When it comes to colleges that enjoy the best food scenes, the obvious choices are schools in big metropolises like New York, LA, Chicago, and San Francisco. Then there are ones that any self-respecting foodie will count, like University of Texas in Austin and Tulane in New Orleans.
Here, we’re going to shed light on what we consider some of the more under-appreciated college towns when it comes to cuisine.
1. University of North Carolina Asheville, Asheville, NC
Asheville has been crowned the hippest city in the South for good reason, on the forefront of the farm-to-table movement and boasting more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the US. There’s also plenty of Carolina-style barbecue from restaurants like 12 Bones Smokehouse and Buxton Hall BBQ.
2. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Baton Rouge is often overshadowed by its neighbor in New Orleans, but the Cajun and Creole food here is just as great. LSU students can stop by Parrain’s Seafood for fresh crawfish or Delpit’s Chicken Shack for some of the best fried chicken around.
3. University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
The south is coming in strong with yet another representative. UAB students should make time for French-inspired Southern food in Birmingham’s Highlands Bar & Grill, and explore The Market at Pepper Place, a farmer’s market with more than 100 vendors.
4. University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO
While Colorado is known for having some of the best microbreweries in the nation, they’re no slouches when it comes to food. The options for UC Boulder students stretch from Germany with Bohemian Biergarten, to Argentina with Rincon Argentino, even to Japan with Izakaya Amu.
5. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
A small historic town, Charlottesville still features an impressive array of food options for hungry UVA students, including soul food at Mel’s Cafe, Neopolitan pizzas from Lampo, and mouth-watering burgers from Citizen Burger Bar.
6. University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Lexington throws its hat into the ring for delicious Southern food, with dishes like Gulf shrimp over cheese grits at Honeywood. These pair nicely with the bourbon offered by one of the many distilleries in town.
7. Yale University, New Haven, CT
Many would argue that the best pizza in America is not from New York but New Haven. You have countless Neapolitan pizza joints to pick from, including Sally’s Apizza, Modern Apizza, and Frank Pepe, with their signature Littleneck Clam Pies.
8. University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Ok, so Orlando isn’t exactly the first city that comes to mind when you think “college town”. But UCF students don’t have to enter Disney World to take a magical culinary ride. Local favorites include First Watch for breakfast and Eddie V’s for seafood.
9. Brown University, Providence, RI
Providence’s fine dining is imposing, but for college students on a budget, the homier bites are just as tasty, from home fries at Eddie’s Diner to rustic French on-the-go from the Plouf Plouf Gastronomie food truck.
10. Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Speaking of food trucks, St. Louis has quite the bustling scene, including Go Gyro Go, Guerilla Street Food, and Seoul Taco. Another worthy destination is Sweetie Pie’s, with southern fried chicken that speaks directly to your soul.