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America's Top Universities for Food Lovers

America's Top Universities for Food Lovers


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Ranking the nation's top colleges by their dining options

Dartmouth College's dining services.

It’s that time of year — anxious high school seniors around the country are hovering by their mailboxes praying for big, thick envelopes from the colleges of their dreams. Deciding which school to attend is one of the most important — if not the most important — decisions a teen will make. It’s complicated. It’s nerve-racking. And it’s about to get a lot easier.

Click here for the America's Top Universities for Food Lovers Slideshow.

To help with the decision-making process, The Daily Meal re-ranked the nation’s top 20 colleges and universities (according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 list) based solely on their food options. You’re welcome.

College food, often compared to prison fare, is now becoming increasingly sophisticated and healthy. Gone are the days of mediocre pizza and limp salad, as universities are stepping up their game when it comes to dining services, even providing vegan meals. Universities today boast nutrition analysis, sustainable food initiatives, and even podcasts of the week’s menu. Yes, podcasts.

To even the playing field, we compared 10 elements. Are nutrition facts available online? Score. Is it impossible to keep kosher? Move down a notch. Simple, right? This survey of university food services looked at the following: variety of cuisine; presence of chefs on staff; sustainability efforts; the availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information; options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free, and vegan meals; food-related events; and the ability to order food online.

After careful study, here is a ranked list of the top-notch dining accommodations at the nation’s most prestigious institutions. So grab a notebook, sharpen a pencil, and check out America's Top Universities for Food Lovers.


Bon Appétit Management Company

From foodies to vegans and the gluten-intolerant, today’s students are increasingly scrutinizing the food at their prospective colleges — and citing its quality and choice as major factors in their decision making. But comparing dining programs can be tough, without tasting food at each school and chatting with the dining services staff.

The Daily Meal sought to make the process easier by pulling together a list of the nation’s top 20 colleges and universities, ranked by their food options. Four Bon Appétit accounts made the top 10!

  • Washington University in St. Louis, #1
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, #2
  • University of Pennsylvania, #5
  • Duke University, #8

The Daily Meal judged the schools on the variety of cuisine presence of chefs on staff sustainability efforts the availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free, and vegan meals food-related events and the ability to order food online. They compiled the results into a slideshow, with extensive information on the offerings at each school.

From moonlight breakfast to barbecues to “Dine with a Dietician” classes, this university goes the extra mile to provide students with the best of the best, hosting five to 10 events per week. Want to learn how to roll sushi? Check out Studio 40, an open kitchen where students can take cooking classes, meet with chefs, and watch demonstrations.

Run by food management giant Bon Appétit, WU’s dining features dishes like blueberry crepes, vegetarian chorizo and potatoes, and orange pork stir-fry, with vegan, kosher, and halal options available. Two years ago, the university opened the new Bear’s Den, a facility with authentic food concepts, including two tandoori ovens tended to by trained chefs from Pakistan and India.

Jill Duncan, director of marketing and communications for Bon Appétit Management at Washington University, thinks the school’s sustainability measures set it apart from the pack — specifically regarding its conversion of waste oil to biofuel, the composting of food scraps, and the commitment to local food.

Attention to student feedback is another source of pride. “We have a very open communication environment and our managerial team is extremely visible and interactive with all of the students,” explains Duncan.”


Bon Appétit Management Company

From foodies to vegans and the gluten-intolerant, today’s students are increasingly scrutinizing the food at their prospective colleges — and citing its quality and choice as major factors in their decision making. But comparing dining programs can be tough, without tasting food at each school and chatting with the dining services staff.

The Daily Meal sought to make the process easier by pulling together a list of the nation’s top 20 colleges and universities, ranked by their food options. Four Bon Appétit accounts made the top 10!

