Sometimes you need a break from campus food, but getting away from it can be hard if you don't have a car. Thankfully, Union College runs a free shuttle back and forth from campus to Crossgates Mall, which has a surprisingly good and wide selection of foods to eat...#score. Here's some places to hit up while you're there.
1. Auntie Anne's
Like any good Jersey girl, I spend a fair amount of time in one of the many malls close by where I live. One of the staples of my trips at home is a stop at Auntie Anne’s so that I can up my energy to shop a little longer before I drop. So, you can imagine my excitement the first time I went to Crossgates and saw this stand. From the cinnamon and sugar bites to the pretzel wrapped hot dogs and their homemade lemonade, Auntie Anne’s has you covered for anything from a snack to a meal.
I haven’t had that many full meals at Johnny Rockets, though I hear their burgers are delicious. Every time I go, I end up getting onion rings and one of their giant milkshakes, which honestly I feel like is perfectly acceptable. Basically, their menu is nearly as timeless and classic as their Americana décor: it’ll always hit the spot.
Y’all. This is a place where you can have a meal that consists entirely of stuff dipped into delicious blends of melty cheese. They also, you know, have salads and pasta and chicken dishes. But why would you want that when you could have cheese fondue for dinner and chocolate fondue for dessert? Like, don’t mind if I do.
Last time my friends and I went here, we all ordered our own meals and then ended up sharing because we had to try it all. Getting Chicago-style pizza in New York may seem a little sacrilege, but I promise it’s worth it. Personally, I prefer their flat breads, but trying their deep dish did make me think twice about that. Their ‘Deep Dips’ or dips inside of a crisp deep dish pizza crust are something I dream about on a semi-regular basis and the cookie skillet with ice cream on top makes me want to cry tears of joy. UNO holds a special place in my heart. I have nothing more to say on the subject.
Don’t be fooled by The Standard’s proximity to the mall. This place is retro and just that little bit upscale. With options from mac and cheese to horseradish encrusted filet mignon wrapped in bacon, this menu is pretty extensive. And don’t even get me started on their desserts. Plus, if you’re of age (drink responsibly, kids!), they have a wide selection of cocktails that I’ve heard good things about.
This should be your go-to if you’re looking for some food that’s not only trendy, but also oh so Instagramable. Between their artisan toasts and their power bowls (a customizable smoothie bowl, jam packed with everything good for ya), every choice is brightly colored, fresh, and delicious. TBH, you really can’t go wrong at a place that lets you add avocado to pretty much everything on their menu.
And if you start craving their smoothie bowls while on campus, check out this article to learn how to make some just as good in West.
7. Cilantro Mex
So imagine Chipotle. Already a nice thought, right? Now, imagine Chipotle…but with more options. Yes folks, you read that right, there is a place that is Chipotle…but better!? I’ll leave that decision up to you, but it’s definitely worth a try if you’re craving some Mexican food. My personal fave is the adobo grilled chicken in a burrito with pretty much all the fillings I can possibly fit- just thinking about it makes me hungry.
With old school arcade games, bowling, and concerts, it’s pretty much impossible to come here and not have a good time. So when you add the option to eat everything from wings to sushi, it’s even more ensured you’ll leave happy. With a great atmosphere and even better food, it's definitely a great way to kill time at the mall.
Maybe you’ve got a date you really want to impress, maybe you’re just feelin’ fancy. Either way, you should call and make a reservation at Rascals. It can be a little bit on the pricey side, but the food is worth it for sure. They have live music sometimes, as well as Sunday night football events, if you’re down for a show with your dinner. And hey, the food is always plated gorgeously, so you can sleep easy knowing you got a jealousy-inducing insta out of it.
It sounds like they would just sell cookies. And I’m here to let you know that the cookie options are all delish. Lookin’ for just an average cookie? Yep. Personalized cookie cake for a friend’s birthday or just to give yourself an encouraging message? I feel you, and Great American Cookies also feels you. 2 cookies with icing in the middle like an ice cream sandwich, which will never melt? Heck yeah. But this is where they really get you. They also sell brownies. I know. Take a second to soak that in. From fudge to red velvet, their iced brownies are a real game changer, let me tell you.
11. Happy Cappuccino
If you’re into coffee, Happy Cap is a must. All their coffee and espresso is fair trade and organic, not to mention a delicious way to get that caffeine fix. That not your thing? No problem, they also sell tea, hot chocolate, and even smoothies that are so good I’ve even gotten them in the middle of an Upstate New York winter. That says it all. Plus, they’ve also got soup, salad, and sandwiches too and the best part is that even if you’re vegan or gluten-free, they’ve got you covered with some equally yummy looking options
Sometimes you just need some good pizza. In those cases, this is the place to be. Solid New York style pizza, which I know a thing or two about after eating pizza for 5 days. The crust isn’t too thick, it’s good n cheesy, and it's juuuust a little bit greasy, which you need in order for the slice to really hit the spot. Sbarro has been there for me in many pizza emergencies. Thanks, Sbarro, for all you do for lovers of ‘za around the world.
When you claim that you have the #1 cheesesteaks in the world, it’s a tall order to live up to, but Charley’s definitely succeeds. I love the bread they use and their sandwiches are always jam-packed, whether it’s their Classic Cheesesteak or their Veggie Delight. Anywhere that offers me loaded fries is fine by me, and I definitely recommend trying one of their signature lemonades - you can tell they’re made with real fruit and they always hit the spot.
OK so you can’t technically go here yet, but when I found out that one was opening soon, I pretty much freaked out. Cinnamon buns are up there on my list of favorite foods. While every once in a while it’s nice to make them from scratch at home, I stand by the fact that pretty much nothing can beat a warm, melty, Cinnabon for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack. I can’t wait for the day I walk through the mall doors and smell that heavenly cinnamon and icing. I’ll be waiting.So next time you need an excuse to get off campus or you need some energy to get through a long day of shopping, make sure to stop in somewhere you're sure to get some good eats.