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The Falcon Files


This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.

The Falcon Files

Dining through the Decades

Most of Bentley’s first students were commuters and would bring or purchase their own meals. Others rented rooms at local boarding houses, where “matrons” typically served a hot breakfast and dinner each day (pictured right). 

A guidebook by Harry Bentley in 1940 recommended many restaurants. He always noted whether the establishment offered liquor, dancing or both — and (naturally!) where to rent a tux. 

Students on the Boston campus ate up and down Boylston Street. Some favorites were the Honey Donut Shop and Hayes-Bickford Restaurant. In the late 1950s, a cheeseburger at the latter would set you back 35 cents.

Dining options multiplied with Bentley’s move to Waltham. Especially popular: on-campus bars and cafés run by students. One venue — the Falcon’s Nest (top of page) — offered a “famous” date-nut loaf with a side of live folk music. The Rathskeller served pub grub from the basement of the Tree Dorms in the early 1970s; later, as the Backstage Lounge, it featured live entertainment, disc jockeys and all-night movies. 

Apparently, there is such a thing as too much pasta. In 1971, students protested “repetitive, carb-heavy” dining menus by eating a giant bowl of spaghetti in the main cafeteria, now the LaCava Executive Dining Room. 

Archival photos document a banana-eating contest (left) that dates to the early 1970s and may have been sponsored by Kappa Pi Alpha. It drew a big crowd and was even filmed. Details welcome! 

If you ever microwaved popcorn in your dorm room in the 1990s and 2000s, you can thank Darren Gaudreault ’91. He was a catalyst for a Massachusetts law allowing microwaves in lodging houses and dormitories. The cult of gourmet coffee that ruled the 1990s inspired students to open Café Connections in the Adamian Center and Java X-Treme in Orchard North.


by Donna Talarico April 9, 2019

A first-generation student, as defined by the U. S. Department of Education, is one whose parents do not hold a baccalaureate degree.