Bracket Battle: Best College Eats

We decided the madness shouldn’t be limited just to the basketball court. We're pitting the best 32 dishes from college towns against each other in our "Bracket Battle: Best College Eats" tournament.

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Kerri Brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Kerri Brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Kerri Brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Kerri Brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

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Photo By: Kerri Brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: kerri brewer ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Top 32 College Eats from Across the Country

After much debate, we've declared these 32 dishes the Best College Eats in the country. Browse through our selections and try our copycat recipes at home.

Baylor University: The Gut Pak

Tailgating at Baylor means digging into a plate of corn chips, beans, cheddar and two kinds of meat – smoked on-site at the century-old institution Vitek’s BBQ.


Image: Yelp


Make It At Home: The Gut Pak

For our at-home version of The Gut Pak, we use liquid smoke to achieve a smoky flavor in the brisket.

Get the Recipe: Gut Pak

Duke University: Greek Devil Gyro

To tap into the Blue Devils’ spirit, chow down on a tzatziki-topped gyro bundled in an oven-warmed pita, courtesy of the five-year-old food-stand-turned-food-truck The Greek Devil.


Image: Gussy's

Make It At Home: Greek Devil Gyro

Can't make it to Durham to check out Constantine "Gus" Megaloudis' food truck? Bring a taste of Duke street food to your kitchen with this easy recipe for Greek Devil Gyros.

Get the Recipe: Greek Devil Gyro

Fordham University: Chicken Roll

In true NYC fashion, students of the Bronx-based campus voted a pizza place – Pugsley Pizza – as their favorite institution, and its saucy fresh-marina-topped chicken roll as the dish to order.

 

Image: Yelp

Make It At Home: Chicken Roll

When we called Sal Natale, owner of Pugsley Pizza, to learn his recipe, he shared with us his secret ingredients: Love and passion. Be sure to bring a bit of both to your kitchen when cooking this recipe.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Roll from Pugsley Pizza

Georgetown University: Chicken Madness

Wisemiller's Grocery and Deli (aka Wisey’s) drives those D.C. kids mad with this chicken, bacon and pepper sandwich that marries a hoagie with the flavors of a fajita.


Image: Facebook

Make It At Home: Chicken Madness

If D.C. is out of reach, make our take on this juicy chicken sandwich in the comfort of your own home. The key ingredient to this sandwich? The bacon.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Madness

Gonzaga University: COG Cookies

The Center of Gonzaga (COG) serves these soft, crunchy, straight-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies at all sporting events. Now that’s something to cheer for.


Image: Gonzaga University

Make It At Home: Cog Cookies

Try our take on their secret recipe, a cookie that's perfectly browned and a little bit crunchy on the edges, but always soft and fresh straight from the oven.

Get the Recipe: COG Cookies

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Harvard University: The Viagra Burger

In order to “Rise to the Occasion” like the Crimsons do, grab a napkin and top a thick beef patty with a uniquely chunky blue cheese dressing in the style of Mr. Bartley's Gourmet Burgers.


Image: eatingmywaythroughoc.blogspot.com

Make It At Home: Viagra Burger

Our homemade blue cheese dressing, far chunkier than any store-bought variety, is a messy but necessary addition for making this burger at home. Rise to the occasion, and dig in.

Get the Recipe: The Viagra Burger

Indiana University: Sink the Biz Fries

These fries have the big personality (five-plus herbs and spices; an addictive garlic sauce) warranted to match their namesake: a rowdy beer-bucket drinking game at the bar Nick’s English Hut.


Image: Yelp

Make It At Home: Sink the Biz Fries

"Sink the Biz" involves a pint glass (the biz) floating in a bucket of beer. Players then take turns pouring beer into the glass. Whoever sinks the biz, drinks the biz.

 

Even if you're not playing the game, our take on these spicy and cheesy fries (also served in a bucket) beg to be eaten with an ice-cold brew.

Get the Recipe: Sink the Biz Fries

Iowa State University: VEISHEA Cherry Pies

It’s a story as sweet as cherry pie: Students of the restaurant management program bake these mini treats and sell them at a springtime celebration to raise money for scholarships.


Image: iastate.edu

Make It At Home: VEISHEA Cherry Pies

Our spin on VEISHEA cherry pies has a slightly darker filling than the original due to the addition of Maraschino cherries. Though a bit non-traditional, the end result is a not-too-sweet mini dessert.

Get the Recipe: Cherry Pies

Marquette University: The Marquette

At the restaurant Real Chili, those that are in the know order this secret bowl of spaghetti topped with beef chili, chopped onions and heaping portions of cheddar and sour cream.

Make It At Home: The Marquette

When you make the Marquette at home, don't forget to serve it with vinegar and oyster crackers on the side.

Get the Recipe: The Marquette

Michigan State: Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

This impossibly creamy, bourbon-spiked ice cream cookie sandwich from Melting Moments gets Michigan State students amped for sporting events, no matter the season.


Image: Melting Moments

Make It At Home: Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

If you're craving this ice cream sandwich from afar, our copycat version will hit the spot. The secret to achieving the rich vanilla-bourbon ice cream is starting out with a high butterfat, high-quality vanilla ice cream.

