America’s Best Drunk College Food

It’s that very special time of year when all of America’s college students put aside their textbooks to focus on a more pressing pursuit: who is best at putting a ball through a hoop. But at Endless Simmer we’re more interested in what they’re doing after the game. So instead of spending all week filling out some silly brackets, we decided to rank all 68 NCAA tournament teams by what really is the best part of college: the greasy, cheesy, meaty, ridiculously over-the-top local foods that you would ever only consider eating if you were in college, celebrating a win, and…well, drunk as hell.

68. Virginia Commonwealth University: Senior Bobble

A quesadilla kicked up a good few notches, with ground beef, peppers and crushed tortilla chips inside.

BoDillaz; Richmond, Virginia (Photo: BoDillaz)

67. Kentucky: MegaHo Burger

This triple-decker burger can come complete with gravy, cheese, jalapenos, mushrooms, bacon, tomato, pickle and lettuce — don’t forget the cheese-filled tater tots on the side. Only ranked so low because we have not confirmed that you can eat this and still walk out the door alive.

Tolly-Ho; Lexington, Kentucky (Photo: Tolly-Ho)

66. UC-Santa Barbara: BBQ Sauce Nachos

It’s unclear why so few other establishments have thought to combine juicy chicken or carne asads nachos with sticky BBQ sauce.

Freebirds World Burrito; Isla Vista, California (Photo: Tuan T)

65. North Carolina: Chicken Cheddar Biscuit

Two fluffy biscuits, one crispy wedge of fried chicken, one helluva lot of gooey cheese. Completely acceptable for either a drunk dinner or a drunk breakfast.

Time-Out Restaurant; Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Photo: Henry & Georgia Ounesivixay)

64. University of Alabama-Birmingham: Gus’s Special Dog

How to improve on the basic hot dog? Top it with a mound of ground beef, onions, mustard, sauerkraut and a mysterious “special sauce.” Read more about Gus’s at Marie Let’s Eat.

Gus’s Hot Dogs; Birmingham, Alabama (Photo: Marie Let’s Eat)

63. BYU: Graham Canyon Ice Cream

Ice cream with swirls of graham crackers and chocolate covered toffee bits. About as crazy as Provo, Utah gets. BYU Creamery; Provo, Utah

(Photo: Bring Graham Canyon Back!)

62. Kansas State: Tijuana Trainwreck

Basically every Mexican and Mexican-ish ingredient — tortilla, chicken, salsa, chili, black beans, corn, cheese sour cream, etc… — all cooked together in one bowl, and served, for some reason,with a salad.

CoCo Bolos; Manhattan, Kansas (Photo: Toonces the Driving Cat)

61. Utah State: Aggy’s Bacon Cheese Fries

A-ha! Turns out not all of Utah is as wholesome as BYU. Good job, state.

Aggy’s Sports Grill; Logan, Utah (Photo: Aggy’s)

60. St Peter’s: Lucky 7’s Bacon Cheese Fries

Jersey one-ups Utah by actually submerged whole strips of bacon in the cheez whiz-y stuff.

Lucky 7; Jersey City, New Jersey (Photo: Regina W)

59. Georgetown: Jumbo Slice

The absolute definition of drunk food, D.C.’s 1,300-calorie hot mess of pepperoni, cheese and oil is irresistible after 2 a.m., but has perhaps never been consumed by a sober person.

Pizza Mart / Pizza Bolis / Others ; Washington, D.C. (Photo: C.S.)

58 & 57. Cincinnati / Xavier: Gold Star Chili Cheese Coneys

There are tasty hot dogs hidden somewhere under all that cheese.

Gold Star Chili; Cincinnati, Ohio (Photo: willieabrams)

56. Morehead State: Pizza-Style Philly Cheesesteak

A national chain, we know, but the best drunk grub we could find in Morehead, Kentucky.

Penn Station East Coast Subs (Photo: Jason Collins)

55. Louisville: Spinelli’s Pizza

You know you’re in a college town when it’s 5 a.m. and you can still get a slice of pizza that is larger than a small child.

Spinelli’s; Louisville, Kentucky (Photo: Christina Howard)

54. Florida: The Cuban Gator

For those who always thought Cuban Sandwiches didn’t have enough meat, this one adds shredded beef and pork to the party.

Flaco’s Cuban Bakery; Gainesville, Florida (Photo: Howie L)

53. Wofford: Trash Can Omelette

Bacon, ham, swiss cheese, american cheese, onions, peppers and tomatoes, served 24 hours a day.

Papa’s Breakfast Nook; Spartansburg, South Carolina (Photo: Papa’s)

52. San Diego State: Sigma Pi Burrito

Burrito filled with carne asada, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, French fries, jalapenos, salsa AND an entire cheese quesadilla inside the burrito.

