If you don’t have a bucket list for food at Purdue, you’ll need one now. Whether you’re looking to some traditional iconic eats or are just reminiscing over snacks you obsessed with during freshman year, there are plenty of hidden gems worth discovering on campus. Graduation is quickly approaching, so make sure you’ve tried all of what West Lafayette has to offer before it’s too late.
1. Den Pop
If you’ve never had a Den Pop by now, you must have either skipped BGR or you just live under a rock. This mixed soda drink is one of Purdue’s most established traditions. There are over 30 recipes written on the walls; even one for every mood! The most popular combinations include the Sorostitue, Tweety Bird and Dr. Love. You can also mix your favorite flavors and make your own signature Den Pop to keep as a little secret recipe during your time here at Purdue.
2. Milkshake of the Month at Pappy’s Sweet Shop
Serving Purdue students ice cream and burgers in the basement of the Union since 1927, Pappy’s has got their milkshakes down to a perfect science. We are so fortunate they haven’t digressed much from the original recipe, which made this place so famous in the first place. Try the milkshake of the month for a decadent treat, or stick with the classic flavors; vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, caramel and oreo. By the way, this month’s milkshake is Shamrock Shake. Make sure you try one before the end of March! If you have an unusually bad sugar craving every now and then (or everyday), you can even buy one that’s 32 ounces of pure milkshake goodness.
If you’ve ever lived in the residence halls on campus, you must know the wonders of Saturday and Sunday brunch at Hillenbrand, collectively known as Hillenbrunch. Live off campus? Get someone to swipe you in-it’s so worth it. Not only is the breakfast unbelievably better on the weekends with Make-Your-Own pancakes and omelettes, Hillenbrunch is the time to get to news on how all your friends spent the night before. Just know there will be a mix of people, from dressed church-goers to “what did I do last night?” hot messes. It’s great- and whether you want to or not, you will most likely run into someone you know. But hey, that’s the beauty of the enjoyably tasty weekend hotspot we like to call Hillenbrunch.
4. Duane Pervis Burger at Triple XXX
Known for their root beer, burgers and honoring Purdue’s famous athletes, Triple XXX Family Restaurant is one of the most noteworthy places on campus. They are most famous for their Duane Purvis Burger, a 1/4 lb. sirloin burger topped with creamy peanut butter, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion on a toasted sesame seed bun. Yes, you read that right. Duane Purvis was an All-American football player that played for Purdue in the 1930s. After he told the cook he liked peanut butter, and pretty much everything else, on his burger, it quickly became a popular menu item. If peanut butter is not your friend, Triple X serves countless other diner classics too.
**Fun fact: The burger was the only thing Guy Fieri did not like on his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
5. Shepards Pie at O’Bryan’s Nine Irish Brothers Pub
Loved by all who venture down to Nine Irish, this bar/pub knows how to make the most comforting classic Irish dishes. Get the shepards pie or Guinness stew and discover the best “champ” in Lafayette. An Irish dish, champ is essentially mashed potatoes revamped through the addition of buttermilk and scallions. You also can’t go wrong with the fish and chips or Rueben sandwich. Bring your parents for a nice weekend lunch or listen to good music and drink good beer with a few friends. Even better than the food is the story behind the name. Spoiler alert: there are more siblings than just the nine brothers.
6. The Boilermaker at Harry’s Chocolate Shop
Last year Harry’s was ranked the no. 1 college bar by buzzfeed and with good reason. Having started as a typical soda shop then transforming into a speakeasy during the Prohibition Era, the bar’s unique name continues to linger on. Legend has it there are secret tunnels connecting Harry’s to different fraternities and buildings on campus. The tunnels helped Harry’s stay in business and the tradition of going to Harry’s after class remains to date. Even if there are no tunnels, the Purdue community loves going to this hangout nevertheless. You can tell because the bar is typically packed, especially during Football and Basketball games. Feeling proud of your school? Order the Boilermaker, which is a shot of whiskey in a glass of beer. Oh, and don’t forget your free popcorn.
7. The Fat Boy at Famous Franks
Probably the most genius business idea at Purdue, Famous Franks food truck parks outside of Harry’s Chocolate shop from 11pm to 3am every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Bar-goers rush out of bars to get their fix of what is considered the perfect drunk food. A crowd-pleaser here is definitely the signature Fat Boy; a hotdog and bun with fries, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, ranch, and pizza sauce all on top. It’s a fast way to stock up on your carbs and sober up too.
8. Insomnia Cookies after Midnight
Who exactly came up with the idea of delivering warm, gooey cookies directly to your room? That person deserves a hug. Whether you’re having a bad day, returned from a late night of partying, or are just craving cookies, Insomnia is the only way to go. With 12 cookie options and more seasonal flavors, you can order one or a whole box and can even get milk too. The featured cookie is currently red velvet (perfect for this drab, unpredictable weather). The best Insomnia, I promise, is Insomnia after midnight.
9. Creme Brule Latte at Greyhouse Coffee
Stepping into Greyhouse is like entering a new world. The ambience of this charming coffee shop transports you out of West Lafayette and into a European romance novel. Greyhouse is always buzzing with studiers, coffee dates and friends catching up over green tea latteés. A must try is the creme brûlée latté, which is said to be addicting (I can personally affirm that assumption). Coffee not your fave? Greyhouse is also known for their wide selection of loose-leaf teas and delicious savory crêpes. If that’s still not your cup of tea, they also make all natural gelato that’s too decadent to resist.
10. Mary Lou Donuts
A local tradition, Mary Lou Donuts has people swarming the shop every Saturday morning. They serve all your classic donuts for just $7 a dozen. Fan favorites include the apple fritters, which are the size of your head, and french crullers. However, you can’t go wrong with glazed or chocolate frosted sprinkles! This mom-and-pop shop is a must-have Lafayette experience before you graduate from Purdue.
11. Mad Mush Cheesy Bread
What would a Friday night out be without ordering Mad Mush cheesy bread after a long night of
partying studying? This supreme snack is comprise of pizza-shaped cheese sticks with various dipping sauces on the side. Sounds simple right? Wrong. Deciding what sauces to order will take all night, so just get them all: ranch, marinara, nacho cheese, and garlic. If you’re in the mood for something different, try their BBQ sauce, it just may become your new fave. The perfect way to end the night (and forget about school) is with your friends, a long Netflix marathon, and the most satisfying comfort food on campus.
Purdue has some unconventional eats you know you’re going to miss after graduation. It’s best to savor them and splurge while you’re still here. Cheesy bread, Pappy’s milkshake, Insomnia cookies… your food always hold a special place in the hearts of our fellow Boilermakers.