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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

The Hottest Scene in Hanover: Foco Late-Night

Allison Burg ’25 and Caroline Mahony ’25 Investigate the Return of Foco late-night.

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The days of inevitably and routinely finding yourself at the mercy of Domino’s delivery after a night out, of eating an assortment of snacks for dinner if you dared to wait until 9 p.m. to eat on a weekend, are over.

Now — on the way from Heorot to Alpha Chi — you can stop at “’53 After Dark” and grab a bob breakfast burrito up until 1:30 a.m., seven days a week. The ideal on-night has shifted from hitting the GDX dance floor to breaking bread in dark side. 

Over the past week, we have consistently found ourselves at late-night, both after studying and going out. And dare we say it: Foco late-night is currently the hottest scene in Hanover. In our quesadilla-induced excitement, we spoke to fellow diners about their thoughts on this new option. 

Nathan McAllister ’25 had one word to describe the social atmosphere: “Electric.”

Aryan Khandelwal ’25, while eating fries with a friend, described how Foco late-night “has already become a social space — look around!” 

Therefore, you can now not only end any night (or early morning) with ice cream, but also hang out or sober up with friends. Dartmouth Dining director Jon Plodzik envisions Foco late-night as an environment for students’ enjoyment.

“I want this to be a great destination full of food and experience; that’s the primary reason we wanted to do this out of ’53 Commons on that side,” Plodzik explained. “If you wanted to do karaoke in there, you could do it. If you wanted to show a movie, you could do it… It would bring people together over a conversation and something to eat.”

Upon learning that Foco late-night may eventually feature movies, student bands and other forms of entertainment, students like Gina Miele ’24 and Meghan Goyal ’26 expressed their excitement. Goyal noted that she liked the “option to eat your mozz sticks with a movie in the background  — that sounds cool,” and in terms of student bands: “The more hype the merrier.” Miele added that she “would definitely attend [late-night events].” 

Dark side has a history of entertainment: with a 2012 Avicii performance at Foco, the space certainly has the potential to host bands. In addition to the space itself being well-suited for concerts, there is convenience in Foco’s location. 

“It’s more centrally located, so I think Foco is a better place than the Hop,” Khandelwal mentioned. “If you’re living in McLaughlin, it’s cold outside and you don’t want to walk all that way."

However, while students from the west side of campus are now closer to a late-night option, some members of South House and East Wheelock mourned the loss of evening fare at the much closer Courtyard Cafe. Nonetheless, Goyal noted that “as a member of Dartmouth, not the South House community, this is a good location.”

Yet, several students were less concerned about where late-night was and rather what was being served. Sophia Scull ’25 observed how Foco late-night “didn’t have as many options as the Hop, so I still prefer the Hop, even if it's more of a trek.”

Anders Knospe ’23  — who has gone to late-night with Jacko members after every meeting since his freshman year as per Jacko tradition — expressed similar reservations about the food offered at Foco compared to past late-night dining iterations. 

“The facilities [at the Hop] are suited better to making hot food,” Knospe explained. “While here [at Foco] it just seems like the stuff was made a little while back and it’s just been kind of sitting around for a while.”

Plodzik said he seeks not to replicate the Courtyard Cafe experience, but was rather motivated by the illustrious Collis late-night. This solves the problem of Collis being closed on weekends, which he said has been a “real dissatisfier” for students in the past few years. 

“The big appeal of Collis late-night was what it looked like on an on-night,” Knospe reminisced. “The really valuable thing about [Collis] late-night on Fridays and Saturdays is that, especially as a freshman, a lot of people did not know how to handle their alcohol and so…people would go to Collis and sober up.”

Besides fulfilling drunken cravings, late-night dining is especially important in a town like Hanover because of the tendency of most Main Street options to close far earlier than students stop having late-night cravings. To students like Khandelwa, ’53 After Dark is a “necessary” answer to this post-midnight food vacuum — which has previously only been filled by Domino’s.

“A lot of times on on-nights when there’s drinking involved, students go to Domino’s,” Goyal added. “[It] is not really well-lit on Main Street, and I’ve personally always felt safe walking on campus at night, so…[Foco] is a little bit of a safer option.”

Although Domino’s is open later than Foco — they serve pizza until 3 a.m. every night — of the students we talked to, most agreed that 1:30 a.m. seemed like a reasonable time for late-night to end. Khandelwal described it as “pretty ideal.” 

This closing time abides by the maxim of which parents are so fond — that nothing good happens after 2 a.m. As ’53 After Dark takes its place as the hottest new ticket in town, be sure to get there before closing and remember these words of advice: drink water, prepare to see everyone you know and try the meatless bob. We hear it’s pretty good.