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College towns are known for having some of the best and most unique restaurants. From classic sandwich shops to popular pizza joints, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in a college town! However, college is an eventful four years of your life. It is a time of many firsts — adventures, discoveries, even failures. In those years, you start to establish yourself in your chosen field.
Many would say that personal growth is key to a successful college life. But that does not preclude you from having fun and experiencing waking up to fuzzy memories! Lucky for you, you will not be left hungry after a long streak of all-nighters or simply after a crazy bender.
College towns are filled with an array of sandwich places and pizza joints to get you through any day or night of the week. Late-night contemplation on Philosophy, Ethics, and Politics are best done with good (often greasy) food!
Whether you are an over-excited freshman or just looking for ways to make your road trip worth it, these classic delis will complete your experience. These pizza and sandwich joints are not only delicious, but they are also icons in college towns in the US. Places that bore witness to the ebb and flow of life on the college campus. Needless to say, these places are a must-try.
We have put together a list of places that carry the most delectable food choices. They survived the changing food climate because they are conveniently located, affordable, and they keep late hours. So, for your cravings and late-night pick-me-up, here is a list of the best college town sandwich shops and pizza joints.
Best College Town Sandwich Shops and Pizza Joints
The World Famous, Athens, GA
Athens is known for its music and food scene and The World Famous is one of the hottest spots in the area. It is a humble and intimate listening room where R.E.M. and the B-52s were born. The bar carries original cocktails, craft beers, choice wines, and various delicacies.
Compliments to Chef Jard Blanton for crafting the first menu and doing an amazing job in creating dishes that are not only filling but also delicious and a constant must-have. He is the man behind the club sandwich that fulfills the Southern dreams.
Taking the ordinary chicken and waffles to the next level by adding bacon, tomato, and Sriracha mayo to make the ultimate chicken and waffles sandwich. After he left, however, Lenny Miller started running the kitchen and introduced the Donair Box, a deconstructed type of Canadian-Greek gyro.
Even after the kitchen was handed to the new chef, the food cart style of The World Famous aptly stayed the same. A reason why the bar loudly resonates with students of the University of Georgia.
Sliver Pizzeria, Berkeley, California
Popular in the Bay Area, Sliver Pizzeria brings 40+ years of experience both in the restaurant and hospitality industry into every single slice of pizza they serve. What was once a dream has evolved into a mission to provide the area with quality food and social awareness. Sliver prides itself on using only fresh ingredients and engaging quality people.
The pizzeria has become a part of the diverse community of Berkeley. It is a vegetarian and vegan pizza shop that – a fresh choice among an array of non-vegetarian options along the block. And they only carry one type of pizza per day, ensuring quality and freshness!
Sliver Pizzeria is a mainstay among UC Berkeley students, and alumni as it does only serve good food, it brings activism into play. Every slice of Sliver pizza is a chance to donate to charities committed to eradicating human trafficking.
Napa Flats Wood-Fired Kitchen, College Station, Texas
Napa Flats Wood-Fired Kitchen originated in College Station, serving delicious pizza and wine on tap. Founded by Tim Kenny with the vision to serve fresh, savory cuisine that is inspired by California flavors. Reviews of the restaurant on Yelp points to the Margherita pizza as their ultimate best.
You can indulge in good food and service as there is a 1727 Texas Ave. S. in College Station, Texas location.
Mother Bear’s Pizza, Bloomington, Indiana
Arguably the best pizza in the Bloomington, Indiana area, Mother Bear’s Pizza is a family-friendly restaurant that also offers carry-out and delivery – a sure hit for Indiana University, Bloomington. The pizzeria looks like a cabin from the outside, which creates a welcoming vibe for anyone who wishes to get a slice or an entire pan of pizza.
People Magazine named Mother Bear’s Pizza as “one of America’s Top 9 Pizzerias” in 1982. Try their deep-dish deluxe pie, students swear that it is the best in Bloomington!
