The 34 Most Beloved Food Joints In College Towns Across America

Zingerman's deli university of michiganTwitter/@MotoManTVZingerman’s is an Ann Arbor institution.

Every school has a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where patronage is practically a graduation requirement.

It’s not necessarily pretty to look at, and sometimes the food is subpar, but by senior year you and your buddies have countless memories of reeling out of the bars and heading there for sustenance.

Whether it’s the late-night burrito hut that consistently kept down your PBR, the bagelry with the best hangover cure, or the cookie delivery service that fuelled marathon sessions in the library, these restaurants are central to the college experience.

We dug up the best and most beloved food establishments in college towns across America. They’re listed alphabetically by city.

AMHERST, MASS.: Wings Over Amherst

181D University Dr.

Popular with: University of Massachusetts -- Amherst and Amherst College

There are more than 30 Wings Over franchises scattered on college campuses across America, but none is more near and dear to students' hearts than the flagship location in Amherst. This takeout- and delivery-only chain cooks up wings meaner than ever conjured in Buffalo, N.Y.. Wings come in five degrees of Buffalo-style heat.

One alumna joked that Wings Over is 'the reason for my freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior 15. The College 60.'

AMES, IOWA: Hickory Park

1404 S. Duff Ave.

Popular with: Iowa State University

Located in the heart of Iowa, where meat and potatoes reign supreme, Hickory Park feeds roughly 14,000 Cyclones and guests each week. Furnished with church pews and antiques collected by the owner through the years, this BBQ joint has a smokehouse out back and an old-fashioned ice cream fountain.

The Saucy Southerner, Hickory Park's rendition of a pulled pork sandwich made with chopped hickory smoked pork, beef, and turkey simmered in BBQ sauce, is practically a graduation requirement.

ANN ARBOR, MICH.: Zingerman's Delicatessen

422 Detroit St.

Popular with: University of Michigan

Co-founded by a UMich alum, Zingerman's opened its doors in 1982 and has since racked up 11,000 followers on Twitter, a visit from President Obama, a feverish cult following, and this praise from celebrity chef Mario Batali: 'Ahhhhh, Zingerman's ... my temple of deliciousness.'

Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw decided Ann Arbor needed a traditional Jewish deli like the ones they grew up with, and today Zingerman's serves up thousands of made-to-order sandwiches, including its masterpiece, the Reuben.

ANNAPOLIS, MD.: Chick & Ruth's Delly

165 Main St.

Popular with: United States Naval Academy

Locals, the statehouse crowd, and midshipmen -- as students of the Naval Academy are called -- all call owner Ted Levitt's diner home. Chick & Ruth's Delly is steeped in tradition and Americana: menu items are named after Maryland politicians and public service notables, and the Pledge of Allegiance is recited every morning.

Only the bravest of patrons take on the Colossal Challenge, as seen on 'Man v. Food,' which includes a six-pound shake and one-and-a-half pound sandwich.

ATHENS, GA.: The Grill

171 College Ave.

Popular with: University of Georgia

The second booth to the left inside The Grill is like a 'front row seat to the best circus in town.' When the bars close at 2 a.m., loud, smiling students from all social circles descend on College Avenue for drunk food. An Athens staple since 1955, The Grill's fresh cut French fries dipped in feta cheese dressing is the city's can't-miss late-night dish.

According to one alum, the food is overpriced and the service is downright criminal, but 'it's open 24/7, and the best post-drinking food is fries and a shake.'

AUBURN, ALA.: Momma Goldberg's Deli

500 W. Magnolia Ave.

Popular with: Auburn University

For more than 37 years, Auburn football fans from across the country have flocked to the city's oldest independently-owned restaurant saying they want a 'Momma's Love,' one of the deli's signature sandwiches. The popular post-game destination, located just one block from Jordan-Hare Stadium, is famous for its nachos as well, which are made with Doritos, hot pepperjack cheese, and jalapenos.

And make sure you call it Momma G's. That's what the locals call it.

