September 2017 Culinary Depot Blog Posts

    National Food Safety Education Month

    National Food Safety Education Month


    Since September is National Food Safety Education Month, now is the perfect time to ensure all your foodservice safety essentials are up to date. Whether you operate a café, food truck, restaurant, or concession stand, these items will help you satisfy local health codes while also keeping your staff and diners safe.


    Hand Soap Dispensers


    hand soap dispenser


    Keeping your staffs’ hands clean is crucial to preventing the spread of germs. Hand soap dispensers—especially hands free units—make it easy for workers to quickly and thoroughly wash their hands. By always keeping their hands clean, staff members will get sick less often and consequently keep your foodservice operating at optimal efficiency.

    For more useful information related to the hand washing, check out this comprehensive article from Universal Class. It covers everything from when to wash your hands to proper hand washing technique.


    Disposable Gloves


    disposable gloves


    Made with either poly or latex, disposable gloves provide an extra layer of protection for chefs who frequently handle raw meat, poultry, and fish. These gloves are easy to dispose of after use and can also be used for cleaning.  Ensuring your hands don’t dry out from frequent washing, the gloves lock in moisture while helping your staff maintain peak productivity.


    Meat Thermometers


    meat thermometers


    For foodservices, undercooking meat is an unforgivable offense. Not only does undercooked meat taste bad, but more importantly it can carry food-borne illnesses like E. coli, salmonella, and listeria. If a diner comes down with one of these illnesses after eating at your restaurant, it most definitely will not be good for business. Keeping your kitchen well-stocked with meat probe thermometers is a great way to prevent such a catastrophe. Cooks use these thermometers to make sure each piece of meat has attained an appropriate internal temperature before being served.


    Color Coded Cutting Board


    color coded cutting board


    Color-coded cutting boards let chefs designate different boards for different food items. For example—one cutting board will be for meat, another for seafood, another for poultry, another for cheese, etc. This helps minimize the risk for cross-contamination and prevent the spread of food-borne illness.


    Hair Net


    hair net


    Especially useful for chefs with long hair, hair nets help ensure food remains pristine and free of unwanted add-ins. Hair nets are available in a couple different styles and several different sizes. Whether you prefer a hair net or cap, there’s an option that satisfies your need.


    Grease Proof Floor Mats


    grease proof floor mat


    It’s one thing for commercial kitchens to be an unsightly mess, but it’s something completely different for their floors to be covered with spilt water or oil. Slippery floors are a significant safety risk that can easily lead to employee injury. Whether this is an ongoing problem at your foodservice or just an issue you want to prevent, grease proof floor mats are perfect for giving staff safe footing in your kitchen. 


    First Aid


    first aid kit


    If you operate a foodservice, you need to be prepared for anything. By equipping your operation with the proper first aid equipment, you’ll have peace of mind and always be able to help those in need. Eye wash stations and first aid supplies like bandages are invaluable to owners that place high priority on the safety of their staff and diners.


    Product Labels


    food date labels


    Cooking with spoiled ingredients can result in food that is bad tasting and has the potential to get diners sick. That’s why using product labels is essential for every commercial kitchen. By clearly labeling when each product will spoil, your kitchen staff will be able to use only the freshest ingredients when preparing meals.


    Knife Sanitizing System


    knife sanitizing system


    Frequently used kitchen knives have a tendency to gather large amounts of unwanted residue. Some of this residue can carry food-borne illnesses and consequently presents a threat to the health of workers and diners. A knife sanitizing system can help mitigate that threat.  Available in several sizes, these units hold and sanitize anywhere from three to a dozen knives.


    Oven Cleaner


    oven cleaner


    While oven cleaner is important for keeping commercial ovens functioning at peak efficiency, it also helps prevent dangerous kitchen fires. If an excess of grease accumulates within an oven, the potential for a grease fire increases. These grease fires can damage ovens and—if not caught in time—sometimes even entire kitchens. But by consistently using oven cleaner to keep ovens free of grease, you’ll reduce the chance of an unwanted fire.  


