Dear new college students,
If there’s anything that I can say for sure about your upcoming year in college, it is that you will absolutely get your fill of pizza and burritos. So, whether it’s for your school’s official Family Weekend or simply an impromptu delivery of a much-needed winter coat, you should make the most of mom and dad’s visit with an A+ meal, courtesy of the ‘rents. Think beyond the box of mac ‘n’ cheese. Save the cheap eats for late night study binges, and embrace the family meal like you never fully could during those last awkward weeks of summer at home. Bust out your best threads and make a reservation at one of these fine establishments. No doubt, you’ll thank me in a few weeks when you’re all hopped up on Pop Tarts and Skittles.
Here are 11 awesome college town restaurants for a family meal to remember.
L’Etoile, Madison, Wisconsin
Local and carefully sourced ingredients take center stage at the much-revered Madison eatery L’Etoile. A pioneer in the sustainable food movement since 1976, Badgers fans can expect to learn where their food came from before discovering how delicious it is. While mom and dad are perusing the wine list, quickly put in your order for the seven-course prix fixe meal. They’ll forgive you by the time you graduate. Find more great restaurants near the University of Wisconsin at Madison here. [Photo by Samantha Egelhoff]
Goosefoot, Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is a food lover’s paradise. And it’s home to some of the nation’s best colleges. Goosefoot, in Lincoln Square, is well within Uber distance of Northwestern and DePaul universities (heck, it’s even worth the trek from the University of Chicago on the south side), and it offers a nine-course menu that changes regularly. What doesn’t seem to change are the stellar reviews. Drinks are BYOB, and Goosefoot recently added an adjacent shop — Goosefoot Food & Wine — from which your parents are welcome to buy a bottle before your reservation. Corkage fees will be waived for wines purchased there. Find more great restaurants near Northwestern University here. [Photo by Anna Knott]
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
College is a fine time to become a vegetarian. But before you do that, students from Butler University or IU Purdue (and, if you’re up for a drive, IU Bloomington) really owe it to themselves to reserve a table at Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis. Here you will find sturdy gauchos well versed in the art of cooking all manner of meat. And they’ll serve it to you with expertise at your table until you fight them back and demand dessert. So, boost your iron levels one last time before you start to think of ways to explain to mom and dad why you won’t be eating turkey at Thanksgiving. Find more great restaurants near Butler University here.
Palme d’Or at The Biltmore Hotel, Miami, Florida
Heck, you’ve already managed to convince your parents that pursuing your degree in Miami is a good idea, so getting them to take you to the Palme d’Or shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Pro tip: Just tell them you want to brush up on your French. Book a table with enough room for your friends and get your folks there before they figure out it’s a Michelin-starred restaurant. Find more great restaurants near the University of Miami here.