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Frequently Asked Questions


Littlefield Patio Cafe
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Why are Dine-In Dollars not allowed before 2:00 p.m. at Littlefield Patio Cafe?

Before there was Littlefield Patio Cafe, there was the Alpine Bagel Company. Alpine originally invested $1,000,000 in the production of its facilities in February 2004 with the goal to provide its services to students, faculty and staff at UT. Within a year, however, the company was struggling to make ends meet and abandoned the infrastructure, leaving it to the university to take over Alpine's investment.

The university decided to turn the building into Littlefield Patio Cafe in January 2005. Now the only problem was how to maintain it. There was no budget available to pay for Alpine's investment, food and supplies, workers, and utilities, because fees collected through Dine-in Dollars were already allocated to support existing operations, the funds were not sufficient for the university to pay for these extra expenses. To make LPC financially sustainable, it was necessary for the bulk of its revenues to come in the form of cash. More importantly, it would keep Littlefield Patio Cafe an open option for all Longhorns to utilize.

Due to this practice, Littlefield Patio Cafe generated excess monies after several years, which allowed the cafe to stay open later in the evening, and beginning at 2:00pm resident students could use Dine-in Dollars. Without implementing that practice, faculty and staff would be driven away from the services, which would result in the cafe's closure.

In summary, Littlefield Patio Cafe only accepts cash, Bevo Bucks, credit, or debit cards from 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. in order for the building to continue as a viable operation and to provide its campus-enhancing services to students, faculty, and staff. The money generated before 2:00 p.m. helps support the costs of the cafe after Dine-In Dollars are accepted.

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Why do you charge for water cups?

A nominal charge is applied to water cups to cover the expense and to encourage the use of reusable vessels that do not impact our waste stream.

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Do you have plastic ware to-go?

No, please take the silverware and return it when and if you can.

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Do you serve fried food?

No, we bake all of our food.

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Can you warm up my lunch in your microwave?

No, sorry. If we let everyone warm up their lunches in our microwave, it would be hard to manage.

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What are your breakfast hours?

Breakfast is served 7:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Monday - Friday. On Sundays, we open at 2:00 p.m.

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When does lunch start?

Lunch service at the deli line and pizza line starts at 10:30 a.m. Monday- Friday. Lunch service of hot foods (carvery and hot line) starts at 11:00 a.m. On Sundays, we open at 2:00 p.m.


Jester Second Floor
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Why is J2 not open for breakfast or the weekend?

One of the goals of the Division of Housing and Food Service is to provide students affordable living while sustaining its operation. In order to achieve that goal, constant negotiations, where student committees have represented the voice of their peers and mutual understanding, have been crucial throughout the history of Jester.

In the late 1990's, before the birth of Jester City Limits, there was Jester first floor, which mirrored Jester second floor. There were issues with sustaining both dining services when there was a low demand for them during the weekends and breakfast hours. Without enough students eating during the weekend and in the morning, the fixed costs of running both facilities accumulated. A second issue was that faculty and staff were not receptive to the cafeteria-like layout of these dining facilities. DHFS wanted to encourage them to buy their meals at the university in order to drive revenue.

As a result of these two problems, the opinions of students and faculties were gathered to generate a decision that was best for everyone. After everything was taken into consideration, J2 was shut down during weekends and breakfast to alleviate costs and Jester First Floor was transformed into JCL, which had a more faculty-friendly atmosphere. Throughout the years of its existence, JCL has grown in popularity with students, faculty and staff, especially among the latter group. With its popularity, it has generated approximately $40 million throughout the years, which helps to keep the room and board rate affordable for students.

In other words, in order to make living at Jester affordable to students without Jester facing a financial crisis, it is logical for J2 to be closed for breakfast and on the weekends instead of JCL.


Jester City Limits
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Why does JCL not offer sushi weekly at the salad bar?

The sushi sold at retail locations is available in packages, which have a different price point than the customizable salads at the bar. It would be nearly impossible to correctly charge customers for separate pieces of sushi or to build their own sushi.

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Why aren't drink refills free, especially when they are at J2 and the options are the same?

JCL's layout makes it difficult for staff to monitor and control refills. When dining at J2, customers pay once for food and drinks. Once they leave the dining area, they must pay to get back in again. At JCL, staff cannot control who has paid for meals and who has not in the dining area. Therefore, refills are not allowed in JCL to prevent misuse of the fountain machines.

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Why can't the WOK side be substituted with another area?

