University of Akron: Rob’s Cafe
I don’t think even I expected the first food review on this website to be about a random dining hall at an obscure university in Rust Belt Ohio. But here I am, and I feel like I need to spread the good word of Rob’s Cafe.
Located in the heart of the University of Akron, directly across from the magnificent Bulger Residence Hall, Rob’s Cafe has been dishing out high-calorie, low nutritional-value goodies to students for years. Students get into the dining hall for free with their meal swipes – this is great news for the students who have to spend $1,000 daily replacing their tires at Tire Discounters because they hit 37 speed bumps each day on their commute through Akron.
This past weekend, being a fan of Devo and wanting to see my fellow Dad Bods, I set out on the 4 1/2 hour trek from Cincinnati to the home of Lebron James and terrible roads: Akron.
The Food: The food was about exactly what you’d expect from a college dining hall: cheap-tasting, unhealthy and with plenty of salt. In a nutshell, it tastes like the food you got from a public elementary school when you were a kid. But, in a way, that’s part of the charm of Rob’s – you relive a little bit of you childhood with each bite of cardboard pizza and each sip of 2% milk. Of course, the real charm of Rob’s comes from the sheer disgusting amount of food you can stuff into your belly.
My fellow Dad Bod, MC Screwdriver, proposed a challenge: simply see how much food you can inhale before you’re on the brink of puking. Well, both of us managed to consume about 3,000 calories in one sitting and elevate our heart rates to 92 bpm before finally throwing in the towel. That couldn’t have been possible had the food been totally abysmal, so big shout-out to the talented microwave chefs in the kitchen.
The pizza was surprisingly decent tasting for only looking slightly higher class than a Speedway pizza. Their breakfast pizza was smothered in eggs, cheese and sausage and nearly gave me a cardiac arrest in one bite… it was delicious. Other standouts include the meatball subs / pierogies. The sub buns were much less stale than I was anticipating and the pierogies were everything I could ever hope for and would satiate any Polski. Rob’s crowning accomplishment, however, is their unlimited ranch dispenser. Just like any self-respecting (maybe actually self-loathing) Midwesterner would do, MC and I put ranch on basically everything we ate. It was high-fat heaven and I wouldn’t eat Rob’s any other way.
The atmosphere was like eating in a hospital. Fluorescent lights, tiled flooring and metal chairs juxtaposed with the comic sans looking “Rob’s” looks just a tad weird. There was a surprising lack of patrons both days we went, meaning the hall was almost dead quiet except for the occasional sounds of squeaking chairs and silverware; it was like eating in a church except the Rob’s Cathedral of Calories dictates that the 7 Deadly Sins, particularly Glutton, are actually rules to live by.
All-in-all, the atmosphere is arguably where Rob’s lacks the most. Of course, that hardly matters when the food is just so daddy.
The Service: I’ve got basically nothing to say about the service: the only contact we had with the employees was with the ones that swiped us in. They got us in without a hitch so I guess the service gets a pass from me. We never had any contact with the cooks but the food kept coming out on time so they also get a pass. There’s not really much else to say about the service: it’s perfectly passable but nothing too special.
Overall: The food was binge-worthy, the atmosphere was confusing and the service was completely unremarkable. Yet I think MC put it most eloquently when, while dunking PB&J into ranch, he proclaimed: “Rob goat”. I’m inclined to agree.
It’s not gonna put Mustard on itself. – Helen of Drake and Josh, alumni of the University of Akron