College food is certainly better than its reputation of years ago. A case in point, the café at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn Campus.

A student needs a variety of good food at decent prices, and this place has it all, including meal combo options, breakfast items and a la carte choices like fresh-made pizza and calzones.

I ordered a chicken pesto pizza ($3.69) with a regular sized buffalo chicken tenders ($4.19), though the boca Caesar wrap (3.99) and the portobello mushroom burger (2.19) looked good, too.

Several beverage options, premade salads and sandwiches, along with yogurt and coffee are also available for purchase.

As I waited for my food, I found the photographs on the wall a good distraction. Over 20 black-and-white photos, enlarged and mounted on the wall, depicted Lewiston-Auburn of the past. Some of the photos I had seen before, such as a group gathered at the doors of a hospital and the ice castle on Main Street in Lewiston; the rest were new to me. 

There is no take-out option here, so I sat with my lunch and continued to enjoy the photos. The pizza was really good. I had expected something premade and not much on taste, but this was made fresh and full of pesto flavor. The buffalo  tenders were not saucy, yet had all the flavor I’d expect of buffalo chicken. I indulged in a peanut butter cookie, which was just the right amount of doughy, and big enough to push me into the “Oh, I really ate too much” state of being.


The corridor leading from either entrance — the cafe is located in roughly the middle of the USMLAC building — is full of artwork, so as you leave there’s no need to rush out. A leisurely walk after a satisfying meal is not to be overlooked.

The café has a decent amount of seating and friendly staff. Open until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 2 p.m. Friday; the café is not open on the weekends.

A copy of the menu can be found at 

Tasty tidbits

What: USM LAC’s Café L-A, 51 Westminster St., Lewiston

When: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; closed Saturday and Sunday

Atmosphere: Cafeteria style seating surrounded by art

Why: If you’re looking for a different place to eat with reasonably priced items, think this college campus.

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