Each area has a fixed amount of sides to the entrees. If customers were allowed to get a side from any area, certain areas would have a shortage. Thus, other customers would be inconvenienced.

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Why don't you sell more whole wheat items, like English muffins, cookies, buns, etc.?

In the past, English muffins were not very popular, and cookies with healthier ingredients were hardly bought at all. However, we do offer a variety of wheat items such as bagels, buns, and bread.

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Why don't you have a combo that includes a dessert like a cookie or cake?

We have tried that combo deal, but it was not successful. Customers would rather buy the dessert independently when they crave it.

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Why can't you substitute French fries for another side?

The price point for French fries is higher than other current sides, so to maintain our cost structure, French fries cannot be substituted for another side.

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Why do we upcharge for juice and bottled water which is a healthier option, especially when we focus on being healthier?

Unfortunately, bottled drinks cost us more than fountain drinks, so we must adjust price accordingly. However, please remember that we have water fountains available, which are free.

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Why don't we have some sort of to-go container for people who don't benefit from the Eco2Go program?

The Eco2Go container resonates with our green initiative by being plastic and recyclable, while a regular to-go container does not. "Green" containers are actually quite expensive and not cost-effective. Please consider joining the Eco2Go program if you would like to have a to-go container that helps both the environment and you. Also, you can always wrap your plate at the to-go station with plastic wrap.

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Can we get a better option than plastic wrap for to-go plates?

Plastic wrap is a cost-effective alternative to other to-go options like biodegradable to-go boxes and coincides with our green initiative. That mission is important to us, and we encourage our customers to participate in the Eco2Go program if they are looking for an upgrade from plastic wrap.

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Why do we have to pay for an extra plate to cover our food?

The price for a meal and our service is set up for one plate per meal. Again, the Eco2Go container is our solution for this problem.

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Why do we have to buy a new coin if we lose our Eco2Go coin? Don't we have a database with our names in it?

At this point we do not have a database. Maintaining one would be difficult to manage and would slow down the transaction time with exchanging the coins for containers and vice-versa since our cashiers would have to take time to look through names. Participating in the program requires a level of responsibility with the wooden coin as well.


General Questions
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What does DHFS do with their leftovers?

Here at DHFS we use a variety of systems to minimize the amount of food left over after service closes, but when we perform over 20,000 transactions per day, some leftovers are inevitable. We intentionally plan our menus to create opportunities to utilize some products. Today's leftover roast beef becomes tomorrow's chopped BBQ beef sandwich. Other items that hold well are simply placed on our service lines as run outs and are dispensed in that way. Once all other avenues have been exhausted, the food is boxed up for pickup by the Austin Baptist Chapel soup kitchen which feeds the homeless. For safety reasons, there are strict guidelines as to what the homeless shelter can accept, but most of the remaining food goes to serve those in our community who are less fortunate than ourselves.

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Can I shoot my cinema/photography/journalism/etc. project in Food Service locations?

Yes, however you must contact Scott Meyer at 475-7288 for pre-authorization and follow the appropriate guidelines.

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Why are prices so high?

We believe that, overall, our prices are extremely competitive. We receive no funds from the state, university or student fees. That means we are not subsidized in any way. In fact, we pay money to the University. The items we prepare in our kitchens and bakeshops are most certainly a true value. We dare you to compare. C-stores are on campus for the convenience of students. Items that are bought and resold in our C-stores are not as good a value; we simply don't have the buying power to get as good a deal on resale items as the HEBs and Targets of the world. Raising our prices is always something we take seriously, and we try to minimize it as much as possible from semester to semester. If we find something cheaper, we even lower our prices. Also, keep in mind that when you buy using your Dine-In Dollars, you?re getting 10% off the labeled price, which is a savings that adds up over time.

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What does DHFS offer in terms of healthy options in their dining halls?

DHFS is proud to offer many healthy options on a daily basis. Every DHFS dining location has a list of "Healthy Suggestions" that meet specific nutrition parameters for calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol. Please visit the Nutrition Services page for more information. In addition, all DHFS locations cook with trans fat-free oils. Many DHFS locations use local, grass-fed beef, which is naturally lower in calories and fat content, along with local, organic eggs. For specific ingredients and nutritional analyses of menu items, please view our online menu at

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What if I have special dietary requirements?