AUSTIN, TEX.: Kerbey Lane

2606 Guadalupe St.

Popular with: University of Texas -- Austin

Playfully known as 'Kerbey on the Drag' or 'The House that Kerbey Queso Built,' Kerbey Lane's UT location is literally steps from campus and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner 24/7. Its menu reflects the diverse tastes of Austin and uses locally-sourced ingredients, offering top-notch munchies after a late night out.

Pro tip: Order the Frisbee-sized pancakes or the Eggs Francisco, an English muffin layered with scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, avocado, and queso.

BERKELEY, CALIF.: The Cheese Board Collective

1512 Shattuck Ave.

Popular with: University of California -- Berkeley

No restaurant embodies Cal's hippy-dippy spirit like Cheese Board, with its laidback vibe, rocking live music, and democratic management (every employee gets an equal vote in business decisions).

Cheese Board serves just one type of pizza a day, each combining locally sourced toppings, artisanal cheeses, and sourdough baguette dough to create caloric bliss. Grab extra napkins and enjoy on the median out front.

However, if you're looking for a grease fix after 8 p.m., La Burrita's cheap, quick Mexican is your best bet.

BLOOMINGTON, IND.: Mother Bear's Pizza

1428 E. 3rd St.

Popular with: Indiana University -- Bloomington

Hoosiers know they're in for a good time at a pizzeria where the logo is a busty female bear and the menu has a dedicated 'munchies' section. Not to mention the house salad's croutons are Goldfish crackers.

For nearly 40 years, this old-school pizza parlor has served up specialty pies like the Spinnoccoli, made with fresh spinach and broccoli atop a savory Parmesan garlic white sauce; and the Deluxe, which blends pepperoni, sausage, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers.

BOULDER, COLO.: Boulder Baked

1911 Broadway St.

Popular with: University of Colorado -- Boulder

The aptly named dessert shop, Boulder Baked, has a sweet recipe for success: It's alumna-owned, open until 2 a.m. on weekends, and offers free delivery. Their cookies cost between $1.25 and $US2.75, and come in mouthwatering (and gluten-free) flavours like Ginger Doodle, Sugar M&M, Everything, and the classic Chocolate Chip.

One student said Boulder Baked is almost 'too good to be true,' and likened the experience to 'walking into the Witch's house made of gingerbread.'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.: Sutton's Drug Store

159 E. Franklin St.

Popular with: University of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill

Stop in for lunch any day of the week and you're likely to spot a group of UNC athletes hunkered down in a booth, wolfing Sutton's famous hot dogs, burgers, and classic Oreo milkshakes. The part-drug-store, part-diner has been a Tar Heel tradition for more than 90 years.

'You say Suttons' Drug Store, and the first thing people say is, 'Gosh, I love your cheeseburgers,'' says owner John Woodard Jr., a pharmacist by trade. 'I always say, 'We've got some pretty good drugs as well!''

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.: Bodo's Bagels

1609 University Ave.

Popular with: University of Virginia

Countless UVA students, dressed in sweatpants and baseball caps, have nursed hangovers with a bacon-egg-and-cheese at Bodo's 'UVA corner' location, which opened in 2005. It's the fastest fix for just 70 cents. From sesame to poppy to cinnamon raisin, bagels are made from scratch in-house everyday, and boiled per New York tradition.

Take in or eat out, and be prepared to stand in line. Can't decide what to order? There's an entire Reddit thread dedicated to hashing out the best Bodo's Bagels sandwich combination.

COLLEGE STATION, TEX.: Fuego Tortilla Grill

108 Poplar St.

Popular with: Texas A&M University

Aggies are a permanent fixture at Fuego's, a 24/7 taco hut peddling slow-cooked meats and handmade tortillas. There are nearly 30 taco combinations, all of which come in massive portions. While you won't find ground beef on the menu, euphoria can be found in Fuego's rotisserie chicken, shrimp, bacon, steak, and carnitas fillings.

According to one alum, 'You can't beat the queso at Fuego.'

COLUMBUS, OHIO: Raising Cane's

1816 N. High St.

Popular with: Ohio State University

Raising Cane's is a dedicated chicken finger restaurant -- a concept that the founder's business school professors and bankers pooh-poohed when he was a student. Todd Graves went on to built a 50-location-strong restaurant chain, dedicated to serving fresh, 100% premium chicken tenderloins.

