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Top 10 Best College Eats
According to recent reports, that dreaded weight gain known as the Freshman 15 may be slightly exaggerated, but there’s no stretching the truth about the mouth-watering food that’s being dished out at some of today’s colleges. You know most college kids love to eat! These schools get top grades for the best college eats in the country. But don’t just take our word for it… If you’re considering these colleges, make a date for lunch or dinner when you and your student visit. Reservations are not required! But you may want to loosen your belt when you go.
1 Bowdoin College Brunswick, ME
There’s a good reason people say that the food at Bowdoin College is spectacular. The bread is baked fresh daily, the herbs come straight from the campus gardens and the food staff butchers its own meats. Bowdoin boasts that all the food it serves is made from scratch, using mostly local ingredients. And that includes plenty of lobster! In fact, some 1,256 lobsters, 78 gallons of Maine fish chowder and 1,280 ears of corn were on the menu at Bowdoin’s first-ever 100 percent compostable lobster bake. Bibs not included!
- Freshman meal plan required; average cost: $6,020 per year
- Each of the two dining halls offers a distinctive menu with a huge salad bar, bread station, sandwich bar, soup station, dessert area, hot entrée area, vegan area and much more
- Moulton Union’s pub-like atmosphere makes it the campus favorite, with two casual rooms and a take-out area for late-night weekend snacks.
Visit www.bowdoin.edu for more information.
2 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA
Calling all chocoholics! Chocolate flows freely from the Chocolate Bar at Boston College, where students can find everything from a chocolate fondue fountain to chocolate-themed games. Of course, since there’s more to life than just chocolate (though we’re not sure what…) the Dining Commons serves everything from sushi to gourmet wraps, international cuisine to American fast food. Toasted sandwiches, homemade “frips” (potato chips) and dipping sauces make the Hillside Café a great place to grab a bite. Several local restaurants accept the meal plan as payment—some even deliver!
- Freshman meal plan required; average cost: $4,630 per year
- Student favorites include Carney’s and the Eagles Nest for soups and salads, both on McElroy Commons
- Meal plan includes three dining halls, casual spots on McElroy Commons—and flex money to spend at several local pizza joints, sub shops and cafés
Visit www.bc.edu for more information.
3 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
There’s something for everyone at Virginia Tech, from food courts and all-you-can eat plans to scrumptious cuisine served daily at specialty restaurants spread across its campus. Just how scrumptious? Think Maine lobster plucked fresh from the tank and cooked to order—or just-carved filet—at the West End Market. You’ll even find fresh roasted beans at the coffee shop and home-cooked classics like blueberry French toast casserole, Yucatan lime soup and cookie dough–topped brownies—adapted from students’ family recipes! Sounds too expensive for your taste? It’s not. Virginia Tech has the least expensive meal plans in the state. Maybe that’s why 10,000 off-campus neighbors signed up for the plan last year!
- Freshman meal plan required for students living on campus; average cost per semester: $1,318/$1,418/$1,523 for Major/Mega/Premium Flex Plans
- 11 dining centers, including D2 for all-you-can eat selections and specially prepared vegetarian and vegan meals, the Hokie Grill for fast food, and the Owens Food Court for deli sandwiches, salads, smoothies and the like
- With so much good food available, it’s little wonder that dining halls are crowded at mealtimes
Visit www.vt.edu for more information.
4 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
Abundance is the word for the first-rate campus dining options at Cornell, where 30+ dining locations and all-you-can eat facilities offer impressive buffets of every kind: deli sandwiches, pasta, grilled food, stir-fry, chef’s corner, Kosher corner, salad bar, smoothies and desserts.
- Freshman meal plan required; average cost: $2,050–$2,990 per semester
- Cross Country Gourmet events, featuring world-famous chefs, introduce students to a variety of cuisines
- Campus dining at Cornell offers an excellent variety of vegetarian/vegan, ethnic and late-night dining options
Visit www.cornell.edu for more information.
5 Claremont McKenna College Claremont, CA
Whatever students are hungry for, they’ll find it at Claremont McKenna College. CMC is an individual college, but it’s also a member of the Claremont Cluster—five undergraduate colleges and a graduate school that pool their resources to provide all the advantages of a major university. That means there’s not just one good dining hall on campus, there are also five other dining halls just a five-minute walk away. Students can lunch at Pitzer, enjoy sushi night at Scripps or steak night at Harvey Mudd. For a special treat, students often head to the Athenaeum, a classy dining room where the price of a great meal frequently includes world-renowned speakers like Salman Rushdie, Janet Reno, Spike Lee and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
- Meal plans required for all students living on campus; average cost $5,291–$6,175 per year
- Students consistently rate campus dining options near excellent for vegetarian/vegan options, value, late-night options and ethnic/Kosher options
- Snacks are available all day long at cafés and coffee shops on all the campuses
Visit http://www.claremontmckenna.edu for more information.