To meet the special dietary needs of our students, all of our locations offer a wide variety of menu items, including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and other allergen free items. To assist patrons in making appropriate dietary selections, DHFS uses a food identification icon system. Icons can be found on to-go items, dining hall menu boards, our online menu, and nutrition kiosks in every DHFS dining location. If you have special dietary needs or concerns, please contact our Registered Dietitian, Lindsay Gaydos. You can schedule a counseling session with her to create a dietary plan that works for you. She can be reached via email at lgaydos@austin.utexas.edu or (512) 232-5636.

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Where can I find vegetarian/vegan dining options?

Every DHFS dining location offers both vegetarian and vegan items at every meal. For a listing of these items, please see our "Vegetarian Dining Guide" brochure on the Nutrition Services page. Also, the DHFS Vegetarian Focus Group meets the first Wednesday of every month with a Registered Dietitian to discuss options on campus, provide recommendations and feedback, and sample new vegetarian/vegan food items. For assistance in locating appropriate food items, please look for our vegetarian and vegan food identification icons or contact our Registered Dietitian or the manager at your favorite DHFS location.

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Who should I contact if I have a food allergy?

Prior to coming to the University, you should contact the DHFS Registered Dietitian, Lindsay Gaydos, at (512) 232-5636 or lgaydos@austin.utexas.edu. DHFS does not offer specialized meal plans, but our staff is willing and able to assist you in making proper dining choices in accordance to your specialized diet. DHFS will make every attempt to meet special diet and food allergy needs but cannot guarantee food service for all food allergies. Please keep in mind that we cannot assist you unless your food allergies are made known to us.

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I have a special diet. Can DHFS provide appropriate items to meet my needs?

DHFS understands that customers have a variety of tastes and dining preferences. With this in mind, the wide range of menu choices available accommodates most special dietary needs. If you are on a specialized diet prescribed by a physician, you may request assistance from a dining service manager or the Registered Dietitian on staff. Please keep in mind that you may be asked to provide documentation of your diet prescription. Our Registered Dietitian and food identification icons offer students information that is helpful in making appropriate dining choices. For more information on food identification icons, please see the Nutrition Services page.

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Where can I locate nutrition information for items served in DHFS dining locations?

All DHFS dining locations have online menus available at: . This link can be found by going the Division of Housing and Food Service home page: www.utexas.edu/student/housing > Dine Here > Weekly Menus. Once you are on that site, select a specific DHFS dining location from the drop-down menu on the left side of the screen. The current day will show first, but other days within a one week time frame can be chosen from a list on the left side of the screen. Food identification icons will appear next to appropriate menu items. A food allergy filtering option is available for all top 8 food allergens. If you click on the apple next to the meal period, the menu items will turn into hyperlinks that can be clicked on for nutritional information. The same information that you can view on our site is also available via "nutrition kiosks" in all dining facilities. These kiosks are basically large touch screen monitors that have internet access, allowing you to view our online menu. On this kiosk you have the ability right there in the dining hall to look up the ingredient, allergen and nutritional information for food items served in DHFS dining locations.

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Is there any assistance or nutritional counseling available?

Yes, there is a Registered Dietitian on staff with the Division of Housing and Food Service. Appointments may be set up with the Dietitian to discuss any needs or concerns you may have pertaining to food allergies, specialized diets, weight loss or gain, or any other nutrition related concern. Visit the Nutrition Services page for more information or contact the RD at (512) 232-5636 or lgaydos@austin.utexas.edu.

Special Diets Policy It is generally not possible for DHFS to provide special menu items for specialized diets. A student with special requirements (religious, medical, personal dietary preference, etc.) that cannot be fulfilled by individual selections from the multiple-choice menu offered should not file a Housing and Food Service Contract. If a student has signed the contract and subsequently develops a medical condition requiring a special diet, the student should contact Division office for special consideration. The student will need to document the medical justification for any special dietary requirements. If the Division can confirm special dietary requirements, the Housing and Food Service Contract may be cancelled for the remaining days of the session/semester. The student will then be required to make alternative housing and food service arrangements. Students with questions about special diets should contact the Housing Office and Services for Students with Disabilities before signing the contract. For more information, see the Food Services section of the terms, conditions, and regulations from the Housing and Food Service Contract.

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Can you offer other items at your stores?

The stores are stocked with items via customer request. Let us know and we may be able to add an item for you.

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Would you add my favorite foods to your menu?

Menus are written under budget constraints with customer input in mind. Let us know your favorite food and we will try to get them on the menu.

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