Michigan State University
MSU’s award-winning smoked cheddar cheeseburger is a signature item on the Eat at State On-the-Go food truck. The patty is made from MSU beef, the smoked cheddar cheese blend is from the MSU Dairy Store and the greens are from the MSU Student Organic Farm. Since the food truck hit the streets in 2012 for football games, lunch and late-night service, this burger has been a top-selling item.
Hot chicken and waffle nachos at Xavier bring the fire with a sweet-heat sauce on buttermilk fried chicken. On top of Belgian waffles, the chicken gets even more revved up with apple wood-smoked bacon, scallions and a shot of Jack Daniel’s-black pepper Ohio maple syrup.
University of Kansas
The Atchison-Topeka Santa Fe barbecue sandwich from KU’s Courtside Café is a perennial favorite with students. Named for the famous railway, this sandwich goes full steam ahead with house-smoked pulled pork on a toasted brioche bun topped with crispy bacon, local apple-cider slaw, local cheddar cheese and fried onion straws. Choices of barbecue sauce range from sweet to “melt your face off.”
University of Cincinnati
The student favorite at UC’s dining centers is the crispy boom boom chicken. From the BBQ District concept, this barbecue plate sells out constantly, thanks to the unstoppable combo of buttermilk fried chicken with spicy-sweet boom boom sauce, paired with blue cheese mashed potatoes and slaw.
The Bulldog burger at Gonzaga is a staple on the menu with a natural beef patty topped with Special Reserve Tillamook cheddar, apple wood-smoked bacon, hydroponic butter lettuce, tomato, frizzled sweet onions with roasted garlic-black pepper aioli.
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Tar Heels have been going crazy for the Southern charm and bold flavors in this ruby red risotto and local shrimp salad. The risotto is made with red beets and red wine and topped with grated Parmesan. Local shrimp is roasted then placed on a bed of arugula, heirloom tomatoes and citrus, topped with an ivory sauce and kick of horseradish.
The “Southern luvin’” is a veggie burger made with all traditional Southern ingredients and toppings. Served at the Brodhead Center, the patty is made with collard greens, grits and black- eyed peas. The pea-and-collard patty is seared then topped with pimento cheese, fried green tomato, tofu bacon and red cabbage slaw, served open face on a jalapeno-cheddar-corn roll.
Ohio State University
Spicing things up at OSU, Korean BBQ chicken legs with Napa slaw are featured as an LTO in all three all-you-care-to-eat operations on campus. The chicken legs have proven to be a favorite each time they’re offered.
Wichita State University
Shocker sliders are a fun shareable item at Wichita State. The patties are seasoned with garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese for maximum flavor, then topped with sautéed onion, bell peppers and provolone.
University of Tennessee
Surf ‘n turf is the best of both worlds, and it’s always at hit at special events and at the University of Tennessee’s Smokey’s Sports Grill. Herb-crusted beef tenderloin is served with spicy shrimp and sides, too: roasted sweet potatoes and sautéed broccolini.
University of Michigan
The MoJo cookie is an overwhelming favorite at the University of Michigan, with its luxurious chunks of chocolate. Baked in-house, the secret to these cookies is taking them out of the oven while they’re still ooey gooey. Glass of milk optional.
University of Virginia
Featured at UVa’s Davenport Field in Disharoom Stadium, the wahoo chicken and waffle cone combines fried chicken tender with a Ben and Jerry’s waffle cone. The delicious savory-sweet mashup is drizzled with maple syrup as a finishing touch.
This classic ice cream sundae has been a Purdue tradition since 1910 when the Purdue University Creamery was still around. While the creamery is gone, the tradition lives on with the Pappy’s Sweet Shop concept, where sundaes like this—and shakes too—are made using ice cream from the original recipes used more than a hundred years ago.
University of Miami
The mac ‘n cheese burger at Miami is an over-the-top celebration of deliciousness. The beef patty is piled high with the melty mac ‘n cheese then topped with bacon bits and even more melted cheese, with fries on the side.
This eye-opening breakfast option, the sleepyhead tater bowl, is available all day at Villanova’s Belle Air Terrace. It’s part of a build-your-own breakfast bar, and Wildcats are going wild for the combination of tots, shredded cheddar cheese, red and yellow peppers, green beans, tomatoes and scallions. The over-easy egg on top is the finishing touch on this definitely-not-boring bowl.
West Virginia University
These shortbread Flying WV cookies are drizzled with icing and made to add to the tourney excitement. They score big at tailgates, in care packages and part of special events on campus and are only made in the in-house bakery, impossible to get outside of Morgantown, WVa. The cookie cutters for these special cookies are made from bronze by a local blacksmith, and housed in an undisclosed location under lock and key.