Jack C., Duke University
Living on a college campus for months at a time, one quickly grows tired of the monotony of the same old dining choices. So understandably, when The Tower, Duke’s newest eatery, opened at the beginning of the school year, it was met with great excitement. For the first few weeks of its existence, The Tower was always packed during dinner. Now that the novelty has died down and The Tower has become just another of those same boring choices, I decided to compare how it stacks up to the other on-campus choices at Duke.
The Tower offers sandwiches, salads, and “stix,” which are basically just skewers of meat, as well as a variety of sides. Over the course of the year, I’ve tried an assortment of these options. The best of The Tower’s offerings are the aforementioned stix and an Angus burger. The stix can be gotten in steak, chicken, shrimp, and veggie varieties. The meat is tender, and comes with a choice of a dipping sauce if more flavor is preferred. The burger hits a solid ratio of meat to bun, managing to be juicy while still maintaining the overall stability of the burger. For those who want more control over their meal, sandwiches can be created from a variety of meats and toppings. The one meal that I would absolutely not recommend is the chicken tenders, particularly if gotten with buffalo sauce. The tenders are so chewy and tough that it feels like a chore to eat them, and the breading and the acrid taste of the buffalo sauce combine to simulate (and stimulate) the sensation of stomach juices no longer in their appropriate place. The Tower’s sides are also generally decent. The French fries are well spiced with a Cajun seasoning, but are a little softer than optimal. The macaroni and cheese can be hit and miss – sometimes it was overcooked and I was stuck with gritty, tough macaroni, and at other times it was excellent, creamy and cheesy.
The main downfall of The Tower is that its portions are on the skimpy side. A burger or a meal of three stix and two sides will probably not be quite enough to sate a hungry college student. For prices that are comparable to other dinner options at Duke, the quantity of food at The Tower is lacking. Another problem is that the waits can be variably long, taking anywhere from five to thirty minutes. But while its portions may be a bit lacking, The Tower has a wide variety of quality offerings that make it one of the best on-campus options at Duke.