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The Taco Bell in Hillsdale. Courtesy | Kalli Dalrymple

In one of Hillsdale’s pro­mo­tional admis­sions video, a young man says goodbye to his family and hops in his truck. As he drives to Hillsdale, makes his way through rolling hills and farms. He stops at a local diner to see a family praying, and drives by a small chapel as locals hang their American flag. 

It cap­tures the essence of the school in 60 seconds. Simple. Free. Pure. Pure of outside chaos, pure of sky­scrapers and busy roads, and cer­tainly pure of woke culture. 

Hillsdale must pre­serve its uniqueness — which means chain restau­rants should stay away from the town.

Stu­dents can eat local and support the com­munity. And the more stu­dents visit these places, the more they become inte­grated in Hillsdale, which cul­ti­vates love for the place we all call home.

Not to mention, local restau­rants in Hillsdale are far better than most chain restaurants.

Checker Records’ Teddy Bear dark roast coffee is the best around, Lane 17 has deli­cious burgers, and El Cerrito’s mar­garitas are a Friday night essential. And Hillsdale is the only place you can find all of these.

Recently, the city announced that Hillsdale will soon have a Dairy Queen. Bringing in a Dairy Queen could take stu­dents away from the beloved Udder Side. A Moe’s would take attention away from New York Taco. A Star­bucks would ruin Rough Draft’s prominence. 

Then Hillsdale would become just like the rest of the world: Pol­luted with chains, and no longer unique. 

Sure, Hillsdale already has its handful of chains such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Burger King, but these are classics. If we invite too many into our city, the town will be lost.

You’ll occa­sionally find me at McDonald’s on a late night, because truly, who doesn’t love a $1 cheese­burger from America’s favorite fast food restaurant? But that doesn’t mean Hillsdale needs more chains. There are more than enough options to satisfy any craving.

The lack of chain restau­rants in Hillsdale makes returning home, or trav­eling more special as well. 

On my drive home to Rochester, New York, I always hit my favorite chains: Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera Bread. Not having them in Hillsdale makes these everyday essen­tials to the rest of the world, a treat for me. 

And as I drive back to Hillsdale, I’ll stop at Checker Records for a Teddy Bear Amer­icano as soon as I get into town. 

I write this eating a Colombian sandwich from Handmade, an order that the staff knows by heart. 

Later I’ll head to Saucy Dogs for dinner, and stop at Udder Side on the way home. Not one part of me will be craving Chipotle, or even Buffalo Wild Wings. 

Appre­ciate living simply and dive into the Hillsdale com­munity, one food at a time. 

And Chick-Fil‑A, if you’re reading this, I would make an exception for you.