Trujillo’s; San Diego, California (Photo: Scott Robert)

51. Villanova: Campus Corner Gravy Fries

A stand-out option at a campus-side eatery that will deliver anything from nachos and bagels to cigarettes and Red Bull.

Campus Corner; Villanova, Pennsylvania (Photo: Tinya C)

50. Alabama State: Chris’ Famous Hot Dog

Two hot dogs in one bun, slathered with a sloopy secret-recipe sauce that somehow McDonald’s has not bought yet.

Chris’ Famous Hot Dogs; Montgomery, Alabama (Photo: Ochazuke J.)

49. Hampton: Q BBQ Ribs

#16 seed Hampton may not make it far in the tournament, but at least they have these to drown themselves in.

Q Barbecue; Hampton, Virginia; (Photo: Q Barbecue)

48. Old Dominion: Strawberry Willy

The drive-in that invented the ice cream cone is still dreaming up stoner-worthy concoctions like this bowl of strawberries, ice cream and crushed waffle cones.

Doumar’s, Norfolk, Virginia (Photo: Tanya L)

47. St. John’s: D’Angelo’s Italian Sausage

We could spend a whole list debating who has the best sausage in the county of Queens, but it’s hard to beat this classic. Read more about D’Angelo’s at Always Hungry NY.

D’Angelo’s Italian Sausage; Queens, New York (Photo: Always Hungry NY)

46. Akron: Fried Bologna Quarter Pounder

Who needs beef when you’ve got bologna!

Swenson’s Drive In; Akron, Ohio (Photo: Rene G)

45. UConn: The Passing ‘Zone

With UMass (home of the original D.P. Dough) out of the tourney this year, we’re giving the rival UConn branch credit for this amazing invention: a calzone stuffed with breaded chicken fingers, mozzarella, bacon, tomatoes and ranch dressing.

D.P. Dough; Storrs, Connecticut (Photo: Webshots)

44. Purdue: Duane Purvis All-American PB Burger

100% sirloin patty with lettuce, tomato, pickle, Spanish onions, and….wait for it…peanut butter. You heard right.

Triple XXX Family Restaurant; West Lafayette, Indiana (Photo: Brood Witch)

43. Tennessee: Krystal’s Steamer Pack

Tennessee’s answer to White Castle is best when served in oversize box form — 24 to go, “perfect for the whole family!” — or, of course, one very drunk eater.

Krsytals, Knoxville, Tennessee (and elsewhere) (Photo: Burning Karma)

42. Duke: Cosmic Cantina Chimichanga

Like the defending champs themselves, there’s nothing edgy or shocking here; they just get things done, with some dirt cheap Mexican food that happens to be bigger than your head.

Cosmic Cantina; Durham, North Carolina (Photo: Wikimedia)

41. University of Washington: Shultzy’s Sausage Sandwich

A smoky-garlicky Cajun sausage link topped with grilled onions and peppers, and available ’til 2 a.m.

Shultzy’s Sausage; Seattle, Washington (Photo: PatrickO)

40. Ohio State: The Fat Carnie

Buffalo tenders, mozzarella sticks, french fries, bacon bits and ranch dressing, all on a sandwich.

PJs Grill; Columbus, Ohio (Photo: My Fisher Grad Life)

39. Clemson: Skin Thrasher’s

There’s only one option on the menu here: an old-school beef-pork hot dog — chili, cheese, onions and hot sauce strongly encouraged.

Skin Thrasher’s; Pendleton, South Carolina (Photo: Tonya P)

38. Bucknell: Special Supreme Pizza

From the school of thought that toppings should leave barely a peak of actual pizza left in sight.

House of Pizza; Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (Photo: Tony Chang)

37. Missouri: El Rancho Nachos

Apparently the same rule can be applied to the meat-to-chips ratio. The seemingly permanent line of Mizzou students outside El Rancho can attest. More about Missouri’s late-night muncie seen at I Know CoMo.

El Rancho; Columbia, Missouri (Photo: I Know CoMo)

36. Memphis: BBQ Tofu

A meatless Tennessee surprise! If you’re looking for inebriated Memphis students, they can reliably be found chowing done on this savory southern-style soy.

RP Tracks; Memphis, Tennessee (Photo: RP Tracks)

Read the Rest of the List

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  • TheGourmetCoffeeGuy March 18, 2011  

    This is a great post. I had a lot of fun reading and relating the photos with the schools. Some in particular made me laugh as can relate completely… Thank you for sharing. Great photography as usual.

