Halftime Leisure

A Love Letter to Leo’s

November 8, 2016

Leo's dining hall. The Voice.

Dear Leo’s,

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I’ll miss you.

No, no, not because I’m graduating in May and getting nostalgic about everything on Georgetown’s cam… – excuse me, the Hilltop. Leo’s, I’ll miss you because you’re headed into the 21st century of college cafeterias. With the announcement of your renovations and changes this week, you’re set to become an “innovative on-campus dining program” that “reflects food trends in higher education and the retail/restaurant industry.”

Honestly, I don’t know what the hell that means, but what I do know is you’ll forever be changed.

Leo’s, you served us up some classics. I remember freshman fall when you fed me pork roast with a coffee grind crust. You have a “fuck it, let’s see what this combination will taste like” approach that shows how you merge a daring attitude toward cuisine with a total disregard for your diners’ tastebuds. There’s a cockiness to that which we all have to respect.

Or what about the time I heard a girl say “there’s a cockroach in the salad bar?” Sure it was unconventional, but no one can deny that the added flavor was a nice change of pace from the usual rotation of food options.

I’ll never forget my first corn nugget either. I sat down after a long day, just wanting a normal meal consisting of breaded chicken formed into small, oval shaped, bite-sized bits. But instead, you said, “Nah Ryan, here’s some corn in camouflage.”

Who does that to a freshman?

You do, Leo’s. You do.

Honestly, it’s been awhile since we’ve talked Leo’s. I dropped my meal plan a week into junior year because I realized there was more to dining than switching back and forth between the Wok Line and the Burrito Line every day (read: I cheated on you with Safeway, Leo’s).

In fact, I haven’t actually visited you for a proper meal since sophomore year. I hear you serve sushi now? That sounds deadly.

Leo’s, you’ve tortured and plagued us Georgetown students like no other. You’re a rite of passage. A shared experience of pain and suffering that we can all commiserate in together.

Character building is one way to describe it. For the first time in many young Hoya’s lives, mom or dad doesn’t put food on the table. Leo’s does.

There is no home cooked lasagna or baked ziti with a fresh fruit salad on the side. There is the Pasta Line with those massive vats of marinara and alfredo sauce that we mix into one because we have to drown out the taste of the pasta that may have been cooked last week and was just sitting there.

Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. You aren’t all bad, Leo’s. I mean know some kids lie and say, “Actually … I kind of like Leo’s” in a playfully coy tone that masks as they gag thinking about the last time you served them fish. But no, you did have some bright spots.

I remember when I discovered the personal pizza station. A little slice of variety hidden in a tucked away corner downstairs, you provided a safe haven for diners who didn’t have the stomach for the Home Line’s meatloaf. I mean, I know it’s hard to screw up pizza, but I still appreciated the effort here.

Of course I can’t forget about Leo’s weekend breakfast – unanimously the best Leo’s meal. While the scrambled eggs ran runny and the cinnamon rolls were always gone too quick, there is something about the warm french toast and crispy bacon that you just get right. Leo’s, your breakfast is the time you say, “You know what, I’m sorry I was screwing with you all week, here’s how I’ll make it up: chocolate chip pancakes.” God bless those pancakes.

Now I know you’re not dying Leo’s. You’re just being reborn. A newer, better version of yourself.

But I do have some questions.

Let’s start with your new name. LEO|MKT? What is that? Is that some Silicon Valley startup’s app? And what about Fresh Food Company? That has to be a mistake, right? Like you put all this effort into LEO|MKT, spending weeks and weeks trying to come up with something innovative, then at the last minute someone goes, “Wait what about downstairs?” and you just said, “Put Fresh Food Company as a placeholder for now, and we can change it later.” But then no one changed it.

What about the classics, too? What happens to Chicken Finger Thursday? You can’t just take away that consistent reliability from us college students. We need some sort of stability in our hectic lives balancing school, clubs, internships, a social life. I like to think of Chicken Finger Thursday as a signal of reality. Every seven days brings new challenges that disorient us to the fact that there is a world outside Georgetown. We have three midterms and a paper one week and then the next we’re dealing with a friend crying in Lau on a Tuesday. There’s just no consistency to life here. Except for Thursday.

The renderings of your new look … who put a truck in Leo’s? Does it still run? Can someone drive around every hour on the hour handing out dessert to diners? I don’t know, just a thought.

Georgetown University

You got a bright future ahead of you, Leo’s. I’m sure there will be some hiccups along the way, but don’t forget where you came from. Freshman next fall will hear the war stories from upper classmen, but they will never truly get it. They won’t know what cold burrito bowls taste like or ever experience your dry burger patties.

So one request. Every so often, whenever you get bored, whenever you feel like students are too happy with their “global menu offerings,” drop a cockroach in the salad bar. Or put coffee grinds on pork. Just do something to put us Hoyas in our place. It’ll be good for us.



P.S. If you could send over a box of those blondie brownies with Oreos stuffed in the middle, that’d be great. They’re for a friend…

Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller is a former news editor of The Georgetown Voice. Follow him on Twitter @MILLERdfillmore for unabashed tweets about the Sacramento Kings.

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