Prime Locations for Open Lunch

Audrey Wallick, Staff Writer

All juniors and seniors know the greatest perk to being an upperclassman is the privilege of having an open lunch. For underclassmen who are unfamiliar with open lunch, it is basically freedom. One has few limits to the opportunities an open lunch offers. Students can travel anywhere in the middle of a typical school day so long as they can return to school within 30 minutes. At first, one may think that 30 minutes is plenty of time for a luxurious lunch; nevertheless, this is no opportunity for a five course meal. Let’s break this down. Say you and your friends want to grab a coffee and sandwich from Starbucks. It takes 8 minutes to travel to Starbucks, so that takes 16 minutes of your lunch used just as travel time. Now factor in the wait time at Starbucks, about 15 minutes according to a Google search. You would already be late for your next class, and that is not including the time it would take you to eat. 

This begs the question: what is the best way to maximize one’s open lunch? One option to consider is to pack a lunch from home. Packing a lunch from home ensures that you can avoid restaurant (even fast food) wait times. Of course, one problem still remains–where should this lunch be eaten? In order to still take advantage of your open lunch, the following are some places I have tried in the battle to find the best place to enjoy lunch. My first experience was to try out the picnic tables located outside the music wing. At first, this seemed like a great spot. There were plenty of tables and space for all my friends to sit and eat; however, things took a negative turn quickly when we realized the absence of shade permitted no respite from the heat. Immediately, we took to the shaded grassy area next to the building. With proper preparation, this garden picnic atmosphere could have been great, but…the large number of worms populating the grass were off putting to say the least. Let me tell you, your noodles take on a whole new flavor when you recognize the similarity to the worms just inches from your lunch. This is not to mention how the grass left green stains on my pants for the rest of the day. A third location I tried in hopes of topping the previous spots were the stairs outside of the Dover Public Library. I would say this was one of my favorite places. In fact, my lunch group and I ate here for a few lunches until the unthinkable happened: a librarian told us to move because we were blocking the entrance. Despite this minor setback, this spot has potential to be a great lunch location as long as you do not block the entrance. Another no brainer idea to enjoy your open lunch is in your car. This is a classic. You have temperature control, music choice, comfortable seats, and protection from the elements. I ate almost every lunch in my car last year and finished homework or watched Netflix with the sound connected to my car. It proved to be a great dining experience. While eating in your or a friend’s car has many benefits, there are some downfalls. For example, if it is really cold or really hot outside, having the car on is inevitable; consequently, wasting gas is inevitable, too. Eating in your car also means crumbs in your car, which no one likes. 

While previously I mentioned some spots to eat around the school, if you are looking for lunch alternatives further from school to take your packed lunch, some considerations are the downtown cafe Magic Mugs or our local fast food establishments. These places offer indoor dining with plenty of space for all your friends while still maintaining a close proximity to the school. Again, one does not want to be tardy to that next class. Although I have not yet tried these locations, they all present feasible open lunch options. All of these establishments offer diversity in seating such as large tables for big groups or tables for two if it’s only you and one other friend. While you may be thinking this choice would take up too much time, you may be right, but in completing the logistics, I have developed a time friendly plan. One, decide ahead the restaurant at which to eat. Two, get your friends together and leave as soon as possible. Three, upon arrival choose a table. If you packed a lunch, you should order something even if it is a drink or side to be considerate. Four, while you wait for your order to be ready, you can eat your packed lunch. Five, pay attention to your time and then drive back to school. 

Now, armed with this information students should be able to make the most out of their open lunch. While there are some complications to sort out, I hope I offered some viable solutions. Underclassman, the open lunch is an opportunity which you can look forward to enjoying.