    Chef Coats


    chef coat


    Classic chef coats do more than just differentiate chefs from servers. Featuring extra thick cotton, these coats give chefs an added layer of protection against scorching hot water, grease, and oil. Since they are more difficult for sharp knives to penetrate, chef coats can be the difference between a small scratch and a deep cut. These coats are also less likely to catch fire compared to regular clothing.

    Best 2017 Oktoberfests in North America

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    Oktoberfest began over 200 years ago in Munich, Germany when local residents celebrated a royal wedding. Today, Munich’s Oktoberfest attracts about 6 million people to the city for the multi-week festival. Featuring food, beer, music, rides, and games, Oktoberfest has become a worldwide celebration. While nothing can compare to the 18 days of Oktoberfest in Munich, cities around the world have put their own spin on the German “Volkfest.” The time for celebration is upon us, and this list details some of the best Oktoberfests in North America.


    Oktoberfest by the Bay | San Francisco, CA | September 22-24


    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - oktoberfest by the bay


    Located on the coast of the San Francisco Bay, Oktoberfest by the Bay features live music by The Chico Bavarian Band and the Internationals. Traditional Bavarian dancing takes place every few hours, helping attendees get lost in the true spirit of Oktoberfest. Since demand for the festival is so high, Saturday has two sessions: one from 11am-5pm and another from 6pm-midnight. So whether you’re a day person or a night owl, Oktober Fest by the Bay has an option for you. Food and drink fferings include pretzels, dinner plates, beer, and wine. Many festival-goers wear Trachten to help foster an authentic Bavarian atmosphere.


    Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest | Ontario, Canada | October 6-14


    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - kitchener waterloo oktoberfest


    The Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest is the largest Oktoberfest in North America. Drawing about 700,000 visitors over the span of 9 days, the festival is best known for its beer-based celebrations and major parade. The parade is held on Canadian Thanksgiving and attracts upwards of 150,000 people. Both the cities of Kitchener and Warerloo have histories rich with German roots, making the spot an ideal location for the festival.

    Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest also offers live music, dancing, a 5K race, barrel race, pancake breakfast, and traditional Bavarian food. A Miss Oktoberfest is chosen by a panel of local applicants, while University Night provides all-night transportation to local students who want to join the celebration. The festival’s official mascot—Onkel Hans—has a mustache and sports traditional lederhosen.


    Oktoberfest Denver | Denver, CO | September 22-23 & September 29-30


    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - oktoberfest denver


    The 48th annual Oktoberfest Denver is scheduled to take place over two consecutive weekends in late September. With delicious food offerings that include bratwurst, turkey legs, pizza, warm pretzels, sauerkraut, and more, the festival has something for everyone.  And of course, there’s plenty of beer to go around. Live music plays throughout a day, and a schedule of performers is available on Oktoberfest Denver’s website.

    For festival-goers who crave a superior experience, Oktoberfest Denver offers VIP tickets. These packages include all you can eat and drink along with a free stein, T-shirt, and hat. In total, close to 350,000 people will make it out to the festival over its two weekends.


    Wurstfest | New Braunfels, Texas | November 3-12


    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - wurstfest


    Located just outside San Antonio, the Wurstfest festival began in 1961 and attracts tens of thousands of people each year. A multitude of live musicians perform throughout the 10-day festival, and the beers available include German, Texan, and domestic varieties. Food trucks and a craft beer garden help ensure everyone has plenty of delicious food and thirst-quenching beverages. In addition to dancing, there are also games and carnival rides that provide fun for the whole family. If you’re feeling ambitious try the Bavarian Masskrustemmen challenge—which requires contestants to hold a liter of beer while maintaining an outstretched arm for as long as possible.


    Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest | Reading, PA | September 27 – October 1


    best 2017 okbtoberfests in north america - Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest


    The most popular Oktoberfest in the northeast, this festival boasts a comprehensive menu of Bavarian favorites. With a roast pork platter, bratwurst platter, goulash mit noodles, schnitzel dinner, and more, the Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest provides attendees with an authentic food experience. Family entertainment includes magic, juggling, balloon animals, and ventriloquism, while musical entertainment features both accordion artists and full bands.