Its first franchise shop, located on the perimeter of Ohio State's campus, is nicknamed 'The Late Show' because of its colourful and lively late-night shifts. Standing in line for an hour at 2 a.m. is not an uncommon, or unpleasant, experience here.

CORAL GABLES, FLA.: Titanic Restaurant and Brewery

5813 Ponce de Leon Blvd.

Popular with: University of Miami

The Titanic -- a brewpub inspired by Cajun, Creole, and Cuban cuisines -- found a home on UM's campus long before the blockbuster movie was even in production.

Unlike most college food joints, mayhem and debauchery are kept to a minimum at this edgy hotspot. Forego the PBR and pizza, and treat yourself to some homemade craft suds and the crawfish and andouille bisque, or steamed muscles 'fra diablo.'

COVENTRY, CONN.: The Bidwell Tavern & Cafe

1260 Main St.

Popular with: University of Connecticut and Eastern Connecticut State University

The Bidwell is eastern Connecticut's premiere destination for munchie foods -- in particular, wings. '35 different kinds of wings' to be precise, one alum told BI.

Housed inside an old water mill, The Bidwell retains its turn-of-the-century charm with a rustic, wood interior, stained glass accents, and a boisterous crowd. Saturday tend to be the joint's busiest night, when local students mozy in for good, cheap food and a pitcher or two.

EUGENE, ORE.: Dough Co.

1337 Hilyard St.

Popular with: University of Oregon

As the name implies, Dough Co. does all things dough, but most remarkably calzones and cookies. The locally owned and operated comfort food haven knows the value of getting your fix when you need it, which is why they deliver seven days a week until 3am.

Their 31 calzones, all made from scratch, range in combinations from potato and bacon to BBQ steak to veggie. There are also breakfast calzones.

For a slightly more sit-down option, students also point to Caspian for tasty Mediterranean platters full of falafel and schwarma.

EVANSTON, ILL.: Edzo's Burger Shop

1571 Sherman Ave.

Popular with: Northwestern University

Edzo's is so entwined with the culture at Northwestern that the shop actually closes down during winter break. Edzo's was started by Evanston fixture Chef Eddie, who did the Chicago line cook and fine dining scene before he decided to settle down back in E-town with his own burger joint.

Frequented by Northwestern students and faculty alike, Edzo's juicy burgers are made with locally-raised beef and topped with an assortment of accoutrements like caramelized onions, grilled mushrooms, and mac 'n cheese. Save room for over-the-top specialty fries (like Maine lobster fries) and wash the whole thing down with a frosty shake.

GETTYSBURG, PENN.: Lincoln Diner

32 Carlisle St.

Popular with: Gettysburg College

Abraham Lincoln is known for the Gettysburg address; Gettysburgians honour him with dirt-cheap brunch food on Sunday morning at the diner named for him. Open 24/7, 'LD's,' as students fondly know it, is not only the place for late night eats, but the place to proudly take your parents on family weekend.

Opt for the blueberry pancakes when you stop in after last call at the local bars -- or better yet, during Fourth of July weekend right before the town gathers for its annual Civil War reenactment.

IOWA CITY, IOWA: Hamburg Inn No. 2

214 North Linn St.

Popular with: University of Iowa

Hamburg Inn No. 2, so named for being the second of three Hamburg Inn restaurants in the local chain, is now the only one that remains, and it's a proud staple of the U of I student experience.

The oldest family-owned restaurant in Iowa City, 'The 'Burg' is visited by students, locals, and even two former presidents for some 'Comfort Food in a Fifties Time Capsule.' Hamburg Inn is best known for their pie shakes, where they blend a thick slice of any of their homemade pies with a scoop of ice cream and top it with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry (because everyone knows that the only thing better than eating pie is drinking it).

Stop by The 'Burg for great breakfast and brunch foods. If it's a burger you crave, though, students say the only burger that matters is the one at George's Buffet.

ITHACA, N.Y.: Collegetown Bagels

Multiple locations

Popular with: Cornell University and Ithaca College

Proudly boasting multiple locations in Ithaca, CTB is the place Cornell students go for late night bagels and lox, or hungover-on-Sunday-morning bagels and lox.

