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The “college experience” is all about indulgence. Newly-minted freshmen arrive on the college scene, wide-eyed, and ready to eat, drink and pull. Much to their chagrin, they’ll soon realize that traditional dining hall food is terrible and outrageously overpriced. Worse yet, most dining halls close before 10 p.m.
In these food-devoid hours, divey sandwich shops and pizza joints prey on the drunken appetites of after-hours undergrads. On that topic, let’s explore eight of higher education’s best places to quell your drunchies.
1. Mama Goldberg’s Deli, Auburn University
Mama G’s, as it’s known by Tiger faithful, is the self-proclaimed oldest independently owned restaurant in Auburn. It’s a traditional deli that offers sandwiches, salads, and wraps. After feeding the college residents of southeastern Alabama for nearly 40 years, the owners of Mama G’s recently decided to franchise the brand and now operates out of four states in the Deep South.
Flagship Meal: Build-Your-Own sandwich
Mama G’s prides itself on its fresh deli selection and allows its stumbling patrons to choose between eight types of meat and seven types of cheese.
2. Nick Tahou’s Hots, Rochester Institute of Technology
Situated throughout the Rochester, NY, area, Nick Tahou’s Hots first opened in 1918 in an old rail terminal and remains a popular stop for Rochester Institute of Technology students. Several years ago, a second location (nee Henrietta’s Hots) opened closer to RIT’s campus but promptly closed. According to Nick Tahou’s Facebook page, students come from all over New York and Pennsylvania to get their Nicky fix.
Flagship Meal: Garbage Plate
The Garbage Plate is a choose-your-own-adventure-style meal. First, you get your choice of a burger, hot dog, or chicken tenders, then you add any two of the following: home fries, french fries, salt potatoes, mac salad or baked beans. The plated monstrosity is then topped with a house-made hot meat sauce.
3. Are U Hungry, Penn State
Are U Hungry barely edges Canyon Pizza as the top drunk stop in State College, due to the size and creativity that define their sandwiches. Nestled on Sowers Street in the 814, Are U Hungry’s trademark is its line of “fat sandwiches.” This University Park heart attack factory offers a full menu of sandwiches, salads, and wings, but few (if any) journey to Are U Hungry for anything but a Fat sandwich.
Flagship Meal: Fat Bitch
The aptly-named Fat Bitch is heart disease on a hoagie bun. The sandwich packs a chicken strip, Philly steak, a mozzarella stick, American cheese, french fries, mayonnaise, and Heinz ketchup into 8″ of bread. Fortunately, this sandwich can be ordered “skinny:” sans fries and with a wrap in lieu of a bun.
4. Cheesy Stuffed Burgers, Oregon State
The Oregon State kids have it made. Cheesy Stuffed Burgers was voted the top burger-slinger in the entire state last year by Business Insider. Only a stone’s throw from Greek row, the Cheesy Stuffed Burgers truck calls Monroe Avenue in Corvallis and 9th Avenue in Albany home. Cheesy is a seasonal entity and proudly builds its drunken-ensembles with locally-sourced beef and buns.
Flagship Meal: Three Cheese Burger
Tipping the scales at over half a pound, the Three Cheese Burger is made with Cheesy’s signature marinade and stuffed with cheddar, swiss, and Monterey jack cheeses.
5. Big Ed’s, University of Utah
Next time a couple guys in white shirts come a-knocking, ready to spread the good news, they might be talking about Big Ed’s. University of Utah’s premier drunk location also doubles as a hangover-curing oasis, post-Pioneer Day. Open 7 a.m. thru 9 p.m., Big Ed’s serves up all the greasy breakfast and burgers needed to satisfy some latter day drunchies or catalyze the morning recovery.
Flagship Meal: GAWD Awful
I’m not just talking about my Mormon puns — Big Ed’s drives business with the GAWD Awful, a pile of hashbrowns smothered in bacon, eggs, chili, cheese, and onions. Should the GAWD Awful stop your heart, Big Ed’s Double Fist, which is 20 shots of espresso and a meal for $20, is guaranteed to kickstart it.
6. Essie’s Original Hot Dog Shop, Pitt
I had a tough time choosing ‘The Dirty O’ over the South Oakland favorite Campus Deli (aka ‘Campus D’) and, even though the owners are notorious for closing shop on game nights to avoid the ornery Panther Pitt, I’m siding with tradition. The O has been an Oakland mainstay for decades and has fed tens of thousands of hammered freshmen situated in the towers and quad nearby. While not sporting a bar, The O offers plenty of beer to sneak past your RA.
Flagship Meal: O Fries
Long known for their hot dogs, the O’s fries is its true distinguishing feature. They’re long, thin, ultra crispy, twice-fried, and piled ceiling-high in an overwhelmed paper boat.
7. Cosmic Cantina, Duke
The self-proclaimed “best Mexican food on the planet,” Cosmic Cantina is committed to providing excellent drunk food by stressing their use of mountain spring water and Himalayan sea salt to level undergrads’ nutrient/alcohol imbalance. Open until 4 a.m. most nights, there’s no last call rush, either.
Flagship Meal: Burrito
Cosmic Cantina offers fresh corn tortillas, made in-house, engineered to soak up the alcohol in students’ guts. Patrons choose between chicken, steak (or some vegan option) and can add the usual Tex-Mex fillers (rice, beans, salsa, lettuce, cheese, sour cream). As with other burrito places, expect a sizable up-charge for guac.
8. Pizza di Roma, Wisconsin
Despite being the drunkest state in the Union, Wisconsin’s drunk food scene is comparatively tame. With that being said, Pizza di Roma beats out Ian’s, and stands above the chain restaurants in Madison (Qdoba, Wendy’s, and Jimmy John’s, namely), claiming to have the finest New York-style pizza in the region. Its slices are huge and it offers plenty of topping choices to any drunk Wisco students wandering down State Street.
Flagship Meal: Pizza
Think your school has a premier drunk stop worth spotlighting? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org..
Image via Instagram/ @mommagoldbergs