    Oktoberfest Zinzinnati | Cincinnati, OH | September 15-17


    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - oktoberfest zinzinnati


    No list would be complete without mentioning Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, which is the largest Oktoberfest in the United States. Friday brings The Running of the Wieners, a must-see event that features 100 dachshunds racing against each other for wiener dog supremacy. Also on Friday are fun games like the beer stein race and the beer barrel roll. Opening Ceremonies on Saturday are followed by the keg tapping, and Sunday concludes with the World Brat Eating Championship and the World’s Largest Chicken Dance. In 1994, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati set the world record for largest chicken dance with an unbelievable 48,000 people—a record that still stands today.

    Over 500,000 people routinely attend Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. Unfortunately, this year’s event already took place from September 15 – September 17. On the bright side, there’s always next year.

    Best Fall Dishes for 2018

    Best Fall Dishes for 2018


    As the outside temperature cools down and the leaves start to change colors, it’s evident that fall has arrived in spirit. Summer fixtures like berries and melons are on their way out, while autumn food will continue to become more popular. The following list includes some of the best fall dishes that restaurants should be featuring on their menus.




    best fall fishes for 2017 - apples


    Thanks to apple festivals and apple picking, these delicious fruits are possibly the food that’s most associated with the fall season. Coming in many iterations, apples boast the versatility to be used in a wide range of culinary creations. Classics like freshly squeezed apple juice can be easily made with an electric juicing machine, while perfectly baked apple pie only requires some bakeware and a commercial oven. Hot apple cider boasts a distinct autumn taste and is even more delicious when served from a dispenser like this one. A large stock pot is ideal for making chunky applesauce, while a blender is perfect for smooth applesauce. Other essential apple-based items include sweet apple fritters and caramel apples. And of course—you can’t go wrong with a good-ole fashioned, regular apple.




    best fall dishes for 2017 - pumpkin


    The only food that can contend with apples as far as fall food popularity, the pumpkin also has a multitude of festivals that celebrate its existence. The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival is likely the most well-known, but the giant pumpkin festivals and weigh offs are also great events that should be experienced by everyone at least once. While eating raw pumpkin is not such a common occurrence, nearly everyone enjoys other pumpkin-based dishes. Baked delicacies like pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin muffins are always a treat. If you’re looking to add a kick of flavoring, pumpkin spice might just be perfect for you. Pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin cheesecake make for perfect dessert dishes, while roasted pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients and ideal for snacking on. For those who prefer pumpkin-based liquids, a pumpkin-spiced latte can help start the day, and a pumpkin beer can help you wind down from it.




    best fall dishes for 2017 - butternut squash


    While pumpkin is technically part of the squash family, there is pretty clear difference between the two as far as diners are concerned. And although different types of squash are harvested throughout the year, the arrival of fall means some of the more popular types of squash have matured and are ready to be plucked from the ground. A great substitute for carb-dense pasta, spaghetti squash can be served in lasagna or in a tasty sauce. Butternut squash has a delicious sweet taste and is an excellent source of both Vitamin E and Vitamin A. With properties that lend themselves well to making soup, butternut squash can also be roasted and goes well with garlic flavoring.




    best fall dishes for 2017 - turkey


    This classic Thanksgiving Day entrée has been a fall season staple for thousands of years.  Capable of being cooked in a variety of ways, turkey can be deep fried, roasted, slow cooked, or steamed. For flavoring, the delicious bird can be wrapped with bacon or stuffed with fresh herbs. Chefs who really want to go all should try making a turducken. Popularized by football legend John Madden, the turducken consists of a deboned chicken inside a deboned duck that’s inside a deboned turkey.  It’s an ambitious endeavor, but by all accounts is completely worth the effort.

    A serving of turkey is incomplete without a healthy helping of gravy. Giving the meat a fuller, more flavorful taste, gravy can be made sweet or spicy. Make sure to check out our large selection of gravy boats for the perfect tool to pour your gravy.