6 Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA
There may not be male students on this all-girl campus, but when it comes to dining options, Bryn Mawr majors in diversity. Not only are there two main dining halls, but Mawrters may also enjoy coffee, tea and pastries at the Uncommon Grounds and Lusty Cup Café, or chow down at the nearby dining halls at Swarthmore and Haverford. Bryn Mawr provides takeout meals for students on the go and also serves award-winning theme dinners and an International dinner series throughout the academic year. Kind of makes you hungry to find out more, doesn’t it?
- Freshman meal plan required; average cost: $5,320 per year
- Got a suggestion? Post it on one of Bryn Mawr’s “napkin” boards. All suggestions are welcome!
- Bryn Mawr offers a variety of meal plans, including 20- and 14-meal plans available weekly and a 200-block meal plan available per semester
Visit www.brynmawr.edu for more information.
7 Colby College Waterville, ME
Colby students love their college. And while every college student can always find something to complain about, Colby’s three dining halls keep everyone happy with their buzzing social scene and popular food options. Foss Hall fans love the gourmet and vegan fare, while fans of Bob’s (Robert’s Dining Hall) are all about pasta and grilled cheese bars. Dana Dining Hall is the place to go for a burger or a slice of pizza, salads and sandwiches. Students typically let their appetites—or appetite for politics—be their guide to dining at Colby. And they’re never disappointed!
- Freshman meal plan required, but it’s included in Colby’s “comprehensive” fee
- Marchese Bluelight Pub and The Spa in Cotter Union are student faves—the Pub for fries and wings, the Spa for bagels, burritos, sandwiches, soups and sides
- It’s always easy for students to plan ahead! Colby’s dining halls menus are available online during the academic year.
Visit www.colby.edu for more information.
8 St.Olaf College Northfield, MN
Meals at this private Minnesota college are a locavore’s dream come true. Fruits, vegetables and herbs come from STOGROW, the student-run organic farm. Meat and poultry are sourced from local farms to make sure they’re antibiotic and hormone-free. Apples are grown at an orchard just minutes from campus. And dairy products are supplied by Deja Moo, a collective of Midwestern family-owned dairy farms. When it comes to food, students definitely get their money’s worth at St. Olaf!
- Freshman meal plan required; average cost: $4,550 per year
- The campus cafeteria’s all-you-can eat service includes eight stations—from meatloaf and mashed potatoes to falafel and all-vegan grains stations—plus a salad bar, soup and dessert stations, and a cereal bar
- Students may receive flex dollars to spend at any of St. Olaf’s eateries, including The Cage, an upscale diner on campus serving smoothies, sandwiches, ice cream, espresso and other light fare daily
Visit www.stolaf.edu for more information.
9 Middlebury College Middlebury, VT
Whatever food your student is craving, he or she is likely to find it on the Middlebury College menu: fried calamari, fresh stir-fry, grilled chicken, three varieties of pizza, flank steak or pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes, vegetarian lasagna, even spinach strudel. It’s all good and it’s all here! Proctor is the first choice of students who prefer a crunchier meal option—and the salad bar is awesome. Ross is the choice for the “meat-eating” crowd. Whatever your student chooses, mealtimes can be crowded, but students agree the wait is worthwhile. Send along some Tupperware—take-home leftovers are always welcome.
- Meals are included in tuition; everyone pays the same amount and can eat as much food as they want without purchasing a meal plan
- Middlebury has won two prestigious Ivy Awards for its sensational food
- Middlebury also backs up its environmentally friendly image by supporting local farmers and using locally produced products.
Visit www.middlebury.edu for more information.
10 UCLA Los Angeles, CA
With three residential dining facilities, four quick-serve restaurants and nearly a dozen other eateries scattered in the dorms, across campus and in the student union, it’s easy to satisfy just about any appetite at UCLA. It’s all here: burgers, sandwiches and wraps; pizza, pastas and panini; Chinese orange chicken; Thai and Indian curries; burritos and quesadillas—plus top-name fast food like Jamba Juice, Kikka Sushi, Taco Bell, Baskin Robbins, Panda Express, California Toss and more. And don’t forget: UCLA’s sack lunch program lets dorm residents swap a dorm lunch for a sandwich, fruit pack and chips—it’s the perfect way to brown bag it for students on the go!
- Freshman meal plan is required; but it’s included with room and board
- 14- and 19-meal-a-week plans available
- Dorm menus are available online
Visit www.ucla.edu for more information.