What Makes a College Eat the Best?

In honor of March Madness, we searched out the top 32 Best College Eats from campuses around the nation. Now we’re pitting them against each other, bracket style, to see which dish will come out on top.

During our research, though, we noticed some similarities between the dishes that kept coming up as college students’ favorites. After some careful analysis (and sampling of the dishes) we identified these key elements when cooking up a Best College Eat:

1) Carbohydrates

Let’s be frank for a minute. A top college eat is likely a food being asked to surmount a difficult task: either prevent or cure a hangover. The first necessary element, then, is bread. From a sturdy biscuit holding together a delicious chicken sandwich to a pizza crust smothered in bbq pulled pork, we’ve got a range of carbohydrates on display.

 Only a super sturdy biscuit can hold up to the amount of chicken in UNC’s Chicken Cheddar Biscuit.


2) Cheese

I think we can all agree: cheese just makes things taste better. And a Best College Eat is no exception. We’re not talking French Camembert or a smoked Gouda. No, our dishes feature shredded Cheddar and slices of American at their best. Though to be clear — we are not opposed to fancy cheeses. Just check out Michigan’s Triple Play Reuben or Harvard’s Viagra Burger.

Two drizzly slices of American cheese are key to Pittsburgh’s Southside Slopes sandwich.


3) Grease

Do greasy foods really prevent hangovers? The science is still out but that doesn’t stop college kids from craving a grease bomb after a night out. Bacon is a surefire addition to your dish but you don’t have to stop there: follow the lead of Rutgers’ grease trucks and pile on greasy mozzarella sticks, French fries and more.

Rutgers’ Grease Truck Sandwiches are a true test of just how much grease one sandwich can handle.

4) Meat

Vegetarians, take note: There is a whole lot of meat happening in our list of Best College Eats. While meat is not a requirement to make the list, it does add  heft, making the dish more satisfying and filling (which is important when you’re dealing with a college student’s budget).

Baylor’s Gut Pack piles the meat high.

1-A) Sweets

There is one category of dishes on our list that lack the above four elements — the desserts. When studying late into the night, a case of the munchies can be cured by a good sugar rush. Whether it’s ice cream, donuts or honey buns topped with ice cream, these dishes will satisfy any student’s sweet tooth.

Syracuse’s Toasted Honey Bun Sundae pushes sugar consumption to its limit.

So all things considered, which on the list is the #1 Best College Eat? While we have our favorites, we’re leaving the final decision to you:

Vote here for your pick for Best College Eat in the Nation.