Personally, when I was making the decision to go to college, there were three things that were important to me. “How far from home is it?” “How cute is the lacrosse team?” and “How good is the food?” All joking aside, food was a very important factor in my decision of choosing a college. These are schools that come highly recommended in the food category according to the 2016 Princeton Review.
15. Gettysburg College
Starting off our list, Gettysburg strives to keep things local on campus buying seasonal fruits and vegetables from a local CSA (which stands for community supported agriculture). Students also have a unique opportunity to enjoy the honey in the dining hall from a bee hive located on campus! This bee hive was brought to campus in the summer of 2012 and they pollinate much of campus and provide that delicious honey.
14. Claremont McKenna College
For being known as a small school, Claremont McKenna students are pretty spoiled with the amount of food options that are easily accessible to them. Although there is only one dining hall on campus, it steps up the game with several stations that offer a vegan and vegetarian section, as well as ethnic and American eats as well. Getting bored of the dining hall? Students are able to hit up any dining hall on the 5 college campuses in their area, migrating to whichever one is offering the best meals that day.
13. Bates College
Number thirteen on the list, located in Lewiston, ME, Bates College has a commitment to sustainability. They cut down overuse in the dining halls by dissecting every process from food prep to serving. The main focus of the dining services are to stay environmentally-friendly. They divert more than half of their solid waste away from landfills with the creation of a comprehensive management system.
12. Scripps College
Run by Sodexo, there is a focus on the community members at this women’s college in Claremont, CA. They focus on the fact that Sodexo is working to end world hunger and the entire team at Scripps College is committed to this mission. Some favorites among the students include the sushi bar, and the infamous freshly-baked cookies that instantly melt in your mouth. When the dining hall gets repetitive, students hit up the social hub on campus for an eatery that serves all-organic foods, including coffee, health shakes, and organic cookies.
11. University of Scranton
The electric city, as it is dubbed, is home to many different delicious dining options. The University of Scranton, which is located in Scranton, PA, is located very close to the Krispy Kreme distribution center and therefore, every weekend plates of Krispy Kreme’s are placed in the dining hall. I can say I ate close to twelve after visiting one weekend. With no limit on the amount you can have, Scranton continually supplies you with these sugary snacks.
10. St. Anselm College
Nothing beats home-style cooking and that’s just what St. Anselm’s dining services has to offer. If their mac and cheese bar isn’t tempting enough, their holiday celebrations consist of full pies on Thanksgiving and a full throttle Christmas Feast. Students can also enjoy crepes, milkshakes, and a bulk candy station.
9. Bryn Mawr College
With two dining halls and two cafes on this small-scale campus, the eatery options at Bryn Mawr are constantly providing their students with a variety of feel-good food. Students can enjoy personalized quesadillas, panini sandwiches and fajitas, and when you get that late night craving, the food at Uncommon Ground is a great place to pick up that quick fix. Since the campus at Bryn Mawr is so beautiful, it’s like eating in the Great Hall at Hogwarts, which, they use to their advantage in a Harry Potter-themed dinner. The inner nerd in me is seething with envy.
8. Washington University in St. Louis
Local, healthy, and a high variety. What more could you expect from a school that’s located in the heart of St. Louis? This campus leaves no student hungrym with over 14 different dining facilities located throughout campus. The DUC (Danforth University Center) seems to be a hub of all around great food. It offers a variety of food court stops that serve vegan, vegetarian, Asian, Mediterranean and Latin food. The best part of this large array of food vendors? Coffee is basically available anywhere on this campus. Get it with your morning pastries at the Cherry Tea Cafe, or at Ursa’s Cafe for those late-night cram sessions. With such great, sustainable and healthy options, there’s no room for disappointment with the dining at Wash U.
7. Cornell University
At Cornell, your dining experiences will never be like any old cafeteria you’ve been to in the past. This school does a great job at keeping up the variety, with over 30 eateries on campus and over 400 chefs that offer their students exotic tastes from all over the world, as well as your classic buffet assortments. Enjoy the balcony seating overlooking downtown Ithaca in Cascadeli, or the jukebox in the Ivy Room to jam to old-time favorites while you chow down. The chefs at this school take pride in their work, and for good reason! Even the off-campus students are frequently tempted by Sunday brunch, and all-you-can-eat dinners.
6. James Madison University
Hold up. This campus has a Dunkin’ Donuts, a Starbucks, a Chik-Fil-A AND almost 30 other eatery options? Where do I apply? James Madison is notorious for having local, sustainable food, but also for making sure each dining area offers a new food experience for their students. Enjoy burgers, sandwiches, and a Mongolian grille at the Top Dog cafe, or grilled cheese Thursdays at the dining halls. Got too much food? Don’t worry, JMU gives you to-go boxes to enjoy your meal once again as a late night snack.
5. College of the Atlantic
Located in Bar Harbor, Maine “COA” is known for fresh and delicious cuisine using local and organic ingredients as much as they can. Every week day at the crack of dawn bakers are up making cookies and treats. “COA” also rotates the flavors of the world through their menus on a weekly basis. They one dining hall and one cafe on campus that are open Monday-Friday.
4. St. Olaf College
With it’s home in Northfield, Minnesota St. Olaf College makes its mark on the world of college cuisine by buying organically from their local student run farm named STOGROW. All of the meats and poultry served are antibiotic free and downright delicious. They offer three different places to eat on campus with the main dining hall Stav Hall making upwards of 70 entrees a week.
3. Virginia Tech
Blackburg, Virginia, home of the hokies and home of the 3rd best dining in the country is next on the list. Offering a variety of different dining options as well as all the nutritional facts online my mouth was watering thinking about all the food. They promote sustainability by purchasing from local farmers and highlighting them on the dining website. Monday-Friday they have 22 dining centers open and on the weekends they have 7 that remain open.
2. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Nestled in the quaint town of Amherst, Massachusetts UMass dining stands alone in quality and variety. They are the second largest campus dining operation in the country serving 40,000 meals a day. The goal of the dining program is to not only feed the mouths of hungry people but educate them as well. There are four dining commons, eighteen retail cafes, Kosher and Halal options, two food trucks, a delivery service, the bakeshop, UMass Catering, concessions, and the University Club.
DISCLAIMER: This writer lives, breathes, and loves UMass Dining
1. Bowdoin College
Ranked number #1 by the Princeton Review, in Brunswick, Maine, Bowdoin has two main centers to eat. They provide nutritional labels on all the food they have. At Bowdoin, they believe there is no such things as good or bad foods, but that everything should be eaten in moderation. They have 24 meal opportunities, for seven days a week.