On Jan. 19, the patrons of Ricker Dining prepared for another dinner of mindful-meals chicken and salad-bar eggs. If they were lucky, perhaps there would be a well-spiced pork rojo or mapo tofu. If they were unlucky, they would face the infamous Mediterranean rock cod. Instead, a few hours before dinner, Governor’s Corner (GovCo) residents received a fateful, forwarded email from their resident assistants.
“Please share this information with your residents: Ricker is having a few Student Appreciation Specials this week,” the Ricker and Suites Dining Team wrote.
From thai boba tea to Nashville hot chicken and tofu sandwiches, students of all different dietary restrictions and food preferences were in for a treat. 13 weeks later, with the exception of spring break, the team has still been sending out weekly menus of lunch and dinner special items that differ from the set campus menu.
“[Student appreciation weeks] take place at the end of each quarter in all dining halls and are a way for us to celebrate students and thank them for their support. Christina Betondo, Associate Director of Culinary Excellence for R&DE Stanford Dining, works with the 28 executive and sous chefs across campus to create these and other special menus throughout the year,” R&DE spokesperson Jocelyn Breeland wrote in a message to The Daily.
Ricker has been going above and beyond, however, with a total of twelve student appreciation menus sent out over the past quarter and a half.
“R&DE wants students to know that we care deeply for them, and we want to make mealtime an opportunity to relax and take a break from the rigors of the day,” Breeland wrote.
Students have been feeling that care.
“I love the Ricker specials. I love the Ricker staff. I think they’re all amazing,” GovCo resident Ahmed Muhammad ’25 said. His favorite special thus far was the chicken and waffles.
And if students have suggestions on these special menus, R&DE compels them to share.
“We always welcome feedback from students. Students can let their chef know what they would like to see on the menu in their dining hall,” Breeland said. “Stanford Dining has also launched a new student menu innovation committee and looks forward to collaborating with students on creating menus that appeal to the diverse student body at Stanford.”
The build-your-own food stations are especially popular among students. Sabrina Ahmed ’25 gave a shoutout to last week’s build-your-own fried rice special. Like Muhammad, she also shared her love for the staff, who she says are “all so nice.”
Mayahuel Malik ’25 also enjoys the build-your-own food stations. Taco nights are her favorite: “They have everything out there with the limes and the agua de jamaica and agua de mango,” she said.
She also appreciates the staff — but, more specifically, she loves their music choices: “Muchisimas gracias. Huge shoutout to whoever plays La Camisa Negra by Juanes. That’s a big mood-booster whenever I hear it.”
“Ricker is one of the best dining halls on campus,” Skylar Volman ’25 said. Her favorite specials were the sushi nights. Ricker has done a few different takes on this special, slicing up California rolls, Veggie Rolls and even satisfying meat-lovers with a SPAM roll.
Fellow sushi-lover Reese Dobson ’25 highlighted the impact the specials have had on Neighborhood D’s community: “I know that everybody who lives in the neighborhood super appreciates it. Ricker is more lively when there are more people here, and everyone comes for the specials.”
Malik agreed: “It brings more people to Ricker. It’s already a pretty homey place, but it just makes it more comforting. After a really long day, it’s nice to have good food and lots of good people around you.”