Pinocchio’s Pizza & Subs, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Pinnochio’s Pizza & Subs has been feeding Harvard since 1966. It is the ultimate go-to among students of the Ivy League University, a constant companion for all the late-night studying. They are famous for Sicilian pie, a square, thick-crust pizza. It is always hot, thick, and crispy.
Pinnochio’s placed second in Boston’s Best Pizza Poll. If you ever visit Harvard Square, do not miss the opportunity to get a slice. They are located at 74 Winthrop St. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Crust, Cleveland, Ohio
Famous for their 32-inch pizza pies, Crust in Cleveland has become the place to go to for filling huge portions at student-friendly prices. Crust believes that “Good food takes time and attention” and this is evident in the food they serve. Everyone who comes in the door is sure to get a quality hand-tossed dough that is made from scratch.
What started as a small eatery has evolved to be a part of the food culture in the area. They serve amazing pizza, baked at 550 degrees, and subs that feed university students and the entire community.
Wisemiller’s Deli, Washington, D.C.
Home of the Chicken Madness is a convenient spot for a binge, a drink, or grocery shopping any time of the day. Wisemiller’s Deli is a bodega-style store that is a part of the Georgetown tradition. Their Wisey’s Chicken Madness is the deli’s most popular sandwich choice. Wisemiller has been around since 1983 and has continued to feed and provide students, locals, and tourists with excellent sandwich choices and subs.
Wisemiller’s Deli is located at 1236 36th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Collegetown Bagels, Ithaca, New York
A haven for Cornell University students, Collegetown Bagels serves every kind of bagel you could ever think of. They have breakfast bagels, and bagel sandwiches with chicken, tuna, or PB&J, and they also carry vegan options. It is the main stop for anyone who visits Collegetown and a staple for the residents of the area. Everything is mouthwateringly good, but popular opinion stresses that the Autumn Sky is a must-try. It is a perfect blend of everything – the sharp, tangy, sweet, and smoky.
Their College Avenue location is open to service Cornell University students 24/7. While the Ithaca location at North Aurora Street with is a popular spot for Ithaca College students. There is no question, that Collegetown Bagels is the ultimate bagel choice for college students.
Bagel & Deli Shop, Oxford, Ohio
A favorite attraction in uptown Oxford, the Bagel & Deli has been home to delicious food since 1975. This place needs no introduction or advertisement as it is an established, world-renowned place to get fresh, steamed bagel sandwiches and subs. It is very popular among students at Miami University as it is located half a block from the campus.
B&D carries over 90 creatively named specialty sandwiches. Among the crowd favorites is the Crunch ‘N Munch which is a turkey sandwich with smoked cheddar, honey mustard, drizzled with Parmesan peppercorn ranch dressing and a helping of nacho Doritos.
Bagel & Deli has remained on top of its game for more than 40 years.
Shakespeare’s Pizza, Columbia, Missouri
Shakespeare’s Pizza is a Columbia staple serving since 1973. Although Mizzou freshmen will never experience the iconic Shakespeare, they are lucky to have Shakespeare’s V2.0 which opened in August 2016. After a dreadful year of construction, Shakespeare’s Pizza reopened and started serving the pizza University of Missouri students love and enjoy. Shakespeare’s is popular for its Masterpiece of the Meat Lovers pie.
Shakespeare’s Pizza is at 225 S. Ninth St. in Columbia, Missouri.
Rubino’s Pizza, Columbus, Ohio
Rubino’s Pizza is your typical family-owned Italian pizzeria. They serve ravioli, spaghetti, and of course, pizza! Loyal Rubino’s customers are obsessed with their pepperoni pizza – a constant order. Oddly, the pizzeria has survived the cashless world. They are a cash-only shop that draws attention through their thin-crust pies and casual atmosphere.
You can visit Rubino’s Pizza at 2643 E. Main St. in Columbus, Ohio.
Momma Goldberg’s Deli, Auburn, Alabama
Momma Goldberg’s Deli has been around for over 40 years with its first store opening in 1976 at Magnolia Avenue and Donahue Drive in Auburn. And despite the years, this original location remains open up to today. The Momma’s Love sandwich is the gem of the deli. It features a meaty trifecta – roast beef, ham, and smoked turkey. Embrace and wrap yourself in Momma’s Love with every bite of the sandwich, an Auburn University favorite. This explains why the sandwich alone makes up 45% of the deli’s overall sales.
