Commons Dining Hall
Commons Dining Hall is a traditional, cafeteria-style facility that is open during regular meal-plan hours with six dining areas including an outdoor deck.
Our Chefs are continually creating new and flavorful dishes alongside much-loved staples featuring sustainably sourced products from our local farmers and producers. Meals offer students a wide range of options drawing on cuisines from around the world, and including Vegetarian, Vegan, and Made Without Gluten selections at every meal.
We work diligently to accommodate guests with dietary restrictions to create a safe dining experience for all in the Dining Hall. Staff members are happy to discuss menu items and ingredients at any time and all menu items are clearly labeled with top allergens including gluten, dairy, and soy. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, concerns, or to speak with Chef Steve about navigating the Dining Hall with your specific dietary restrictions.
Missing a favorite meal, side dish, or dessert? Submit your Recipe From Home and we will work to feature it on the menu.
Through our commitment to serving locally sourced and sustainably produced food we have developed relationships with local farmers and producers by the dozens, including Maplebrook Farm (2 mi), Laughing Child Farm (38 mi), Peacock's Pure Maple Syrup (7 mi), Northeast Family Farms, Earth Sky Time Community Farm (18 mi), Vermont Fresh Pasta Company (55 mi), and Bennington College's own Purple Carrot Farm.
In addition we are committed to:
- Composting all pre and post-consumer food scraps
- Recycling fryer oil through Buffalo Biodiesel
- Recycling all cardboard, paper, glass, and plastic waste
- Purchasing products in non-plastic and recyclable/reusable packaging whenever possible
- Discontinuing the retail sale of plastic bottled water
- Tray-less dining to reduce thousands of gallons of water waste and conserve energy
- Minimizing food waste through a five step food management system
- Serving cage-free local eggs sourced from Feather Ridge Farm (81 mi)
- 100% sustainable seafood purchasing following the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines
Meet Your Neighbors
Learn more about the local farmers and producers whose products are used to create your favorite Dining Hall dishes.
Laughing Child Farm
"Laughing Child Farm, located in the scenic Mettawee Valley, is the site for our sweet potato farm. We’ve been farming since 2003, in one capacity or another, but in 2012 decided to focus on sweet potatoes... Our goal is to provide the best, most nutritious sweet potato at a price that everyone can afford."
Laughing Child Farm has been the sole provider of sweet potatoes to Bennington College Dining since Fall 2019.
In 2003, while visiting Manchester, Vermont, Johann Englert had a flash-back to her college years. A cluster of fresh mozzarella balls sitting on the counter of an Italian specialty shop reminded her of a groceria she and her mother had visited while traveling in Italy. These cheese artisans produced genuine, Old World mozzarella. Johann could not find that level of quality in Boston and bought 20 balls of mozzarella on the spot. She asked Mike Scheps, the owner’s son and third generation cheesemaker, if he would be able to supply her with small quantities. Little did they know, a business was born.
After sampling those 20 balls, 5 out of 6 gourmet shops in Boston wanted more of this genuine mozzarella. Johann and Mike were onto something. Business boomed, the operation moved from a kitchen to a small store to a 50,000 sq. ft. building. Maplebrook Farm developed an apprenticeship program to teach new employees the art of making perfect mozzarella. The program started with 3 local Vermonters and has grown to include 65 employees who are making small batches of cheese and wrapping them by hand every day of the week. From those first 20 mozzarella balls to the current 40,000 pounds of cheese produced weekly, Maplebrook Farm has established itself as a premier artisan cheese producer distributing products throughout the country.
Meal Plan Information
Student Meal Plans
- Student Handbook - Dining Services Policy
- A valid Bennington Card card with an active meal plan is required for entry to the Dining Hall
Faculty and Staff Meal Plans
- Dining Plan Options
- A valid Bennington Card card with an active meal plan, active department card, single use department card, or cash/credit card payment at door, is required for entry to the Dining Hall
The napkin board is a Bennington tradition that has lasted over three decades. Please write, calculate, or sketch your thoughts about your experience in the dining hall on a napkin while you’re here and post them on the board. We really appreciate the feedback. If you find this too restrictive, please feel free to break into song and dance to better convey your thoughts.