded to be open one weekend a month. But not everyone feels that it is enough.
“It’s like the campus keeps forgetting people live here on the weekends too,” Johnson said. UMBC has often been considered a commuter school and the lack of weekend dining options plays no small role in this perception. Many students have raised the point that the limited dining options on the weekends are part of the reason they do not stay on campus. Perhaps by expanding the Late Night program, UMBC could give students a reason to stay the weekend by giving them more of what they already want: a time to catch up with friends while eating chicken tenders.