Get the Recipe: Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

North Carolina State: Mimi’s Sausage Dip

This humble, creamy pork sausage dip from 60-plus-year-old restaurant The Player’s Retreat is an essential part of game-watching at North Carolina State University.


Image: Twicsy

Make It At Home: Mimi's Sausage Dip

This super simple dip has only three ingredients, but it's packed with flavor. Add some flair to the dip by reserving some of the tomatoes and adding them at the end as a garnish.

Get the Recipe: The Marquette

Ohio State University: The Buckeye Donut

Buckeye Donuts took an already delicious treat (see: Buckeyes) modeled after the nut of the same-named tree and turned it into chocolate-covered, peanut butter-filled doughnuts.


Image: Yelp

Make It At Home: The Buckeye Donut

To make this doughnut at home, create an indent in the center of the doughnut before you fry it; this will leave you with a little nest for filling with peanut butter.

Get the Recipe: The Buckeye Doughnut

Princeton University: Phat Lady

Hoagie Haven’s #1 sandwich is not for the faint of stomach: Mozzarella sticks and thick-cut French fries top an already decadent jaw-prying cheesesteak. Phat, indeed.


Image: Yelp

Make It At Home: Phat Lady

A full 16-inch hoagie might be the best cure after a late night, but we like splitting it up when we make them at home and sharing these hoagies with a few friends.

Get the Recipe: Phat Lady

Purdue University: Boilermaker Pete

Triple XXX Family Restaurant has charmed students and Route 66 drivers alike with this triple-decker American cheese- and onion-topped chopped steak burger since 1929.


Image: Triple XX Family Restaurant

Make It At Home: Boilermaker Pete

Dredging the flavorful "chopped steak" patties in flour helps to create a nice and even crust on the outside.

Get the Recipe: Boilermaker Pete

Rutgers University: Grease Truck Sandwich

In 1997, hungry student Darrell W. Butler convinced one of the campus’ Grease Trucks to toss his favorite foods onto a bun in what is now a famous award-winning sandwich.


Image: Yelp

Make It At Home: Grease Truck Sandwich

This sizeable sandwich is made up of chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, French fries and marinara sauce on a bun.

Get the Recipe: Grease Truck Sandwich

Syracuse University: Toasted Honey Bun Sundae

Sometimes the toppings matter most. At Cosmos Pizza & Grill, the highlight of the menu is a hot fudge-topped vanilla ice cream sundae over from-the-box toasted honey buns (T.H.B.).


Image: http://especialee.blogspot.com

Make It At Home: Toasted Honey Bun Sundae

In need of a sugary fix? Pile your honey buns high with ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream.

Get the Recipe: Toasted Honey Bun Sundae

Temple University: Koagie

These Korean-style hoagies, featuring thinly sliced marinated beef, cabbage slaw and cucumber kimchee on a seeded bun, hail from Sammy Chon’s K-Town BBQ.


Image: Koagie.com

Make It At Home: Koagie

This sandwich is especially delicious with marinated thinly-sliced rib eye steak but you can substitute with Philly cheesesteak meat, thinly sliced chicken or pork.

Get the Recipe: Koagie

UC Berkeley: Top Dog Frankfurter

The NY-bred owner of Top Dog Hot Dog knows that a great kosher-style beef dog needs little adornment. 


Image: Yelp

Make It At Home: Hot Dog with Spicy Mustard

We spiced up this New York-style frank with sauerkraut and our homemade take on a student favorite, Russian spicy mustard, a very spicy and slightly sweet mustard.

Get the Recipe: Top Dog Frankfurter

UCLA: Ice Cream Sandwich

Those California girls (and boys) love building custom ice cream sammies at Diddy Riese, where you can mix and match 10 cookies and 12 ice cream flavors. Math never tasted so sweet!


Image: Yelp

Make It At Home: Mix and Match Ice Cream Sandwiches

Students at UCLA love mixing and matching cookies to use in the sandwiches, and you can too. Just swap out the mix-ins you want for a fully customizable cookie sandwich.

Get the Recipe: Ice Cream Sandwich

University of Illinois: Stuffed Pizza

Unlike the similar Chicago-style deep dish pie, Papa Del’s famous cheese-and-topping-stuffed pizza has a sauce-topped dough crust, which makes this an actual pie.


Image: Papa Del's

Make It At Home: Stuffed Pizza

Be sure to serve extra sauce on the side. It's perfect for dipping your crusts.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed Pizza

University of Kansas: Chicken Cheddar Wrap

The crunchy chicken tender wraps sold at on-campus shop Brellas are so popular, every year students participate in a race where they down these sandwiches at the halfway point.


Image: Kansas University

Make It At Home: Crunchy Chicken Wrap

Though a wrap does make for a great on-the-go meal, we don't recommend literally eating this dish on the run (like KU students do).

Get the Recipe: Chicken Cheddar Wrap

University of Kentucky: Ho Burger and Cheddar Tots

The salty-sweet secret Ho sauce and creamy, cheesy tots may compel you to scream “Tolly-Ho” when trying the #1 burger from this close-to-campus restaurant.