  • Washington University in St. Louis, #1
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, #2
  • University of Pennsylvania, #5
  • Duke University, #8

The Daily Meal judged the schools on the variety of cuisine presence of chefs on staff sustainability efforts the availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free, and vegan meals food-related events and the ability to order food online. They compiled the results into a slideshow, with extensive information on the offerings at each school.

From moonlight breakfast to barbecues to “Dine with a Dietician” classes, this university goes the extra mile to provide students with the best of the best, hosting five to 10 events per week. Want to learn how to roll sushi? Check out Studio 40, an open kitchen where students can take cooking classes, meet with chefs, and watch demonstrations.

Run by food management giant Bon Appétit, WU’s dining features dishes like blueberry crepes, vegetarian chorizo and potatoes, and orange pork stir-fry, with vegan, kosher, and halal options available. Two years ago, the university opened the new Bear’s Den, a facility with authentic food concepts, including two tandoori ovens tended to by trained chefs from Pakistan and India.

Jill Duncan, director of marketing and communications for Bon Appétit Management at Washington University, thinks the school’s sustainability measures set it apart from the pack — specifically regarding its conversion of waste oil to biofuel, the composting of food scraps, and the commitment to local food.

Attention to student feedback is another source of pride. “We have a very open communication environment and our managerial team is extremely visible and interactive with all of the students,” explains Duncan.”


Bon Appétit Management Company

From foodies to vegans and the gluten-intolerant, today’s students are increasingly scrutinizing the food at their prospective colleges — and citing its quality and choice as major factors in their decision making. But comparing dining programs can be tough, without tasting food at each school and chatting with the dining services staff.

The Daily Meal sought to make the process easier by pulling together a list of the nation’s top 20 colleges and universities, ranked by their food options. Four Bon Appétit accounts made the top 10!

  • Washington University in St. Louis, #1
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, #2
  • University of Pennsylvania, #5
  • Duke University, #8

The Daily Meal judged the schools on the variety of cuisine presence of chefs on staff sustainability efforts the availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free, and vegan meals food-related events and the ability to order food online. They compiled the results into a slideshow, with extensive information on the offerings at each school.

From moonlight breakfast to barbecues to “Dine with a Dietician” classes, this university goes the extra mile to provide students with the best of the best, hosting five to 10 events per week. Want to learn how to roll sushi? Check out Studio 40, an open kitchen where students can take cooking classes, meet with chefs, and watch demonstrations.

Run by food management giant Bon Appétit, WU’s dining features dishes like blueberry crepes, vegetarian chorizo and potatoes, and orange pork stir-fry, with vegan, kosher, and halal options available. Two years ago, the university opened the new Bear’s Den, a facility with authentic food concepts, including two tandoori ovens tended to by trained chefs from Pakistan and India.

Jill Duncan, director of marketing and communications for Bon Appétit Management at Washington University, thinks the school’s sustainability measures set it apart from the pack — specifically regarding its conversion of waste oil to biofuel, the composting of food scraps, and the commitment to local food.

Attention to student feedback is another source of pride. “We have a very open communication environment and our managerial team is extremely visible and interactive with all of the students,” explains Duncan.”


Bon Appétit Management Company

From foodies to vegans and the gluten-intolerant, today’s students are increasingly scrutinizing the food at their prospective colleges — and citing its quality and choice as major factors in their decision making. But comparing dining programs can be tough, without tasting food at each school and chatting with the dining services staff.

The Daily Meal sought to make the process easier by pulling together a list of the nation’s top 20 colleges and universities, ranked by their food options. Four Bon Appétit accounts made the top 10!

  • Washington University in St. Louis, #1
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, #2
  • University of Pennsylvania, #5
  • Duke University, #8

The Daily Meal judged the schools on the variety of cuisine presence of chefs on staff sustainability efforts the availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free, and vegan meals food-related events and the ability to order food online. They compiled the results into a slideshow, with extensive information on the offerings at each school.

