Entry. The Commons at Schwarzman Center dining hall, also known frequently as “Yale Commons,” is located at the corner of College and Grove Streets. Enter through the heavy doors and bear right through the Memorial Rotunda, where you will see the interior walls engraved with the names of Yale alumni, veterans, who lost their lives in wartime service to the country. After climbing a short set of stairs, you will be presented with the entrance to the Yale Commons dining room.
Commons at Schwarzman Center is the largest dining hall on campus and is currently open for lunch; it is also accessible to the public. On a regular basis, this location has long been a central gathering-place for the Yale student community.One of Commons at Schwarzman Center dining hall specialties is Asian cuisine and its servery features a large battery of woks where each customers can watch as their food is made to order with exhibition-style cooking.
In early 2015, Yale announced that Stephen Schwarzman, Yale alumnus and founder of The Blackstone Group, donated $150 million to transform Yale Commons and Memorial Hall into a center dedicated to cultural programming and student life that will be called Schwarzman Center. The tremendous renovations will be completed by 2020 and will include major enhancements to the dining area.
History and Traditions. Yale Commons was built in 1901 for Yale’s bicentennial along with the Memorial Rotunda and Woolsey Hall. Constructed of limestone in the Beaux-Arts style, Yale Commons features a timber-trussed banquet hall and remains one of the premier landmarks on campus. Until the residential colleges were established in the 1930s, Commons was the university’s only dining room where all of the students gathered.
“We ate here.” Well-known alumni who ate most of their meals in Yale Commons include former President William Howard Taft; Bush family patriarch Prescott Bush; esteemed authors Thornton Wilder, Stephen Vincent Benét and Sinclair Lewis; famed TQM guru Edward Howard Deming; and Time magazine co-founder Henry Luce.