Culinary website The Daily Meal has just compiled its latest ranking of the top 75 schools in the country with the best food. The dining programs were ranked on such aspects as their nutrition, sustainability, education, events, service and what The Daily Meal dubs ‘the X factor,’ or the little something that makes the dining program unique. Read on to see which schools made the list’s top 10.
10. Wellesley College; Wellesley, Mass.
Students attending Wellesley have a variety of on-campus eateries to choose from, including two cafes and a bakery. The dining team partners with students to create the menu for each of the main dining rooms on campus, one of which is nut-free. Students with gluten allergies are able to grab food from a gluten-free cooler located in each dining room, and can cook their own food in a gluten-sensitive room located at one of the school’s dining halls. Wellesley pushes sustainability initiatives that include responsible seafood purchasing, a refillable mug program, composting and trayless dining.
9. Boston University, Boston
Boston University Dining Services offers numerous events throughout the year, such as an annual lobster night and a visiting chef series. Dining services pays particular attention to students with dietary restrictions, offering vegetarian, vegan and halal options throughout campus. When not enjoying meals from its four residence dining rooms, 22 retail outlets and one food court, older students are also able to grab a drink at BU’s on-campus bar.
8. Occidental College, Los Angeles
Using “Oxy’s Own” to brand its self-owned operation, dining services at Occidental aims to serve students while benefiting the community. Students can get involved with dining on campus by working at the student-run Green Bean Coffee Lounge or by participating in the school’s annual Oxy’s Own Iron Chef cooking competition. The college has also taken on the Real Food Challenge, with a goal of purchasing 30% of its food sustainably by 2020.
7. New York University, New York City
New York University offers its students 16 eateries to enjoy. Its newest on-campus concept, 18 Below, offers a rotating seasonal menu inspired by Indian cuisine. To cut back on paper waste, dining services also recently replaced the traditional napkin dispensers at its Lipton Dining Hall with ones that dispense only one napkin at a time.
6. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
Sporting the motto “Meet. Dine. Community,” John Hopkins’ seven dining locations offer its students a variety of made-from-scratch meals. The dining team also makes an effort to invoke a sense of community by hosting student, faculty and staff dinners every month, and by posting employee profiles on its Facebook page. Other aspects of the program include a Sunday brunch and student cooking classes.
5. Northwestern University; Evanston, Ill.
Trayless dining, meals from home and Meet the Dietitian events are just some of the amenities offered by Northwestern’s dining services. The team also has a robust social media presence, including a Youtube channel with cooking tutorials. Its latest on-campus eatery, The Marketplace, is located in its new school of management building and offers dishes inspired by cuisines from around the world.
4. Bowdoin; Brunswick, Maine
Bowdoin’s Dining program is grounded in offering its guests scratch-made meals using produce cultivated not far from campus. Many of the ingredients are sourced from the school’s on-campus meat shop and organic garden. Students are also able to find gluten-free and vegan dishes at every meal.
3. Liberty University; Lynchburg, Va.
Quesadilla burgers and Southern-style pulled pork are some of the dishes found at Liberty University, which aims to offer a variety of global dishes as well as meals that remind students of home. Recently, the school expanded its gluten-free options and started its own farmers market for students to connect with local vendors. Every fall, groups of dining service managers compete in a culinary competition judged by students.
2. Columbia University, New York City
Offering around-the-clock options, the dining services team at Columbia uses locally sourced ingredients to create a variety of menu items that suit a wide range of dietary needs and preferences. Students are also able to enjoy a meal off-campus by using their flex dollars at local restaurants and grocery stores. The dining team donates around 100 pounds of food each week to surrounding churches.
1. Duke University; Durham, N.C.
Coming in at No. 1, Duke University’s dining services offers students more than 30 campus eateries and retail dining options, including an Eataly-inspired union, a farm-to-fork concept and food trucks. Students are able to enjoy chef demos as well as cooking classes, and can partake in over 60 themed events and meals held throughout the year. Duke students are able to participate in a student dining advisory community that meets regularly to discuss menu changes and new eateries, as well as a mystery diner program that allows students to anonymously review and submit feedback on campus eateries.