    Brussels Sprouts


    best fall dishes for 2017 - brussel sprouts


    This cruciferous vegetable offers a wide range of health benefits and is at its freshest and most delicious during the fall season. This is due to the Brussels sprout’s preference for growing in cool weather where there’s least six hours of daily sunlight. Brussels sprouts are most commonly roasted but maintain more moisture when sautéed. Many people enjoy the fall vegetable with a dipping sauce or a cheese like parmesan. While sriracha and lemon-flavored sauces are popular choices, garlic and bacon flavoring are also prevalent.




    best fall dishes for 2017 - potatoes


    Whether you prefer sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, russet potatoes, or fingerling potatoes, fall is the perfect time to get your fix. With harvest beginning in early September and lasting through late October, potatoes will be plentiful and delicious for the foreseeable future. Roasted potato wedges are ideal for complimenting a variety of different dishes, while mashed potatoes are a bit more labor intensive to make but offer a delicious payoff. There’s no going wrong with the classic baked potato, which is still the standard side dish for mouth-watering steaks.




    best fall dishes for 2017 - beets


    Offering numerous health benefits, beets are in season from the summer through late fall.  An extremely versatile side dish, the rooted plant is a great additive to salads and can be even made into hummus or mustard. And if you can appreciate beets for their nutritional value but are not a big far of their taste, try making this ginger-beet sorbet. For vegetarian restaurants, a beet burger provides diners with an innovative food option that likely isn’t available at many other places.



    Make sure to take advantage of the fall harvest by crafting meals around food that’s in season. Before you know it, spring will be here and you’ll be yearning for the fall foods that are no longer available. 

    Best Food Cities in the United States

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    The United States is a cultural melting pot with no shortage of cities that offer a wide range of diverse food. With many cities ranking among the best in the world when it pertains to food, the culinary culture of the U.S. has something for everyone. The following list contains just a few American cities that are well-known for their delicious food offerings.


    New York City, NY


    nyc food


    While New York is famous for its bagels, hot pretzels and thin-crust pizza, it’s the city’s large collection of high-quality restaurants that makes it deserving of a spot on this list. No matter what your favorite type of food is, New York has almost unlimited restaurants that can satisfy your cravings. In addition to its classic American offerings, New York has a multitude of neighborhoods that specialize in foreign food. Among these are Little Italy, Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Guyana, Little India, Little Odessa, Little Australia, and Little Poland.  

    The city that never sleeps is full of quirky 24-hour diners and all types of street venders. No matter what time of day or night it is, you can find a delicious dish. Restaurant chains like Nathan’s Famous, Shake Shack, Benihana, T.G.I. Friday’s, and Sbarro’s, all started in NYC before expanding. Nathan’s Famous is particularly associated with the city and is home to the yearly Hot Dog Eating Contest held on July 4th.


    New Orleans, LA


    best food cities in the united states - new orleans gumbo restaurant


    One of the most culturally-rich cities in America, New Orleans is as much known for its food as its music. Combining elements of creole cuisine, Cajun cuisine, and soul food, New Orleans offers a distinctly unique cuisine. Seafood is a staple of many meals, and New Orleans’ location on the water ensures fishermen always have easy access to a variety of fresh fish and shellfish.

    While classic meals like gumbo, jambalaya, poboys, crawfish etouffee, and shrimp creole have helped cement New Orleans as a food city, novelty dishes like fried alligator and turtle soup are also relatively popular. And since the city is so heavily steeped in jazz culture, many local restaurants provide live musical performances.


    Chicago, IL


    best food cities in the united states - chicago deep dish pizza sky deck


    The capital of the Midwest, Chicago has always been an innovator when it comes to food. Responsible for inventing deep-dish pizzas, Italian beef sandwiches, and Chicago-style hot dogs, the windy city is also renowned for a wide range of outstanding restaurants. Like New York, Chicago has a myriad of different neighborhoods known for distinct food—Chinese, Italian, South Asian, Mexican, Polish, and Vietnamese restaurants.

    Many Chicago restaurants are also rich with history. The Mill Cocktail Lounge, which is still a popular venue that often features live jazz and poetry performances, was one of Al Capone’s favorite hangouts during the prohibition era. Another well-known Chicago venue is the Billy Goat Tavern, which gained notoriety when its owner and his goat were ejected from Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series. The owner allegedly put a curse on the Cubs franchise, which was lifted last year when the Chicago won the World Series.

    Steak-lovers in particular flock to Chicago for the plethora of high-profile steakhouses. The city celebrates all things food in July by holding the Taste of Chicago—a five day food festival that attracts millions of attendees and features several live musicians.