Momma Goldberg’s Deli can be found in these locations.
Satchel’s Pizza, Gainesville, Florida
If the owner believes that “every pizza is a work of art”, you can be sure that every slice is perfect at Satchel’s Pizza. The pizzeria started serving good food in 2003. With their philosophy in food and service, it has made its way through the heart of University of Florida students. Satchel’s Pizza is their go-to pizza spot as it offers unique dining experience – hippie and chic. You can choose to eat in a van, under a plane, or simply outdoor!
Satchel’s Pizza is a passion project that has cemented its identity in the area. Satchel is at 1800 NE 23 Ave. in Gainesville, Florida.
Wig & Pen East, Iowa City, Iowa
Wig & Pen East is the perfect pizza place for cheese lovers. Famous for their Chicago-style pizzas, the pizzeria and pub is a hit among locals and tourists. The pub is known for its Flying Tomato Pie pizza, a pan-stuffed pizza packed with several types of cheese. It is every cheese lover’s dream!
Wig & Pen East has four locations: Eastside Iowa City, Coralville Strip, Ankeny/Des Moines, and North Liberty.
Hard Knox Pizzeria, Knoxville, Tennessee
Hard Knox Pizzeria is a Knoxville favorite. They are a local, woman-owned, artisan pizzeria committed to preserving the old-world technique of wood-fired pizza. Pizza making as an art that Hard Knox Pizzeria puts in on every pie and slice that comes out of their 750 degrees wood-fired oven. All ingredients are fresh and locally sourced, and everything is made in-house and fresh every day.
Firestone Grill, San Luis Obispo, California
Firestone Grill is aptly located at the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, a sandwich and subs place that everyone is raving about. It promises to serve only the best BBQ in Central California. Firestone Grill is committed to serving their customers the best quality food at the most reasonable price. They are world famous for their Tri-Tip sandwich. If you are passing through San Luis Obispo without getting yourself one, you will regret it!
They have perfected the Tri-Tip since they opened their doors in 1995. Experience history and quality food at their San Luis Obispo location.
Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Ann Arbor, Michigan
A popular place among University of Michigan students, the Zingerman’s Delicatessen is an Ann Arbor staple. The deli is co-founded by UMich alumnus, Ari Weinzeweig, and since it opened in 1982, they have garnered massive success and popularity. Zingerman’s is so famous that even former President Obama visited the place. It is amazing how the corned beef sandwich has turned Zingerman’s to a $60 Million company and now considered “the coolest small company in America.”
Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a traditional Jewish deli that caters to many, serving thousands of made-to-order sandwiches daily. If you ever visit, be sure to get their masterpiece, the Reuben.
Alpha Delta Pizza, New Haven, Connecticut
Alpha Delta Pizza is the home of the Wenzel Pizza and Wenzel sandwich. It is a favorite among Yale University students and a sign of the true Elm City experience. The sandwich is a monstrous combination of many ingredients including chicken, hot sauce, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Arguably, it is best eaten after midnight! It is a crunch time sandwich that students and alumni are obsessed with.Wenzel pizza defines students’ college experience. Alpha Delta Pizza is at 371 Elm St, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.
Georgio’s Gourmet Pizza, East Lansing, Michigan
Serving students of Michigan State University and the local community, Georgio’s Pizza has become a central part of the Grand River area. They use fresh ingredients to create hand-tossed pizza dough, freshly made daily. Their enormous pizza slices, and varied choices of gyros, Georgio’s is the go-to in pizza place since 1995. This widely-known gourmet pizza place started from humble beginnings and Georgio’s simple vision – “choose a college town, make as many types of pizza as possible and sell them by the slice.”
Georgio’s offer over 50 unique and fresh combinations of gourmet pizza at their 3 locations. Visit their East Lansing, Grand River Street Location at 1010 E. Grand River East Lansing, MI.
