Sixty best college dining programs

A complete roundup of the best colleges for food.

Sept. 23—Some colleges and universities go above and beyond in their efforts to serve fresh, wholesome meals to the students who are living and studying there. From a college in Vermont that only sources its food from local vendors to one in Massachusetts that hosts a farmers' market that’s entirely student-run, we tracked down the 60 best colleges for food in America.

Last summer, The Daily Meal conducted an eye-opening study, building on our previous ranking, that examined the most outstanding campus dining at nearly all of the approximately 2,000 four-year colleges across America. We discovered some schools that gave their students top-notch dining experiences, while others failed to pass even the most simple health inspections. However, in the end we found 52 clear winners that refused to accept the stigma that comes with collegiate dining, taking the ordinary campus meal and turning it into an extraordinary dining experience.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
storm

When preparing for inclement weather, we make agreements with all the foodservice providers in the area—not just our prime vendor—since you never know if one will cut off from resupply. For example, when Hurricane Harvey hit, we were ready to purchase from San Antonio and Dallas rather than Houston due to the high water.

Ideas and Innovation
tray

We decided to get rid of plastic trays 
and now offer cardboard trays in 
our cafeteria to support our district’s efforts to expand and improve our recycling efforts. The trays look great, and already schools are requesting more recycling pickups and fewer waste pickups. Recycling pickups cost less than waste pickups, so it’s a win for us.

Ideas and Innovation
nuts

We decided through focus group feedback that our freshmen struggled with the allergy-friendly options or options for students with diabetes on campus. In response, we decided to have a dinner the first few weeks of classes to let some of these students know what was available and let them network with their peers and others with allergies or diabetes. NC State Dining chefs prepared menu items based on foods from cultures around the world. ... From delicious sliced sweet potatoes to savory Ikarian-style roasted chicken, students were able to sample global dishes free of allergens.

Ideas and Innovation
coffee cups

We started a monthly Coffee Hour with just the department director. The goal is to gather 
staff feedback about their jobs and answer individual questions. After the first event, 
several staff members emailed stating they just wanted to meet with the director without 
their supervisors. Now, the meetings offer an opportunity for more of a one-on-one conversation without the presence of the supervisor they 
deal with day in and day out.

FSD Resources