The cafeteria is the main dining hall for the students and faculty of Greendale Community College. The study group regularly gathers here for lunch along with the other students. It is officially called the North Cafeteria after Admiral William North and is located on campus in the western portion of the east hall. It is a large facility equipped with enough tables and chairs for over a hundred students. The dining area is situated in front of two large walls of windows that give a nice view of the campus. It has a cafeteria staff, a sandwich shop, and connects directly to the student lounge. The cafeteria's first appearance was in the premiere episode of Season One and has been featured in almost every episode since then.
- Pilot: After purchasing his lunch, Jeff introduces himself to Britta and invites her to join his study group. Pierce is also seen having trouble putting a hot dog in a bun, and Jeff later annoys a member of the cafeteria staff.
- "The Politics of Human Sexuality": The STD Fair is held in the cafeteria.
- "The Art of Discourse": Three annoying teenagers start a food fight in the cafeteria.
- "Modern Warfare": During a reprieve from the Paintball Assassination game being played on campus, the remaining study group participants Shirley, Jeff, Britta, and Abed set up camp for the night in the deserted cafeteria.
- "Pascal's Triangle Revisited": The annual Transfer Dance Formal (later shortened to just "Tranny Dance") celebrating the students moving on to real colleges is held in the cafeteria. A Transfer Queen competition leads to a declaration of love, and a fight between Chang and Duncan, with men in dalmatian outfits trying to pull them apart.
- "Aerodynamics of Gender": Abed starts to abuse his powers of observation and notices when eating lunch in the cafeteria that he has alienated himself from the rest of the student body.
- "A Fistful of Paintballs": During the sequel to last year's paintball competition, Pierce creates a haven in the cafeteria and student lounge he dubs "Fort Hawthorne'" Later, the study group confronts Pierce over his treacherous actions and a four-way duel ends up taking place between Annie, Pierce, Jeff, and The Black Rider.
- "Biology 101": Jeff has a musical daydream about the upcoming semester that culminates in a show-stopping number in the cafeteria.
- "Pillows and Blankets": The final battle between Abed's Pillow fort followers and Troy's Blanket fort denizens is held in the cafeteria.
- "Course Listing Unavailable": A Star-Burns memorial service is held in the cafeteria. The service ends up becoming a riot that destroys the new Subway franchise.
- "First Chang Dynasty": Chang's birthday party is held in the cafeteria.
- "History 101": The cafeteria is turned into the setting of The Hunger Deans, a competition for a seat in the coveted "History of Ice Cream" class.
- "Economics of Marine Biology": The Dean throws a huge party in the cafeteria to recruit a wealthy potential student named Archie DeCoste.
- "Ladders": The cafeteria's ceiling collapses under the weight of 40 years worth of roof Frisbees, necessitating the addition of load-bearing columns.
Although its main function is to provide food services, it has also been utilized for other activities, such as a showroom for fairs ("The Politics of Human Sexuality"), an auditorium for student performances ("Regional Holiday Music"), and as a place to hold school dances ("Pascal's Triangle Revisited"). "Hot & Brown" was a popular coffee shop once located inside the cafeteria until Chang accidentally burned it down ("Competitive Ecology"). It was later replaced by a Subway franchise ("Digital Exploration of Interior Design"), which was in turn replaced with Shirley's Sandwiches ("Introduction to Finality"). It also has an entrance to the student lounge and the school store "Pencils and Such". In the 2015 semester, the cafeteria's ceiling collapsed, and the cafeteria was redesigned to include load-bearing columns when the roof was repaired ("Ladders").
The Greendale cafeteria has employed a number of workers, a few of which are familiar faces at the school.