    San Francisco, CA


    best food cities in the united states - san francisco restaurant


    One of the big advantages of dining in San Francisco is restaurants receive meats, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and wines from local farms just outside the city. Consequently, meals are made with only the freshest ingredients. The city’s mouth-watering dungeness crabs are prevalent when in-season from November-July and go great with San Francisco’s classic sourdough bread.

    San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest in North America and considered the origin of western Chinese food. As one would imagine, Chinese food still makes up a large sector of the city’s culinary offerings.

    There are also a variety of food trucks throughout San Francisco, and many carry ethnically diverse gourmet street foods. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is based in San Francisco and is the perfect place to visit for sweet tooths.


    Charleston, SC


    best food cities in the united states - charleston sc restaurant husk


    While at first glance Charleston might seem out of place on this list, the reality is the city’s culinary scene has been making waves over the past few years. So much so that the city is having difficulty with worsening traffic, skyrocketing rental prices, staffing shortages, and increased tourism. Locals believe all this is a direct result of Charleston showing up on multiple “Best Food Cities in America” lists.

    The city is possibly best known for its shrimp and grits, a dish prepared with a unique approach by every chef. Also popular is the she crab soup, which features a heavy cream and crab meat. Combining shrimp, corn, sausage, and potatoes, Charleston’s frogmore stew is a classic southern creation that’s beloved by nearly all who try it. Many of Charleston’s restaurants boast a southern charm that you’ll find in only a few other places.


    Portland, OR


    best food cities in the united states portland oregon food trucks


    Although most people associate beer and coffee with Portland, the northwest enclave also possesses a thriving culinary culture. If the city has a signature dish, it’s locally caught salmon.  But really, Portland is best-known for embracing the evolving diner preferences that are becoming more prevalent. Concepts like organic, vegan, sustainable, and farm-to-table are embraced by a large portion of Portland restaurants.

    Along those same lines, Portland has adapted to busier and more demanding diners by turning to food carts. With unique carts that offer everything a hungry Portlandian could ever want, the city has figured out a way for busy customers to quickly pick up and eat a diverse range of quality food.



    There’s no need to fret if you don’t see a city close to you on this list. There are excellent food cities throughout the United States, and this list is in no way comprehensive. Furthermore, there are cities around the world that are worth visiting for any true culinary connoisseur. There’s no need to limit your food scope to the U.S. alone when there are thousands of other food centric cities scattered throughout the world.

    Streamline Your Small Space with Vulcan Kitchen Equipment

    Streamline Your Small Space with Vulcan Kitchen Equipment 

     vulcan kitchen


    A restaurant kitchen is command central.  Everything a restaurant does -- the food it serves, the morale of its staff, and the smoothness of its overall operations -- depends on what’s happening in the kitchen. It follows that setting up your kitchen in the most effective, efficient way is a critical imperative for any foodservice business.

    While designing a restaurant kitchen can be challenging under any circumstances, these challenges are multiplied for restaurants with small kitchens. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make the most of your commercial kitchen -- even when space is limited.

    Read on for four tips aimed at maximizing your restaurant kitchen space, along with how innovative equipment from Vulcan can help you achieve your goals.


    1. Lead with your Layout

    While there’s no precise formula for designing restaurant kitchen, the majority of restaurants use one of three basic commercial kitchen layouts, including the following:

    • Island-style, which puts all major pieces of kitchen equipment in one shared, central space, aka “the island,” and other kitchen sections placed along the perimeter walls;
    • Zone-style, which organizes the kitchen into blocks with principle pieces of equipment placed along the walls in an order that optimizes flow; and
    • Assembly line, which is organized in a linear fashion progressing from food preparation to service areas.

    While many experts agree that the assembly line layout -- which locates non-principle areas, such as cleaning/washing and storage/receiving, behind the assembly line so they’re out of the way -- best suits smaller kitchens, the right design for any foodservice operation relies on a number of factors, including the type of restaurant and number of seats.


    2. Design a Mindful Menu

    In its report  Small Wonder: The Case for Smaller Restaurants and How to Maximize Them, the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration instructs, “Design your menu to require only a few, flexible pieces of equipment. A well-crafted menu not only pleases your guests and generates good contribution margins but also makes effective use of the equipment you have. Eliminate any item on the menu that is the only dish that uses a particular piece of equipment.

