The Suzie’s Cafe pyramid: a definitive ranking of Vanderbilt’s favorite cafes

Channeling the hit reality TV show “Dance Moms,” we used a pyramid ranking system to determine which Suzie’s location is the best.


Amelia Simpson

Don’t worry—we’re not hating on Suzie’s sandwiches. (Hustler Multimedia/Amelia Simpson)

Grace Delmonte, Staff Writer

One two relevé! One two three four! Plié, plié, plié!!! Yawning through your 8 a.m. and don’t have an Abby Lee Miller screaming at you to wake you up? We’ve all been there. Fortunately, Vanderbilt students are in luck: there are several Suzie’s Cafe locations across campus waiting to recaffeinate you. Whether you’re in need of a pick-me-up latte after spending too many hours in Central or a foamy cappuccino to power you through a midterm, Suzie’s Cafe’s incredible hours, delicious menu and friendly staff are there for you. (Plus, it’s on the meal plan.)

Inspired by the hit reality dancing show “Dance Moms,” this is our pyramid of all Suzie’s locations. At the beginning of each episode, Abby Lee Miller makes a pyramid shape on the studio mirror with the girl’s headshots. She reveals each girl’s face and gives them a ranking on their performance from the previous week. The pyramid allows for the dancers to check what place they are in and see how they can improve. 

Here is The Hustler’s definitive ranking of the four Suzie’s locations, pyramid-style. 

Starting at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Blair School of Music

On the bottom of the pyramid is the Suzie’s in the Blair School of Music. No shame to its quality of service or staff, but if you ask any non-music major if there’s a cafe in Blair, they’ll likely tell you no. Its location over by the VUMC is simply not convenient for many students. Blair. This location is the Vivi-Anne of all Suzie’s locations. 

Next: Featheringill Hall

Next on the pyramid is the Suzie’s in Featheringill. While engineering students might disagree with me, this location has its host of problems. First, it’s right inside the front door to the building, meaning that it’s noisy and, in bad weather, chilly or damp—not ideal traits for a cozy cafe. Plus, the Featheringill Suzie’s has an unpredictable schedule and often closes without warning, leaving students without their much-needed dose of caffeine. We’re getting Kendall vibes. Nothing wrong; nothing great. Just there. 

Moving up: Central Library

Moving up a row in the pyramid is the Suzie’s in Central Library. This location has all the right ingredients to make it the perfect cafe, but its popularity among students—and the subsequent long lines—knocks it down a tier. Between the amazing baristas who learn their customers’ names and the lovely rainbow tables outside, the atmosphere is divine. 

With the expansive menu—ranging from sandwiches that can be toasted, sushi, banana or apple bread, cups of cereal and even gum—you’ll definitely leave with a satisfied stomach in addition to a caffeine buzz. However, the Central location is both a blessing and a curse: it’s super convenient to stop by between classes, but this means it’s convenient for most of the student body. The sheer amount of people that frequents this location leads to lengthy lines and depleted stocks of food and drink items, so it might not be the best choice to dash into during the 15-minute passing period. The previously named “Food for Thought” Cafe exudes Maddie energy. The most popular, the most diverse, but honestly not all that. 

On the Top of the Pyramid: Medical Research Building III (MRB III)

On top of the pyramid we have the Suzie’s in MRB III. Some may argue that this Suzie’s is somewhat unknown, but for all my student researchers, it is a lifesaver, and the location really isn’t out of the way. Going here on a Friday afternoon before hitting the lab for a few hours is crucial. Like the Central location, the staff here are friendly and efficient, helping to explain meal swipe options and how to make certain drinks. Unlike the hustle and bustle of Central, MRB III’s smaller crowd makes it easier for customers to read the menu and think about their order. Bonus points for the spacious tables next to this location. She’s a hidden gem. Just like Brynn Demers on season six of “Dance Moms,” who quickly stole the top spot on the pyramid as Maddie moved on to different responsibilities in Hollywood.

Suzie’s is a Vanderbilt staple. When other dining halls are closed, Suzie’s is open, ready to serve amazing coffee and treats when you need them the most. Just ask the @suziesenthusiast fan account about their love for this lovely establishment, and you’ll learn all you need to know.