  • Mike_in_DC March 18, 2011  

    Great list. Damn shame it started with Virginia Commonwealth “Institute” which, I’m guessing, is actually Virginia Commonwealth “University”. But the foods are spot on. Especially Durham and Chapel Hill, well-known local’s local spots.

  • BS March 18, 2011  

    @MiDC – right you are. Apologies for the inadvertent dis to VCU.

  • Peggy March 19, 2011  

    Definitely glad to see Louisville represented (even though they made a horrible first round appearance!)… but I’d have to say Papalino’s now reigns supreme over Spinelli’s! =)

  • J Fo March 20, 2011  

    As a former Tolly Ho employee, I assure you the Mega Ho can be devoured–and it’s best with a side of the aforementioned cheddar tots and a strawberry-Thin Mint shake (it’s awesome, I promise.) After running around and managing the beastly post-basketball crowds during the drunk shift (10 pm to 3 am), I felt like I could eat two, and I’m a normal-sized female.

    Check it out if you’re ever in Lexington!

  • Rachel H March 20, 2011  

    Gotta love the Ho.

    What you want to find in Morehead is Root-A-Baker’s. They make the best sugar cookies on the face of the planet. I guess that’s more for munchies than drunk people, since they’re not open late, but dear god, those are GOOD cookies. The saddest thing in life is moving away from Morehead and not getting those cookies on a regular basis.

  • Jibreel Riley March 21, 2011  

    most of this stuff on the list I’ve just happen to have eating in the past on pure happenstance

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  • Sweet Fiend March 21, 2011  

    Seriously, I’m gonna need to carry a defibulator next time I’m in Kentucky for that MegaHo burger!

  • Ryan March 22, 2011  

    I would disagree with your Cincinnati/Xavier pick, I would go with Skyline Chili, not gold star. Skyline is a Cincinnati original

  • Regarding your Dook/UNC choices March 22, 2011  

    Cosmic Cantina in Chapel Hill is soo much better than Dook’s CC.

  • Bob March 22, 2011  

    Skyline coney dogs are way better than Gold Star Chili coney dogs

  • Danny March 23, 2011  

    Gold Star chili, WTF. Skyline all the way. They even sponsor the teams.

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  • Mike March 24, 2011  

    As I am from the Akron area and currently reside in Columbus, OH, I love that Swensons and PJ’s are the respective drunk food selections for those areas. If you find yourself in NE Ohio def get a burger, fry, and shake from Swensons! And if you’re around OSU’s campus (preferably drunk) you def should stop by PJ’s.

    Scroll down to the Fat Subs for a better idea of what you’re dealing with.

  • Bashh March 26, 2011  

    Sauerkraut with Gin and Caraway
    After Thanksgiving, serve the sauerkraut with kielbasa and mashed potatoes –or try it in a Reuben sandwich or as a hot-dog topper.
    Recipe by Molly Wizenberg
    Photograph by Elinor Carucci
    November 2010

    1 2-pound jar sauerkraut, drained
    1 1/2 cups London dry gin (such as Gordon’s, Beefeater, Tanqueray, or Plymouth)
    1 teaspoon caraway seeds
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
    Combine sauerkraut, gin, and caraway seeds in heavy large saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, until gin is reduced by slightly more than half, stirring occasionally (sauerkraut will still be crunchy and gin and caraway flavors will be absorbed), about 30 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Serve warm.
    Hungry for More? If you have a question about this recipe, contact our Test Kitchen at To see more recipes like this one, check out our Thanksgiving Sides

  • s9 March 28, 2011  

    While it is nice to see Coco Bolo’s get attention, it is an insult to that fine dining establishment to be listed on a “Drunk College Food” list as it is not an all-night diner or greasy spoon type of place. Whomever submitted them to this list should be ashamed.

  • Adam March 29, 2011  

    it should be SKYLINE CHILI, not gold star, for Cincinnati’s favorite food

  • bunbun May 4, 2011  

    How could OSU’S hound dogs breakfast pizza not be on there?

    Cmon a a pizza topped with sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, cheddar cheese, onions, tomatoes, crispy hashbrowns and hot sauce. With a garlic butter basted crust….?

  • Bill Richardson January 25, 2012  

    Everyone know in South Bend, you go to Barnaby’s Pizza. For late night drinking, Nick’s Patio. Don’t know where the got their information from. And don’t forget Macri’s Deli!

  • Justin Farber June 2, 2013  


    I intend on recreating several of these drunken delights! Thanks for sharing!

  • Saskia Bent July 29, 2013  

    Wow. This is a great list – how on earth did you collect these from all of these colleges? Must have taken quite some time, props. The Cuban Gator looks particularly tasty.

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