hospital cook adding ingredients to pan (l) man eating at hospital (c) hospital cook stirring food in pan (r)

@dreindallas/TikTok Remix by Caterina Cox

‘I come here all the time to get something to eat’: Man goes to the hospital just to order food from its cafeteria

'They don't know that you're not in the hospital.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Jul 25, 2023

Restaurant prices are still high following the record inflation of the past year. Prices at restaurants are rising faster than other food costs, and according to PYMNTS, “new research finds that only 42% of U.S. consumers are willing to pay full price to eat at a restaurant they used to call their go-to spot.”

Because of these high prices, internet users are searching for new ways to enjoy the benefits of eating out without having to incur high costs.

For some, this has meant meal prepping—buying large or family-sized meals from restaurants and spacing them out across several meals to save some cash.

For others, this has involved finding new places to eat that don’t charge high prices.

One such culinary explorer is TikTok user Dre (@dreindallas). In a video with over 452,000 views, Dre shares his unexpected discovery of a cheap meal spot: his local hospital.


UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas 😂😂😂

♬ original sound – Dre

In the video, Dre goes to a hospital cafeteria located at the UT Southwestern Medical Center. “I come here all the time to get something to eat,” he says.

“They don’t know that you not in the hospital,” he adds before taking a bite.

In an email to the Daily Dot, Dre said he first discovered just how tasty hospital food can be after a medical emergency.

“I first discovered this amazing hospital for myself 2 years ago. I was sadly woken up in the ICU with a rare blood disorder called TTP,” he detailed.

“My full stay was 28 days, and all I had was the amazing staff in the cafeteria and their food,” Dre recalled. “They made me feel like I was getting home cooked meals daily.”

In the comments section, many users shared the unexpected joy of hospital food.

“When my mom was pregnant, we used to go to the cafe and eat,” recalled a user. “That food was hot and bussing.”

“I am the lead cook for the cafe at the hospital I work at, the local police will come in all the time to eat my food,” claimed another.

“Me and my husband do this,” shared a third. “Hospital cafeteria food is so good and inexpensive.”

“Certain hospital food be hidden gems,” offered an additional TikToker.

The Daily Dot reached out to UT Southwestern Medical Center via email.

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*First Published: Jul 25, 2023, 1:08 pm CDT