Allergy-Friendly Rutgers University Campus Guide

I visited Rutgers University for an admitted students event, and was blown away by their dining services. When choosing a college to commit to, food and safety was the number one concern for my family. However, Rutgers seemed to be very proactive and up-to-date on their food allergy policies. During our visit, we got to eat at the Livingston Campus dining hall, claimed to be the students’ top choice for eating at Rutgers. As it was an event day, the chef was right in front to greet everyone and answer questions. He personally led me through the buffet and let me know which foods I could eat. He then informed me that Rutgers uses a system in which students with allergies can electronically submit what they want to eat for the day, and have their meal prepared ahead of time safely. For my experience, the chef got the food items right off of the individual grill stations and kitchens so it wouldn’t be contaminated (which is often the concern for buffet style dining). I love this about Rutgers University.

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey

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Audrey Cha – Spokin User @audreycha

Allergies: Peanut, Tree Nuts, Egg, Shrimp, Wheat, Sesame, Barley, and Legumes
Class: 2026
Major: Marketing and Supply Chain (conc. in entrepreneurship)
Post Graduation Plans/Currently Doing: I am currently working part-time as a Content Manager for Spokin! After college, I plan on working in the food industry and starting an entrepreneurial venture.
Instagram: @audrey_chaa
TikTok: @audrey_chaaa

Livingston Dining Hall

This is known as the dining hall with the best food on campus and I’m so happy with the services they provide for students. Rutgers University uses a TTO (Text to Order) System for their students with any dietary restrictions to order food safely. You can simply text the dining hall for your order at least two hours before the time you want to eat. The chefs and managers are great with checking each order to make sure it is safe, even after they have become familiar cooking/providing for you. Some of the items I order any day include pasta, salad, stir fry, mac & cheese, grilled chicken, fries, or a gluten-free burger. If you want a special entree choice, Rutgers New Brunswick has an app in which you can check the menu items and ingredients each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I sometimes order off of here if there is something like soup, salmon, or a special dish, which is not an everyday item.The food that they provide is either cooked on separate equipment to prevent cross contamination or taken from the untouched back kitchen supply. They keep the food hot or cold for you in the kitchen and seal it with saran wrap. So far, I have only had positive things to say about Rutgers Dining. I am really glad that I chose a school that has such great protocols in place.

Cafe West

This is one of the most popular on-campus markets because of the wide selection of foods they offer. I normally do not order hot food and go for safe packaged items instead to avoid cross contamination. They carry a lot of big brands that are naturally allergy-friendly! For example, they have Deep River Chips, Chobani yogurt, Sour Patch kids, and bottled teas and coffees. I wish they carried some more allergy-friendly companies, but this market is still a good option when I need a quick snack or meal.

Kilmer’s Market

Kilmer’s Market is the most convenient place on campus for me to pick up grab-and-go food. Kilmer’s have a gluten-free section with a turkey & swiss cheese roll, which I usually go for. They also have salads; my favorites include the garden salad and southwestern chicken salad (which tasted like Chipotle!). These have been super helpful for me when I need a quick meal. I will usually get packaged sides like fruit, yogurt, chips, or candy!

Pho Today

This was my first experience eating at a Vietnamese restaurant! This place is around a 15 minute drive from the Rutgers campus. I got a bowl of chicken pho with beef broth. The soup came with onions, cilantro, and chives. I made sure to confirm that the noodles were made of rice and 100% gluten-free and that they were cooked separately from the nuts used in the kitchen. The staff were accommodating and willing to answer my questions! My meal was so delicious and filling, the portion was so huge and worth it. I’m glad I found a safe and delicious place to eat and will be visiting again soon!

Hoja Asian Fusion

Although I do not order food from here, it’s a great place right on Livingston Campus to grab boba. They have a really delicious brown sugar boba drink and it’s one of my favorite treats.

Icy Melon – Hoboken

This is a great place for desserts and they have shaved ice and smoothies on their menus that are safe for me and naturally gluten-free! It’s a very popular spot near campus to grab a sweet treat and chat. Their desserts are super sweet and their mango flavor is amazing!

Meet Fresh

As a boba fan, this is another great place I’ve found for drinks or desserts. They have very fair prices and give you a huge drink! I usually go for drinks that are naturally gluten-free and safe for me. My go-tos are either matcha or brown sugar. This place is located less than 10 minutes away from campus and stays open until 10:30 pm, so it’s a popular place for a late night snack and is usually really busy during the night!


Chipotle is my number one place to eat out at, as the food is safe and absolutely delicious! I always ask staff to change their gloves before making my bowl to avoid cross contamination with the wheat tortillas at the front. I have never came across a staff member that was unwilling to do this for me! My classic order is a bowl with white rice, black beans, chicken, mild salsa, corn, and sour cream. I usually skip lettuce and cheese to avoid cross contamination because they touch this with their hands. My experience at Chipotle these past few years has been wonderful, and I recommend this restaurant to those who have food allergies as well!

16 Handles

This is my favorite place to grab frozen yogurt with my friends, as it is right on Livingston Campus! I usually go for the original tart flavor, mango sorbet, or pomegranate raspberry sorbet. They even have an Oatly Soft Serve option. 16 Handles labels their flavors to indicate which ones are gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, and dairy-free. To avoid cross contamination, I never get any toppings because there are often nuts.

Gong Cha

Gong Cha has been a safe go-to for me as a huge bubble tea fan! The pearls they use are gluten-free and my favorite orders include the brown sugar milk tea and the matcha latte milk tea with 50% sugar. The drinks are so smooth and rich and the boba always has the perfect brown sugar flavor! Even with my allergies, this is a place I can trust.

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