Pie Pushers, North Carolina State
Pie Pushers is a humble food truck specializing is good pizza. The husband and wife ran business is a popular pizza food truck in Durham. They started when food trucks are not yet widely known, more so, accepted by the community. Obviously, the duo could not be stopped. After their huge success and seven years after, they have opened their pizzeria and restaurant in downtown Durham.
Fans, mostly students of Duke, UNC, and NCS, are quick to appreciate the huge step for the humble food truck owners. Of course, the pizza favorites – Barb’s Margherita, Pace Car, State of Nirvana will still be available. And because of the location change, Pizza Pushers’ kitchen is not equipped to serve fried foods! They are open Monday through Thursday 11 A.M. until 11 P.M. with extended hours until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays. They close on Sundays, but the food truck will be open to serve you.
Pie Pushers is located at 117A West Main Street, North Carolina.
Boulder Baked, Boulder, Colorado
Boulder Baked offers delicious, home-style cooking from sandwiches and desserts. They make baked-to-order cookies, cupcakes, pies, grilled cheese sandwich and many more! It is a comfort food served in the café or to go. The vegan and gluten-free choices add a more inclusive touch. If you have no dietary restrictions, their grilled cheese sandwich is to die for! Undeniably, grilled cheese is one of America’s ultimate comfort food. Enjoy every bit at 1911 Broadway Boulder, CO 80302 or call (303) 444-4999 for inquiries.
Newark Deli and Bagels, Newark, Delaware
A Main Street staple, the Newark Deli and Bagels offers award-winning food and services. With its convenient location, it the breakfast choice of University of Delaware students. It has been awarded the Best of Delaware, Newark Post Awards and included in The News Journal’s Reader’s Choice Awards.
The breakfast bagels is a delicious omelet sandwich made from fresh ingredients, which are locally sourced. You can have breakfast all day, every day as the breakfast menu is available through the day. all you have to do is visit them at 36 E Main St, Newark, DE 19711, USA or call +1 302-266-7150. Newark Deli and Bagels is open daily from 7 AM until 3 PM.
Hogan Brothers, Northfield, Minnesota
A hoagie (a kind of sandwich) place, Hogan Brothers’ has been around since 1991. It is an acoustic café focused on providing not only good food but an enjoyable experience. Each hoagie served in this place features a honey-cracked wheat bread that is baked daily with fresh ingredients. The hoagie is then glazed with a signature special sauce.
The relaxed and welcoming atmosphere in Hogan Brothers’ bring together St. Olaf and Carleton students, and tourists visiting Northfield. It is a beloved sandwich spot that everyone should have the opportunity to experience.
Eat your sandwich in a low-key counter at 415 Division St S, Northfield, MN.
Ajax Diner, Oxford, Mississippi
Ajax Diner is known for its Southern cooking style. Beloved by many, it has gained popularity across the country and has won many awards. One of which is being named as the Best Downhome Soul Food” by Mississippi Magazine for three consecutive years. The infamous diner is often cited by bestselling writer John Grisham. And it is Eli Manning’s favorite restaurant. It is one of the places in Oxford that you have to go to. Since it opened on October 22, 1997, the iconic sandwiches and po-boys have captured the hearts of University of Mississippi students. Ajax Diner is a top eatery in Oxford.
Ajax Diner is located at 18 Courthouse Square, Oxford MS.
Bodo’s Bagels, Charlottesville, Virginia
Bodo’s Bagels is the place where students, tourists, and town folks meet. Everybody goes here because it is simply one does when in Charlottesville. Bodo’s is a Charlottesville institution that is embedded in the town’s culture. Countless University of Virginia students, faculty, and staff come to Bodo’s to eat breakfast. Lucky for the UVA community, there is one Bodo’s in the UVA corner that is conveniently located to specifically cater their bagel needs. Since the corner location opened in 2005, it has become a quick fix for hungry students.
