A freshman’s guide to RM’s open lunch


Graphic by Valerie Wang and Kisha Yan

RM’s open lunch policy allows students to leave school grounds, and many students head to nearby restaurants to grab lunch. Here are some of our recommendations.

Sabrina Mei, Arts Writer

Open lunch is undeniably one of the most exciting parts of coming to RM as a freshman. No longer confined to packed lunches and cafeteria food, the world is your oyster! Well, maybe not the world, but a good chunk of Rockville is, at least for the allotted fifty minutes of lunch time. However, Rockville has a lot of restaurants to offer, and the vast range of options can soon feel overwhelming. So, we’ve broken it down for you: here’s a rundown of some great places you can go to for open lunch, and a few tips from upperclassmen on how to make the most of it.

Jumbo Jumbo:
As one of the closest options to the school building, Jumbo Jumbo is almost always packed with RM students during lunch time. If you are in the mood for bubble tea or excellent Taiwanese chicken, this is definitely the way to go. But its immense popularity means you have to beat the crowd—the line can get pretty long. Senior Leshan Viswanath said, “It can get pretty crowded during lunch time, so I’d say head straight from fourth period so you can get your food before everyone else starts arriving.”

Panera Bread:
If you’re willing to make the trek to Rockville Town Center, Panera Bread is quite the popular spot. Its menu provides a wide range of options, spanning sandwiches, soups, bread bowls and everything in between. “My favorite on the menu is probably the grilled cheese,” junior Nick Asante said. However, no one likes to wait, and if you’re in a rush to get back to school to retake that Spanish quiz you flubbed last week, it’s best to think ahead. Asante said, “I’d say call ahead of time, so when you get there, your food is already ready.” This tip applies to more than just Panera; ordering ahead is a great way to save time and get your food as quickly as possible.

California Tortilla:
Chipotle is a pretty far walk from RM, and for anyone without a car, getting back to school on time can be a hassle. So if you’re craving Mexican food, California Tortilla is a great choice. The restaurant is right by Potbelly—no need to drive. Make sure to beat the lunchtime crowd though. Sophomore Carina Guo said, “My advice would be to get there really early, because it can get pretty busy. That way you don’t need to rush to get back to school, and you’re not going to be stressed about being late to fifth period.”

When it comes to affordability, Om comes out on top. The restaurant is just a short walking distance from RM, near Jumbo Jumbo, and you can get a delicious meal for only five dollars. A popular menu item is the butter chicken with rice and chickpeas, met with near-universal acclaim from RM students. Junior Anna Cheng said, “If you’re looking for something cheap, Om is the best option. It’s only a few dollars and the food is great.”