    Think about equipment that inherently offers flexibility: sauté ranges, griddles, combi ovens or convection ovens.  In other words, the food you serve is a factor of the space you have available to you, and the space that you have available to you is largely reliant on the equipment you use.


    3. Choose the Right Equipment

    Which brings us to our next point: Kitchen equipment. All kitchen equipment is not created equal. But just because you have to think small in terms of square footage doesn’t mean you have to think small in terms of the performance of your equipment. This is what makes Vulcan equipment a wise investment for any commercial kitchen.

    Equipment like Vulcan’s modular V Series Range Line and compact-but-mighty MinijetTM Series Mini Combi oven are the embodiment of mindful.

    Meanwhile, equipment which makes use of countertop space, including Vulcan’s Hand Tilting Counter Kettles and CEF Countertop Fryer, free up premium floor space without sacrificing convenience, practicality, or output.


    4. Store Smarter

    Smart storage -- and a mindfully organized storage area -- further supports kitchen efficiency. But splitting your storage area into cold, dry and non-food storage sections is just the start of taking your storage setup to the next level. Consider Vulcan’s visionary Refrigerated Chef Base/Stand with Drawers, which performs double duty by serving as both countertop space and cold storage for the ultimate in multitasking functionality. Or, you can even place equipment on top of the bases for an added space-saving option.

    While a small restaurant kitchen has its difficulties, it’s not all downsides. (After all, Cornell University did declare small restaurants to be “small wonders.”) By following the four tips above, you can turn obstacles into opportunities in order to design a commercial kitchen capable of doing much more with much less.


    About Vulcan Equipment

    Vulcan, a division of ITW Food Equipment Group LLC, is a leading manufacturer of cooking equipment in the U.S. with a broad line of products including fryers, ranges, ovens, griddles, charbroilers, steamers, kettles, braising pans, heated holding and combi ovens.  Vulcan sells both to the foodservice and food retail end-user segments, including chain and independent restaurants, hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, K-12 schools, colleges/universities, hotels, casinos, recreation, corrections, and grocery stores.

    7 of the Best College Town Restaurants and Why Students Love Them

    7 of the Best College Town Restaurants and Why Students Love Them


    As thousands of college freshman arrive to campus and bid farewell to life under their parents’ roofs, they’ll be overwhelmed with an insatiable desire to explore. After making new friends in the dorm, they’ll soon check out the campus from end to end. It’s at this point that they’ll discover the dining hall’s offerings likely pale in comparison to the home cooking they’ve grown so accustomed to. The next logical step is to see what food’s available off campus. What they discover varies from school to school, but most colleges have a special restaurant or two that is just part of the culture. The following list is comprised of college restaurants that are thoroughly ingrained in the fabric of their local institutions.


    Louis Family Restaurant - Brown University - Providence, RI 


    louis family restaurant


    Although Louis Family Restaurant has a rich history that includes visits from JFK, Steven Spielberg, and George Harrison, the classic old-school diner mostly serves locals and Brown University students. Featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, the restaurant was praised for its unique barbecued chicken ravioli and granola pancakes.

    Louis Family Restaurant has been family owned and operated for over 60 years. Open from 5AM-3PM daily, the food joint’s early opening time is directly responsible for inspiring the “Louis Challenge.” The Louis Challenge has become a time-honored, Brown University tradition in which students pull all-nighters to grab breakfast as soon as the restaurant opens.


    Bat 17 - Northwestern University - Evanston, IL


    bat 17 northwestern










    This modern bar/sandwich shop combines a stylish décor with delicious food and an enormous selection of beers. Voted best restaurant in 2017 by The Daily Northwestern for a fifth-straight year, Bat 17 is best-known for its giant burgers and vegetarian offerings. Using locally-sourced ingredients and keeping 19 beers on tap, the versatile restaurant is perfect for nearly any occasion.  

    Not at all ashamed of its Northwestern roots, Bat 17 is decked out in Wildcat paraphernalia and frequently shows the university’s televised sports games. While it might be a little pricey for some students, the restaurant is more than worth it according to the multitude of repeat customers who swear by it.


