We used the data for our 2014 Best College’s for Food in America to pin Duke University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Kentucky, and Michigan State up against each other to determine who really wins the College Food Final Four. The rankings were based on nutrition and sustainability, accessibility and service, education and events, and food in the surrounding areas.
Duke University won in a landslide (they actually made our list for 75 best colleges for food), probably because of its on-campus delivery service. Because if you can stay in bed and eat, why wouldn’t you? Duke has over 30 locations on campus serving fare that sounds more suited to a fine dining restaurant than a college dining hall, such as pan-seared diver scallops with a basil pistou, carved-to-order porchetta with salsa verde, and gnocchi and sage au gratin. Don’t feel like leaving your bed? Don’t you worry: there are 17 locations on Duke’s campus that will deliver your meal right to your dorm. Impressed yet? Well, if that hasn’t gotten you, maybe the fact that there are seven (yes, we said seven) food trucks on campus that serve anything from Greek cuisine to tacos to crêpes will win you over. Seriously, whatever you want, wherever you want it, you can get it at Duke.
#2 University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky is known for its farm-to-table restaurant, the Local Taco. The vegan-friendly menu has loads of campus favorites, such as the derby salad and some to-die-for fish tacos. Missy’s Pie is also a longtime favorite among students at the University. Since 1989, the famous pies have contributed to the homegrown culture of Wildcat country.
#3 University of Wisconsin–Madison
Home of the largest producer-only farmer’s market in the country, the University of Wisconsin has fresh produce covered. The Dane County Farmer's Market is UW students’ best bet for fresh produce, flowers, cheeses, and meats. Cooper’s Tavern, a Madison mainstay, continues to be a favorite among beer lovers, with the largest selection of craft beer in the city.
#4 Michigan State University
Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin–Madison made up the losers bracket, with Wisconsin just barely skipping past Michigan. Neither schools have late-night dining options on campus, so there’s that.