From moonlight breakfast to barbecues to “Dine with a Dietician” classes, this university goes the extra mile to provide students with the best of the best, hosting five to 10 events per week. Want to learn how to roll sushi? Check out Studio 40, an open kitchen where students can take cooking classes, meet with chefs, and watch demonstrations.

Run by food management giant Bon Appétit, WU’s dining features dishes like blueberry crepes, vegetarian chorizo and potatoes, and orange pork stir-fry, with vegan, kosher, and halal options available. Two years ago, the university opened the new Bear’s Den, a facility with authentic food concepts, including two tandoori ovens tended to by trained chefs from Pakistan and India.

Jill Duncan, director of marketing and communications for Bon Appétit Management at Washington University, thinks the school’s sustainability measures set it apart from the pack — specifically regarding its conversion of waste oil to biofuel, the composting of food scraps, and the commitment to local food.

Attention to student feedback is another source of pride. “We have a very open communication environment and our managerial team is extremely visible and interactive with all of the students,” explains Duncan.”


Bon Appétit Management Company

From foodies to vegans and the gluten-intolerant, today’s students are increasingly scrutinizing the food at their prospective colleges — and citing its quality and choice as major factors in their decision making. But comparing dining programs can be tough, without tasting food at each school and chatting with the dining services staff.

The Daily Meal sought to make the process easier by pulling together a list of the nation’s top 20 colleges and universities, ranked by their food options. Four Bon Appétit accounts made the top 10!

  • Washington University in St. Louis, #1
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, #2
  • University of Pennsylvania, #5
  • Duke University, #8

The Daily Meal judged the schools on the variety of cuisine presence of chefs on staff sustainability efforts the availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free, and vegan meals food-related events and the ability to order food online. They compiled the results into a slideshow, with extensive information on the offerings at each school.

From moonlight breakfast to barbecues to “Dine with a Dietician” classes, this university goes the extra mile to provide students with the best of the best, hosting five to 10 events per week. Want to learn how to roll sushi? Check out Studio 40, an open kitchen where students can take cooking classes, meet with chefs, and watch demonstrations.

Run by food management giant Bon Appétit, WU’s dining features dishes like blueberry crepes, vegetarian chorizo and potatoes, and orange pork stir-fry, with vegan, kosher, and halal options available. Two years ago, the university opened the new Bear’s Den, a facility with authentic food concepts, including two tandoori ovens tended to by trained chefs from Pakistan and India.

Jill Duncan, director of marketing and communications for Bon Appétit Management at Washington University, thinks the school’s sustainability measures set it apart from the pack — specifically regarding its conversion of waste oil to biofuel, the composting of food scraps, and the commitment to local food.

Attention to student feedback is another source of pride. “We have a very open communication environment and our managerial team is extremely visible and interactive with all of the students,” explains Duncan.”


Bon Appétit Management Company

From foodies to vegans and the gluten-intolerant, today’s students are increasingly scrutinizing the food at their prospective colleges — and citing its quality and choice as major factors in their decision making. But comparing dining programs can be tough, without tasting food at each school and chatting with the dining services staff.

The Daily Meal sought to make the process easier by pulling together a list of the nation’s top 20 colleges and universities, ranked by their food options. Four Bon Appétit accounts made the top 10!

  • Washington University in St. Louis, #1
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, #2
  • University of Pennsylvania, #5
  • Duke University, #8

The Daily Meal judged the schools on the variety of cuisine presence of chefs on staff sustainability efforts the availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free, and vegan meals food-related events and the ability to order food online. They compiled the results into a slideshow, with extensive information on the offerings at each school.

From moonlight breakfast to barbecues to “Dine with a Dietician” classes, this university goes the extra mile to provide students with the best of the best, hosting five to 10 events per week. Want to learn how to roll sushi? Check out Studio 40, an open kitchen where students can take cooking classes, meet with chefs, and watch demonstrations.