    Helen’s Roast Beef & Pizzeria - Tufts University - Medford, MA


    helen's roast beef & pizzeria


    While Tufts might not have the name recognition of some its neighbors like Harvard and Boston College, it is the only school that can claim Helen’s Roast Beef & Pizzeria as its own. Despite striving to offer a mix of healthy Mediterranean and American cuisine, Helen’s is best-known for its Blue Zone—a buffalo chicken calzone with Ken’s blue cheese dressing and a secret blue zone sauce. The go-to meal for students after a night out at the bars, the blue zone becomes a highly sought-after commodity on campus during early morning weekend hours.  

    Helen’s Roast Beef & Pizzeria only uses fresh ingredients that have been purchased locally. Open from 11AM-3AM seven days a week, the restaurant delivers until 2:30AM. While the family-operated restaurant has only been open since in 1996, it has already entrenched itself as part of Tufts University lore.


    Collegetown Bagels - Cornell University - Ithaca, NY


    collegetown bagels


    With several locations throughout Ithaca, Collegetown Bagels has been a place for students to eat bagels, drink coffee, and study for tests since 1976. While the bagel shop only offered bagels and cream cheese at the time of its opening, it did not take long before it grew into the juggernaut it is today. Collegetown Bagels offers a wide range of quirkily-named breakfast sandwiches, deli sandwiches, paninis, smoothies, and more.

    The owners of the bagel joint attribute their success to the staff, which is representative of the entire Ithaca community—from locals to high school students to college students. That community-oriented approach spills over into the procurement of ingredients. Committed to green business practices, the forward-thinking bagel shop strives to give local farmers and suppliers priority when it comes to purchasing fresh ingredients.


    Zingerman’s Delicatessen - University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI 


    zingermans delicatessen


    The University of Michigan is renowned for its abundance of delicious food offerings throughout Ann Arbor. By all accounts, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is indispensable as any. Satisfying the appetites of thousands of students each year, this historic deli is located across the street from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market. The deli is a lot smaller than you’d think, but that doesn’t stop it from making a big impact.

    A self-proclaimed Ann Arbor institution, Zingerman’s filled an important void around the school’s campus when it was co-founded by a University of Michigan alum in 1982. Today, the deli offers a wide range of unique sandwiches in addition to beverages and desserts. A large part of the local community, Zingerman’s Delicatessen hosts food-related events each month. The arrival of September will bring the 32nd Annual Fiesta de España, which will teach attendees how to cook traditional Paella.

    Dinosaur Bar-B-Que - Syracuse University - Syracuse, NY


    dinosaur bar-b-que syracuse, ny


    This legendary barbecue joint first opened in Syracuse in 1988. Following its success, the restaurant promptly became a chain and popped up in several other cities. Although Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is beyond walking distance from the Syracuse campus, its location has never deterred students from piling into cars with the goal of achieving barbecue bliss. The restaurant rarely disappoints.

    Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is also a biker bar, so don’t be surprised when you see a bunch of motorcycles lined up out front. With interior decorating that features a retro theme, the bar often hosts live music. The kitchen utilizes a wood-fueled barbecue to cook succulent ribs and BBQ chicken. The restaurant tends to get crowded—especially when school’s in session—so try to get there on the early side.


    Lyn’s Food Truck - University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, PA


    lyn's food truck - upenn


    For years, Lyn’s Food Truck has been providing UPenn students with the fuel they need to handle an Ivy League course load. Students from all over campus flock to Lyn’s—located between 36th and Spruce near the lower quad gate—to consume the food truck’s tasty all-day breakfast items. The classic bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich is always the best seller, but an assortment of other creative options are also available.

    The food truck gets its name from its owner—Lyn, a gregarious woman who has a gift for remembering faces and custom orders. While students will never be able to get enough of the delicious sandwiches offered at Lyn’s Food Truck, it’s also the friendly service provided by Lyn that keeps them always coming back for more. The truck is open for business M-F from 7AM-3PM.


    Each college has its own unique culture and tradition. The local food joints that have stood the test of time are special. Students come and go, but they’re all connected by the same experience of dining a particular restaurant.