Surviving on Free Food

Free food hunters in line.

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch” is a phrase not uttered too often around the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (FLTC). However, it’s true your tuition is paying for these “free” meals so you might as well embrace it. It is entirely possible for free meals to make up the bulk, if not all, of your nutrition during first year, as long as you’re motivated (and invest in a good multivitamin). Free food comes in many forms. There is the applicant pizza dinner that happens five nights a week from September until February. On top of leftover pizza there are also several lunch talks a week. Lunch talks are where you get variety, with Lebanese, Indian and Thai food making frequent appearances. If you’re vegetarian, you’re in luck! Every lunch talk has vegetarian options to choose from, and there are always cheese and veggie pizzas at the applicant dinners. All in all, the best food is free food and free food is nearly always up for grabs during your first year at WashU.

— Alec W., M1

On-Campus Eats

Shell Café is where you ate breakfast when you interviewed here, and it’s where you can continue to eat free breakfast as a medical student while interacting with new applicants. It’s also where you’ll go when you forgot there wasn’t a lunch talk and didn’t pack a lunch for the day. For breakfast, there’s cereal, yogurt, breakfast parfaits, coffee, tea, and most importantly, crepes available. For lunch, there’s a soup and salad bar, pizza station, grill and comfort station. Between their brisket street tacos, house chips, BBQ chicken pizza, roast beef sandwiches au jus and more, I have yet to have a bad meal from Shell. There are also many vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Shell Café is pretty cheap. Entrées usually cost ~$5, and paying with Bear Bucks (via your WUSM ID) makes your meal tax-free. Shell is a pretty great place to eat that’s highly underrated.

— Amanda B., M1

Food Trucks

Tired of cafeteria food? Bored of eating your own meals every day for lunch? Craving fusion cuisine, like Korean-Mexican tacos? Look no further than the phenomenal food truck experience here at WUSM. Every day during lunch, food trucks line up outside Olin Hall, WUSM’s student dorm. Students can eat a wide variety of food from barbecue to mac and cheese to classic Italian and Indian food for fairly decent prices. Perhaps most popular is the Seoul Taco food truck which supplies excellent Korean-Mexican fusion food. For someone who misses the Los Angeles food truck experience, the St. Louis food trucks are awesome in their versatility and different food options.

— Mahati M., M1

St. Louis Children’s Hospital

For affordable eats, check out the cafeteria at Children’s Hospital; the discount for medical students kicks in at 4 p.m.

If you can overlook the fact that the St. Louis Children’s cafeteria isn’t a Michelin three-star restaurant, you’ll notice it has quite a bit to offer to a fledgling medical student. The cafeteria has a pretty good selection during the day, with a salad bar, Pizza Hut, grill station, deli and comfort food stations. The magic of the Children’s cafeteria comes after 4 p.m., when the 30 percent student discount goes into effect. This means you can get a hamburger and French fries for about $3.50. (Or you can opt for salads and fruits if that’s your jam). So if it’s 6 p.m. and you realize that there is no more free pizza in the first year refrigerator, you can always march over to Children’s to grab a cheap and fast — albeit cafeteria grade — meal.

— Alec W., M1