Caltech dining Services provides award winning food service to Caltech undergraduates in Avery, Marks, Braun, and the North and South Houses, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and a fully stocked kitchen for snacks throughout the day, 5 days a week.
Board Program Hours
Open Kitchen (Avery, North and South Kitchens) 7:30 am - 11:30 am; 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Monday-Friday
Dinner (Avery, North and South Kitchens) 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm, Monday-Friday, closing early on Fridays 6:30 pm
The Board Program
The Board Program operates out of three kitchens: North Kitchen, South Kitchen and Avery Kitchen. Each House has its own dining hall located next to its kitchen. Additionally, students can use their declining balance at any of the dining locations listed above.
The CDS Board Program offers a wide variety of options including cereals, fresh fruit, a full salad bar, sandwich bar, soup chili, fresh pasta bar, and ice cream novelties. Halal, Kosher, vegan and vegetarian menus are readily available upon request. CDS uses premium quality produce, meats, fruits and other products from companies such as Newport Meats, Silk Soy, Jones Coffee Roasters (we only serve free trade coffee), Minute Maid, Nabisco, Coca Cola, Heinz, Nature's Path and many more. Fried foods are prepared in trans-fat free oil. All "to go" containers are made from biodegradable and compostable materials including corn and potatoes.
Our high quality products, creativity, and customer service have won us numerous awards from the National Association for College and University Food Services. Our residence hall dining achieved a first place award in 2007, our retail outlets have all won awards and our special events also merit recognition.
CDS works closely with students to ensure the board program remains fresh and unique. The Interhouse Food Committee acts as a liaison between students and CDS to provide feedback and offer suggestions. The Food Committee meets weekly to taste new food items, discuss special meals, and relay any other feedback from the student body. Every year, houses elect one food representative each to convey their input.
The Feynman: All Students in the eight Houses, Marks, and Braun are automatically enrolled in the Feynman. This plan provides five waited dinner meals per week in the house and declining balance* to spend freely on breakfast, lunch and snacks. Included in this plan are all special dinners which are described below.
*see Board Terms and Conditions (pdf) for specific amounts each term
Your declining balance funds for each term are accessible between the following dates:
- Fall '12: 10/1/12 – 12/14/12
- Winter '13:1/7/13 – 3/20/13
- Spring '13: 4/1/13 – 6/14/13
You can spend your board funds at any of the CDS units (listed below). All purchases made that exceed your allotted board funds will be charged to your student bursar's account. Any un-used funds will be lost at the end of the term.
Your declining balance, or "Board Funds," is a debit account linked to your card that allows you to make purchases at any campus or JPL dining location. The amount of declining balance allotted to you each term is determined by your board plan. All food purchases made with declining balance are not subject to sales tax.
Caltech Dining Services Units
CDS leaves Avery, North, and South Kitchens open with fruit, salad bar, sandwich makings, juice, soda, ice cream, cereal and assorted vegetarian and vegan items. Open Kitchen is available from 7:30 am – 11:30 am and 3 pm – 7 pm.
In the North and South Houses (Avery abstains) it is a tradition at Caltech that house dinners are served by student waiters. Students from each house serve their fellow house mates each night. Student waiters are paid by CDS; if you have interest in becoming a student waiter please contact your respective houses food representative.
Food on Weekends
The Student Coffeehouse is open 10 pm – 2 am Sunday through Thursday and the C-Store is open from 11 am – 10 pm on Saturday and 11 am – 1 am on Sundays. The Coffeehouse menu includes: burgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries, smoothies, milkshakes, and other student favorites.
Served once a term per house, dress dinners are formal dinners arranged by each house with assistance from the Board Manager. Excluding Avery, houses barbecue their own food every Thursday alternating burger night and steak night. On steak night the houses are provided with steak, chicken breasts, fish and a vegetarian option. Each term, CDS and the Food Committee plan themed dinners. Recent events have included a Mardi Gras celebration, a Texas BBQ, a Luau and a Beach Party Dinner. CDS also sponsors an In 'n' Out Dinner featuring famous In 'n' Out burgers, a formal Senior Dinner for all graduating Seniors, and formal Chandler Dinners for all students throughout the year.
During finals week, CDS provides snake kits to students. These kits are made by each student from a buffet style table consisting of appetizers, fruit, cookies, nachos, chips, candy and everything else to get students through a hard night of studying. In addition, CDS offers Midnight Madness one night during finals weeks at the end of terms. On this night, Chandler Café is opened to the students at midnight and provides breakfast fare usually including the President of Caltech Jean Lou Chameau cooking and serving students omelets —it must be seen to be believed.
Guests are welcome to dine in the houses throughout the year. Guest meals may be purchased at the following rates: $12.50 for dinner, $14.50 for Steak Night and $17.50 for dress dinners.
CDS prides itself on customer service. We offer late-plates to student athletes and others who are unable to make house dinners. We offer Get-Well meals to students who are sick. We offer Kosher and Halal meals and will work with any student who has other special dietary requirements. Parents may order cakes for students on their birthdays or any other time during the year. We aim to please and we will do our best to meet all requests.
Caltech Dining Services provides Halal and Kosher meals to those observing Muslim or Jewish dietary laws. For more information contact our Board program manager Jon Webster.
Since CDS serves waited dinners, students may have to miss a meal due to time constraints or athletic commitments. CDS staff will box food for these students so that they can pick up dinner in the C-store on their return to campus.