The closest location to Cornell, on College Avenue, is open every day until midnight, and does your typical bagel and shmear of choice (cream cheese, butter, PB&J). If you're looking for a heartier option, go for a bagel sandwich with chicken or tuna salad, a pizza bagel or, if you're feeling earthy, one of their many vegan options.

The downtown Ithaca location, on North Aurora Street, is a popular hangout for Ithaca College students based on its proximity to both their campus and to a number of great bars.

LOS ANGELES, CALIF.: Chano's

3000 S. Figueroa St.

Popular with: University of Southern California

LA is known, in part, for its Mexican food, and USC students are known, in part, for eating it. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, The Original Chano's Drive-In still serves students and locals alike with burritos, nachos, tacos, and an impressive variety of vegetarian dishes at its roadside window.

The original drive-in was so popular that in 2012 Chano's opened a second location... right down the street. And both are doing spectacular business, especially after midnight.

MANHATTAN, KANS.: Varsity Doughnuts/The Varsity Truck

704 N. Manhattan Ave.

Popular with: Kansas State University

A relatively new addition to the Manhattan, Kans., food scene, Varsity Doughnuts serves doughnuts fresh daily that range from the pretty tame 'classic' styles (yeast and cake doughnuts) to the one-up 'JV' variety (glazed and frosted with simple toppings) to the over-the-top 'varsity' types (maple bacon or key lime pie, for example).

Varsity Doughnuts closes at 10pm, but there's a late night loop-hole: After the storefront closes, out comes The Varsity Truck, Varsity Doughnuts' solution to the drunk munchies. 'No night in 'Aggieville' is complete without it,' a student told BI.

The truck parks in the lot behind the shop and serves grilled mac 'n cheese sandwiches in addition to its amazing hot doughnuts.

NEW HAVEN, CONN.: Louis' Lunch

263 Crown St.

Popular with: Yale University

Yale students are proud to call the birthplace of the American hamburger sandwich THE spot to chow down off-campus. Because, as the story goes, the first hamburger was served between two slices of toast (rather than a bun), that's the way Louis' still serves them today.

Business hours at Louis' Lunch tend to be kind of erratic, but they are open where it counts: until 2 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

NEW ORLEANS, LA.: The Dough Bowl

1039 Broadway St.

Popular with: Tulane University

$3.25 for a slice of pizza might seem steep even in New York, but at The Dough Bowl $US3.25 is reasonable at 2 a.m., especially when the slice is the size of your face and you're too hungry to care anyway.

Tulane students are fierce in their love of 'Boot Pizza,' which gets its name because it's conveniently adjacent to their favourite bar, The Boot, one alum informed BI. A pizza place open until 3 a.m. right next door to the best college bar in town? Sounds about right.

If you're partying in the French Quarter, make sure you stop at Dat Dog, another Tulane must, which just opened its third location on Frenchman Street.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.: RU Hungry

11 Nichol Ave.

Popular with: Rutgers University

Rutgers students know that the best food isn't consumed at the table. RU is known for its 'grease trucks,' particularly RU Hungry, which serves up massive sandwiches overstuffed with meat, cheese, and, sometimes, veggies. The sheer size of them is why they're known as 'fat sandwiches.'

The original fat sandwich was the Fat Cat, but in 1997 Rutgers student Darrell Butler ordered a sandwich with chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, fries, lettuce, tomato, and marinara sauce, and lived to tell the tale. The truck's owner was so impressed that he named the sandwich after the student. But not everyone can be so lucky as to have a sandwich named after them -- these days it takes eating five fat sandwiches in 45 minutes or less to receive the honour. Easier said than done, however; most students' eyes are bigger than their stomachs, and not even Adam Richman of 'Man v. Food' could complete the challenge.

PITTSBURGH, PENN.: Pamela's Diner

3703 Forbes Ave.

Popular with: University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University

Now five locations strong in Pittsburgh and one in nearby Mount Lebanon, Pamela's services the hungry, classroom-weary students at Pitt and CMU. They arguably serve the best breakfast in Pittsburgh, and are a standout for their 'crepe-style' hotcakes -- light and fluffy disks of griddled batter that are thinner than pancakes but thicker than crepes. They combine the best of worlds with stuffings like chocolate chip and bananas, blueberries, or strawberries and whipped cream.

