The days of the cubicle farm with its slopfest of a corporate cafeteria are gone! Instead, thanks to younger employees, the work-life balance has taking over U.S offices—talkin’ ping pong tables, nap rooms, Beer Fridays. Hell, come 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials and they want free food and flexibility. Taking notice, companies are turning their cafeterias into touted destinations, not just grab-and-snack stopovers. Here are five workplace eateries that will make your mouth water and your brain melt.
Mountain View, California; New York, New York
Glossing over the fact that the Mountain View Googleplex straight up has an Indian restaurant called Cafe Baadal, complete with a legit full-service wait staff, Google offices are known for cafeterias and their insane dedication to rad. I mean, according to Payscale, the New York Google office cafeteria serves up braised Mangalore salmon in coconut milk, hanger steak with sauce bordelaise, and beet-marinated tofu with chile-scallion glaze.
Photo Credit: Nick Nguyen
At Caffè Macs, the well-known and beautifully designed cafe(teria) of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, it seems to be like that scene from Hook, where you get whatever you imagine. Employees can score breakfast scrambles, quinoa hash, bison cheeseburgers, ramen burgers, tri-tip, or oysters. The menu’s a wild melting pot of tasty ideas. The food’s also relatively cheap, though the apples are free — not kidding.
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Menlo Park, California; New York, New York
Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters are like a millennial-run Main Street. “Cafeteria” is a super loose term here, given that there are 11 joints handing out grub that’s either free or insanely discounted for employees and guests. Despite a renowned if-you-can-dream-it-you-can-add-it salad bar, it’s largely not light fare—try burgers, nachos, and Asian cuisine—though the big madhouse pride is BBQ. There’s a gigantic outdoor grill and smoker, which has cooked up bacon-wrapped meatloaf, 300 pounds of brisket, and a whole pig. Facebook’s New York office also has a widely celebrated cafeteria where, according to The Huffington Post, the cook will sometimes create an employee-specific dish, like a Philippine pork belly-and-rice dish for a Filipino engineer in mind.
Café Luxo, the warm and welcoming cafe of Pixar’s Emeryville headquarters, is run by a celebrated executive chef. You can tell, according to Bon Appétit, given a history of dishes ranging from seared ahi and bok choy to sugar-balsamic pancakes topped with poppy seed crème fraîche. It’s a big open space ripe for collaborative chats over food; fuel the creatives! Plus, there’s always the cereal bar room that everyone on the Pixar campus loves.
New York, New York
If you’re going to write for the big shots, you have to eat like one, apparently. The entire “first-class dining experience” of Hearst’s cafe57 is so epic and elegant, it sounds made up, from the in-house sushi chefs to the company’s own cattle ranch that supplies the grass-fed beef. Serving 1,200 people a day should make the menu easy and predictable, but it changes week to week, offering delectable dishes like Organic Tofu Asian Chopped Salad and Grilled Sweet Chili Chicken Sandwich with Pineapple Kimchi and Lime Mayo. They also feature guest chefs regularly.