Image: Tolly-Ho

Make It At Home: Ho Burger and Cheddar Tots

When we made our own version of the "Ho Sauce" for this burger, we found it tastes scarily similar (in a delicious way) to a very secret sauce put on a certain fast food chain's burger. 

Get the Recipe: Ho Burger and Cheddar Tots

University of Maryland: Fear the Turtle Ice Cream

On-campus shop The Dairy turns its super-rich vanilla ice cream into creative flavors like this white chocolate, caramel and pecan favorite that unites students against competitors (cough, Duke).

Make It At Home: Fear the Turtle Ice Cream

Our take on the Fear the Turtle ice cream is an addictive white chocolate ice cream with caramel sauce, salted pecans and a little bit of creme de cacao.

Get the Recipe: Fear the Turtle Ice Cream

University of Memphis: Pulled Pork BBQ Pizza

Students flock to Garibaldi’s Pizza, where in true Tennessee fashion, they top an already favored collegiate food with Memphis-style tangy pulled pork.


Image: Garibaldi’s Pizza

Make It At Home: Pulled Pork BBQ Pizza

This pizza is the perfect snack for your next game day party: one pork shoulder makes enough toppings for four 11-inch pizzas. If you're only making one pizza, cut down the marinara recipe and save the leftover pulled pork for sandwiches, tacos, quesadillas or egg rolls.

Get the Recipe: Pulled Pork BBQ Pizza

University of Michigan: Triple Play Reuben

Everything at U of M is larger than life, from The Big House to this two-meat, two-cheese sandwich with Russian dressing and sauerkraut from Maize and Blue Delicatessen.

Make It At Home: Triple Play Reuben

Our sandwich is a hefty mix of corned beef, pastrami, Swiss and Jarslberg. The Jarlsberg adds a creamy, nutty balance to the sharper Swiss.

Get the Recipe: Triple Play Reuben

University of Missouri: Booches Burger

The title burger from Booches Billiard Hall is a nationally renowned two-cheese-topped beef patty served on wax paper sheets with a side of chips (NOT fries).


Image: Yelp

Make It At Home: Booches Burgers

We recommend you make extra burgers when you prepare these at home. They're so good, everyone will be going back for seconds (and maybe even thirds).

Get the Recipe: Booches Burger

University of Montana: Griz Breakfast Burrito

This burrito from Cascade Country Store – loaded with bacon, sausages, eggs, hash browns, cheese and fresh salsa – wards off grizzly hangovers and morning sleepiness.


Image: University of Montana

Make It At Home: Griz Breakfast Burrito

Though these burritos do take some effort to put together on your own, it's worth it when you need a satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast.

Get the Recipe: Griz Breakfast Burrito

UNC Chapel Hill: Chicken and Cheddar Biscuit

Time-Out restaurant is a Tar Heel favorite thanks to this famous sandwich, which layers Tabasco-marinated fried chicken and cheddar slices between two sturdy biscuits.

Make It At Home: Chicken Cheddar Biscuit

We made our biscuit a little flatter so it would be sturdy enough to support this hefty sandwich (and stand up to the grip needed to hold it together).

Get the Recipe: Chicken Cheddar Biscuit

University of Oklahoma: Chili Con Queso

Kick back on the patio at alumni-owned restaurant The Mont, and order plenty of the spicy four-cheese and pork sausage cheese dip for repeated chip dunking.


Image: Yelp

Make It At Home: The Mont's Queso Dip

This straight-forward dip has four different kinds of cheese to round out the flavor. It's the perfect snack to have on hand during tip-off.

Get the Recipe: Chili Con Queso

University of Pittsburgh: Southside Slopes

Fat Head’s serves hall-of-fame headwiches (aka head-sized sandwiches), like this favorite that stuffs kielbasa, pierogi, grilled onions, American cheese and spicy mayo into a massive bun.


Image: Yelp

Make It At Home: Southside Slopes

This sandwich is not for the faint of heart. We recommend waiting  for a serious snack attack or sharing with a friend.

Get the Recipe: Southside Slopes

UT Austin: “Don Juan” El Taco Grande

Everything is bigger both in Texas and at favorite restaurant Juan in a Million, where hot tortilla breakfast tacos are filled with a full pound of potatoes, eggs, bacon and cheese.

Make It At Home: "Don Juan" El Taco Grande

We pared down the ingredients so that our recipe could serve one. (Many people would end up sharind the restaurant's gigantic taco.)

Get the Recipe: "Don Juan" El Taco Grande

UW-Madison: Bo's Express Ice Cream

To support the basketball team, students order extra scoops of this raspberry swirl and dark chocolate vanilla ice cream named after Coach Bo Ryan at Babcock Hall Dairy Store.


Image: Babcock Hall Dairy Store

Make It At Home: Bo's Express Ice Cream

To get swirls of the raspberry syrup instead of pink throughout, we found that adding the syrup to one pint of ice cream first and then incorporating the second pint helped maintain an eye-pleasing swirl against a vanilla background.

Get the Recipe: Bo's Express Ice Cream