Run by food management giant Bon Appétit, WU’s dining features dishes like blueberry crepes, vegetarian chorizo and potatoes, and orange pork stir-fry, with vegan, kosher, and halal options available. Two years ago, the university opened the new Bear’s Den, a facility with authentic food concepts, including two tandoori ovens tended to by trained chefs from Pakistan and India.

Jill Duncan, director of marketing and communications for Bon Appétit Management at Washington University, thinks the school’s sustainability measures set it apart from the pack — specifically regarding its conversion of waste oil to biofuel, the composting of food scraps, and the commitment to local food.

Attention to student feedback is another source of pride. “We have a very open communication environment and our managerial team is extremely visible and interactive with all of the students,” explains Duncan.”


Bon Appétit Management Company

From foodies to vegans and the gluten-intolerant, today’s students are increasingly scrutinizing the food at their prospective colleges — and citing its quality and choice as major factors in their decision making. But comparing dining programs can be tough, without tasting food at each school and chatting with the dining services staff.

The Daily Meal sought to make the process easier by pulling together a list of the nation’s top 20 colleges and universities, ranked by their food options. Four Bon Appétit accounts made the top 10!

  • Washington University in St. Louis, #1
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, #2
  • University of Pennsylvania, #5
  • Duke University, #8

The Daily Meal judged the schools on the variety of cuisine presence of chefs on staff sustainability efforts the availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free, and vegan meals food-related events and the ability to order food online. They compiled the results into a slideshow, with extensive information on the offerings at each school.

From moonlight breakfast to barbecues to “Dine with a Dietician” classes, this university goes the extra mile to provide students with the best of the best, hosting five to 10 events per week. Want to learn how to roll sushi? Check out Studio 40, an open kitchen where students can take cooking classes, meet with chefs, and watch demonstrations.

Run by food management giant Bon Appétit, WU’s dining features dishes like blueberry crepes, vegetarian chorizo and potatoes, and orange pork stir-fry, with vegan, kosher, and halal options available. Two years ago, the university opened the new Bear’s Den, a facility with authentic food concepts, including two tandoori ovens tended to by trained chefs from Pakistan and India.

Jill Duncan, director of marketing and communications for Bon Appétit Management at Washington University, thinks the school’s sustainability measures set it apart from the pack — specifically regarding its conversion of waste oil to biofuel, the composting of food scraps, and the commitment to local food.

Attention to student feedback is another source of pride. “We have a very open communication environment and our managerial team is extremely visible and interactive with all of the students,” explains Duncan.”


Bon Appétit Management Company

From foodies to vegans and the gluten-intolerant, today’s students are increasingly scrutinizing the food at their prospective colleges — and citing its quality and choice as major factors in their decision making. But comparing dining programs can be tough, without tasting food at each school and chatting with the dining services staff.

The Daily Meal sought to make the process easier by pulling together a list of the nation’s top 20 colleges and universities, ranked by their food options. Four Bon Appétit accounts made the top 10!

  • Washington University in St. Louis, #1
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, #2
  • University of Pennsylvania, #5
  • Duke University, #8

The Daily Meal judged the schools on the variety of cuisine presence of chefs on staff sustainability efforts the availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free, and vegan meals food-related events and the ability to order food online. They compiled the results into a slideshow, with extensive information on the offerings at each school.

From moonlight breakfast to barbecues to “Dine with a Dietician” classes, this university goes the extra mile to provide students with the best of the best, hosting five to 10 events per week. Want to learn how to roll sushi? Check out Studio 40, an open kitchen where students can take cooking classes, meet with chefs, and watch demonstrations.

Run by food management giant Bon Appétit, WU’s dining features dishes like blueberry crepes, vegetarian chorizo and potatoes, and orange pork stir-fry, with vegan, kosher, and halal options available. Two years ago, the university opened the new Bear’s Den, a facility with authentic food concepts, including two tandoori ovens tended to by trained chefs from Pakistan and India.