They are at 1609 University Ave. (UVA “Corner”), Charlottesville, VA 22903
Louis’ Lunch, New Haven, Connecticut
Louis’ Lunch is where the American hamburger sandwich was born. It is the spot where Yale students eat, hang out, and have a casual dining experience. Since it first served hamburger between two slices of toasted bread, in lieu of a bun, Louis’ Lunch has become an old-school tradition. A true American classic, they have not changed the way they serve hamburgers. Because of this, the Library of Congress has recognized Louis’s Lunch as the “Birthplace of Hamburger Sandwich.” It is now run by the 4th generation of the family that first started everything.
The family-owned and run business is committed to serving the classic hamburger sandwich one generation at a time. You will always feel at home here.
Louis’ Lunch is located at 261 Crown Street, New Haven, CT.
RU Hungry, New Brunswick, New Jersey
The ultimate grease truck – RU Hungry is a legend that Rutgers University students know and love. As the saying goes, “best food isn’t consumed at the table.” Home to the original fat sandwich RU Hungry serves massive sandwiches, stuffed with juicy meat, cheese, and with choice veggies. In 1997, one Rutgers University student, Darrell Butler, ordered his very own sandwich – chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, fries, lettuce, tomato, and marinara sauce. To honor his delectable stuffing choices, the truck owner named a sandwich after him, the Fat Darrell. That same sandwich is the country’s #1 according to Maxim Magazine.
If you want a sandwich named after, you’ll have to eat five fat sandwiches in 45 minutes or less. Not many complete the challenge and even Adam Richman of “Man v. Food” lost to Food on this challenge.
Find them at The Yard, 95 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick.
Koch’s Deli, Locust St, Philadelphia
“More meat for less bread” is the motto that cemented Koch’s Deli as one of the greats. It is a rare sandwich joint that serves generous sizes of sandwiches and subs. Koch’s Deli was established in 1966, and since then, it has been serving the University community. A Jewish-style Deli and arguably “the best Jewish Deli in that side of Brooklyn.” They are committed to serving the best quality food, so every sandwich that comes out of the door is made-to-order and stuffed with fresh slices of meat.
Koch’s Deli swears to have the best corned beef and pastrami sandwich in town. The best part is that you get free samples while you wait for your order!
Experience hoagie heaven at Koch’s Deli!
They are located at 4309 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA.
Cheese ‘n’ Stuff
If you love cheese and stuff, you will love this place! Cheese ‘n’ Stuff Deli & Catering is a Sam Juha masterpiece. The deli has been a fixture in Berkeley for more than 27 years since it started. Sam, or Uncle Sam to many, built a lasting relationship with his customers that they not only come in to grab a bite but also come to have a great conversation. There is no question as to why he is loved and adored by students. Aside from bringing a fresh selection of meats at great prices, he is a friend.
Students pick a loaded sandwich complete with meat and all the delicious toppings. One of their bestsellers is the Roast beef on Dutch crunch bread. It is a mouthwatering experience that forms part of the Berkeley community tradition. Cheese ‘n’ Stuff has been voted as the Best Deli by The Daily Cal since 1996, an award that stayed because of good food, and amazing friendship.
Find them at 2442 Durant Ave. Berkeley, CA.
This list covers America’s most iconic college town food experiences. So when college nostalgia hits, you know where to go to feel like you are back in college. And if you are still in college, enjoy the food as much as you can; the real world is not as delicious as these pizza slices or sandwiches!
Why Are College Towns So Great?
What qualifies a college town to claim they have the best sandwich and pizza shops in town?
To be considered one of the best sandwich and pizza shops in a college town, the shop should have a good reputation, high customer ratings, a large variety of menu options, fresh ingredients, and a welcoming atmosphere. It should also offer good value for money and have convenient hours for when students need to grab a bite to eat in a hurry.
Ultimately, it depends on the tastes of the locals, but these are some of the criteria a college town should consider in determining which shops have the best sandwiches and pizza.
Should college town eateries offer Internet to area students?
Yes, college town eateries should definitely offer internet access to area students. Providing Wi-Fi is increasingly becoming a standard in the restaurant industry, and it’s beneficial to students who need to use their laptops or devices to study or work on assignments.
It is also a great way to generate more business from college students who prefer to spend their studying and dining hours at the same place.