Top 10 Best Colleges With Wonderful Food In The US
Some people cringe when they think of college dining hall food. However, this may not be necessary: Some schools across the country place a premium on fine dining, hosting themed food nights and cooking with fresh, local ingredients. According to Robert Nelson, CEO of the National Association of College & University Food Services, a resource for campus dining professionals, students may also prioritize having fresh options, clean venues, and a large selection of foods that take into account diverse dietary needs and allergies.
Cozzo advises students to “keep an open mind” when it comes to dining hall food and not make comparisons to a favorite family recipe or award-winning restaurant.
Check out Top 10 best colleges with wonderful food services in the US (KnowInsiders.com selected and recommended by)!
Location: 5998 ALCALA PARK, SAN DIEGO, CA 92110
The University of San Diego, founded in 1949, is a modern Catholic research university in California.
One reviewer gushed about the dining options, writing, “Great food in a gorgeous dining hall.”
Students at the University of San Diego can choose from a variety of healthy food options as well as 12 “micro” food venues that serve global cuisines. La Gran Terraza, for example, serves California classics in a bistro setting with a Mediterranean twist.
Throughout the year, the California school’s dining services host special events such as a beach bash and strawberry and avocado festivals with free food samples. The cost of the meal plan varies depending on whether the student is a resident or not.
Location: 800 SOUTH MAIN STREET, HARRISONBURG, VA 22807
Another best university for food is James Madison University. James Madison students have access to 28 dining facilities, including:
All-you-can-eat dining halls
A smoothie bar
Students can view the three dining halls’ online menus to see which diet-specific options will be available that day. The website also features a nutritional calculator and educational brochures on:
Trayless dining, composting, donating unused food, recycling 100% of fryer oil, and purchasing produce locally are just a few of the university’s sustainability initiatives.
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3. Bowdoin College
Location: 255 MAINE STREET, BRUNSWICK, ME 04011
Bowdoin College has a longstanding tradition, given its location in New England, of hosting a lobster bake to welcome new and returning students back to campus in the fall. That tradition is repeated in the spring for graduating seniors and their families the night before commencement. The Bowdoin Organic Garden grows fruits, herbs, and vegetables, and all meals are prepared from scratch, with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available.
Bowdoin offers five different meal plans. Freshmen must purchase the “Res 19” plan, which costs $4,361 per semester for the 2022-2023 academic year and includes up to 19 meals per week as well as additional dining dollars, known as Polar Points, that can be used at any dining location on campus.
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Location: 100 GRANT ST DE PERE, WI 54115
St. Norbert College is a highly regarded private, small-town college in De Pere, Wisconsin.
“The food is amazing,” one commenter says, “and I’m not ashamed to admit that it was one of the deciding factors for me when choosing colleges.”
Dale’s Sports Lounge provides a variety of appetizer-style munchies such as boneless chicken wings, tacos, loaded nachos, and sliders to students. For the 2023-2024 academic year, residential meal plans range from $2,995 to $3,514 per semester and include a varying number of meals per week as well as additional dining dollars.
Location: 210 BURRUSS HALL, 800 DRILLFIELD DR. BLACKSBURG, VA 24061
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a public land-grant research university based in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Reviews praising the eating options range from “great food” to “there are a lot of options if you know where to look (GrubHub made it easy to find them).”
Location: 1600 WASHINGTON AVE CONWAY, AR 72032
Hendrix College, located in Conway, Arkansas, is a prestigious private liberal arts college.
On Niche.com, one 5-star reviewer wrote, “Don’t go for the food, but the food is really good.”
The environmentally conscious Hendrix College sources many of its meal ingredients locally, including dairy products, vegetables, and poultry; encourages recycling; and encourages students to skip the plate and place their food directly on the tray when possible.
Location: 3690 EAST AVE ROCHESTER, NY 14618
St. John Fisher College, founded in 1948, is a private liberal arts college in Pittsford, New York.
According to one 5-star review, “the food on campus is known throughout the country and provides diversity of flavors and an enjoyable experience during each meal.”
St. John Fisher University is well-known for its turkey burger, which is highly regarded by several Buffalo Bills players. It also has a variety of eateries that serve everything from soups and sandwiches to Latin American cuisine and late-night snacks. The New York school prioritizes sustainability initiatives such as reducing food waste by half and providing reusable to-go containers.
The University of South Carolina has many healthy food options, making it a top food college. Seasonal farmers’ markets bring local produce to the University of South Carolina.
In addition, the university makes an effort to serve produce and dairy from local vendors in its dining facilities. Foods made with organic produce are identified by icons on the online menu.
Parents can also participate in their students’ health from afar by purchasing a healthy snack pack, complete with:
In addition to recycling, the University of South Carolina provides bulk condiments to reduce waste and offers a discount on drinks to students who bring reusable cups.
Location: ONE BROOKINGS DRIVE, SAINT LOUIS, MO 63130
On campus at Washington University in St. Louis, there are more than 11 dining options ranging from sushi and poke bowls to coffee and grab-and-go lunches. Students can also dine at Ibby’s Bar & Restaurant on campus, which serves steak, risotto, salmon, chicken, and pasta. The Platinum Plan is WashU’s most expensive meal plan for the 2023-2024 school year. It costs $3,795 per semester, or about three meals per day, and includes a free unlimited coffee club card and a free celebration cake.
Location: 374 WHITMORE BUILDING 181 PRESIDENTS DRIVE AMHERST, MA 01003
This prestigious research university in Amherst, Massachusetts, was founded in 1863.
According to its website, the University of Massachusetts Amherst sources 30% of its produce locally and focuses on serving local, regional, and global cuisines across four residential dining commons, 12 eateries at the campus center, more than 20 cafes, and two food trucks on campus.
“They have award-winning dining so the food is delicious!” writes one reviewer of the college canteen.
These best colleges for wonderful food in the US have raised the bar for college dining everywhere, from on-campus farmers’ markets to nutrition counseling, diet-friendly options, locally sourced produce, and antibiotic-free meats.
Top-tier colleges provide exceptional on-campus dining, allowing students to easily access healthy, high-quality food from a variety of cuisines and dietary preferences.
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