Jill Duncan, director of marketing and communications for Bon Appétit Management at Washington University, thinks the school’s sustainability measures set it apart from the pack — specifically regarding its conversion of waste oil to biofuel, the composting of food scraps, and the commitment to local food.

Attention to student feedback is another source of pride. “We have a very open communication environment and our managerial team is extremely visible and interactive with all of the students,” explains Duncan.”


Bon Appétit Management Company

From foodies to vegans and the gluten-intolerant, today’s students are increasingly scrutinizing the food at their prospective colleges — and citing its quality and choice as major factors in their decision making. But comparing dining programs can be tough, without tasting food at each school and chatting with the dining services staff.

The Daily Meal sought to make the process easier by pulling together a list of the nation’s top 20 colleges and universities, ranked by their food options. Four Bon Appétit accounts made the top 10!

  • Washington University in St. Louis, #1
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, #2
  • University of Pennsylvania, #5
  • Duke University, #8

The Daily Meal judged the schools on the variety of cuisine presence of chefs on staff sustainability efforts the availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free, and vegan meals food-related events and the ability to order food online. They compiled the results into a slideshow, with extensive information on the offerings at each school.

From moonlight breakfast to barbecues to “Dine with a Dietician” classes, this university goes the extra mile to provide students with the best of the best, hosting five to 10 events per week. Want to learn how to roll sushi? Check out Studio 40, an open kitchen where students can take cooking classes, meet with chefs, and watch demonstrations.

Run by food management giant Bon Appétit, WU’s dining features dishes like blueberry crepes, vegetarian chorizo and potatoes, and orange pork stir-fry, with vegan, kosher, and halal options available. Two years ago, the university opened the new Bear’s Den, a facility with authentic food concepts, including two tandoori ovens tended to by trained chefs from Pakistan and India.

Jill Duncan, director of marketing and communications for Bon Appétit Management at Washington University, thinks the school’s sustainability measures set it apart from the pack — specifically regarding its conversion of waste oil to biofuel, the composting of food scraps, and the commitment to local food.

Attention to student feedback is another source of pride. “We have a very open communication environment and our managerial team is extremely visible and interactive with all of the students,” explains Duncan.”


Bon Appétit Management Company

From foodies to vegans and the gluten-intolerant, today’s students are increasingly scrutinizing the food at their prospective colleges — and citing its quality and choice as major factors in their decision making. But comparing dining programs can be tough, without tasting food at each school and chatting with the dining services staff.

The Daily Meal sought to make the process easier by pulling together a list of the nation’s top 20 colleges and universities, ranked by their food options. Four Bon Appétit accounts made the top 10!

  • Washington University in St. Louis, #1
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, #2
  • University of Pennsylvania, #5
  • Duke University, #8

The Daily Meal judged the schools on the variety of cuisine presence of chefs on staff sustainability efforts the availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free, and vegan meals food-related events and the ability to order food online. They compiled the results into a slideshow, with extensive information on the offerings at each school.

From moonlight breakfast to barbecues to “Dine with a Dietician” classes, this university goes the extra mile to provide students with the best of the best, hosting five to 10 events per week. Want to learn how to roll sushi? Check out Studio 40, an open kitchen where students can take cooking classes, meet with chefs, and watch demonstrations.

Run by food management giant Bon Appétit, WU’s dining features dishes like blueberry crepes, vegetarian chorizo and potatoes, and orange pork stir-fry, with vegan, kosher, and halal options available. Two years ago, the university opened the new Bear’s Den, a facility with authentic food concepts, including two tandoori ovens tended to by trained chefs from Pakistan and India.

Jill Duncan, director of marketing and communications for Bon Appétit Management at Washington University, thinks the school’s sustainability measures set it apart from the pack — specifically regarding its conversion of waste oil to biofuel, the composting of food scraps, and the commitment to local food.

Attention to student feedback is another source of pride. “We have a very open communication environment and our managerial team is extremely visible and interactive with all of the students,” explains Duncan.”


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