But if you're looking for a late dinner (or a later second dinner), students tend toward Fuel & Fuddle, where they boast that their chicken chilli is 'great for hangovers.'

PROVO, UTAH: J Dawgs

858 North 700 E

Popular with: Brigham Young University

The school that ranked #1 in sobriety 15 years running needs to have a lot of good places to chow down, and one BYU alum threw his hat in the ring with his hot dog shack on the south edge of campus.

Jason 'J' Edwards now owns three J Dawgs in the Provo area, and he does it simple: a Polish or beef 'dawg' on a fluffy bun. J marks each dawg with a series of signature criss-cross cuts before throwing it on the grill and dousing it in his family's secret sauce. Sauerkraut, relish, and other toppings are completely delicious, but entirely optional.

ROCHESTER, N.Y.: Nick Tahou Hots

320 W. Main St.

Popular with: University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology

If a dish called the 'garbage plate' wasn't meant to be drunk food, we don't know what is. The city of Rochester is famous for it, and students in the area take great pride in the local dish, which is a mash of ground burger meat, sliced hot dog or sausage, macaroni salad, tater tots or home fries, and baked beans.

Google 'garbage plate' and Nick Tahou Hots is the first link you'll see. This near-100-year-old institution is widely regarded as the birthplace of the garbage plate, which students and locals alike consume both drunk and sober (and it's delicious in either condition).

STATE COLLEGE, PENN.: Gumby's Pizza

300 S. Pugh St., #101

Popular with: Penn State University

Gumby's Pizza, while a chain with 10 franchises on college campuses nationwide, is central to late-night college culture for Penn State students in particular.

Penn Staters turn out for the Pokey Stix. According to the school newspaper's 'How to Speak Happy Valley' guide, they are the most tantalising treat that State College, Penn., has to offer. They're 'delicious even sober, but life-altering when intoxicated,' the guide says. Pokey Stix consist of pizza dough, garlic butter, and cheese. 'Dip them in ranch to achieve true carb euphoria.'

SYRACUSE, N.Y.: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

246 W. Willow St.

Popular with: Syracuse University

There's always an hour-plus wait, you can't walk there from campus, and the booths are so banged up you feel like you might need a tetanus shot on the way out. Still, SU students make the pilgrimage to Dino whenever possible, to worship at the holy grail of barbecue dives.

This award-winning biker bar, featuring live music and art in the form of graffiti, is famous for its fried green tomatoes, honey hush cornbread, and hand-pulled and piled-high pork shoulder.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Wisemiller's Deli

1236 36th St. NW

Popular with: Georgetown University

'Wisey's' chicken madness, the joint's most popular sandwich, is practically on the Hoya food pyramid. Just two blocks from Georgetown's front gates, it makes a convenient spot to binge any time of day or night. Chicken madness is practically a Hoya itself; it has its own Facebook fan page, and is annually a write-in candidate for student body president elections, often beating at least one real ticket.

However, students looking to sit look no further than the Tombs. '(It's) a great restaurant (both all-around and late-night) and is a Georgetown tradition in itself,' one alum told BI. 'It usually has a line to get in, and you are likely to run into most (if not all) of your classmates while there on any given weekend evening. It's also said to be the inspiration for the setting of the movie St. Elmo's Fire!'

WEST LAFAYETTE, IND.: Triple XXX

2 N. Salisbury St.

Popular with: Purdue University

'Indiana's oldest drive-in' is also a Purdue institution. Their signature burger is named for Purdue's beloved mascot, Boilermaker Pete, and they have a number of others teeming with West Lafayette and Purdue history. Burgers are their thing, but if you're not in the mood, Triple XXX does breakfast all day, every day.

Triple XXX is hard to miss on the road (it's painted in Purdue's signature orange and black colours), and not something you'll want to miss, either; even Guy Fieri made a pitstop there on an episode of 'Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.' P.S. They also make their own root beer.

Now find out where the students party.

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