Virginia Tech doesn’t have the No. 1 college food in America for just any reason; just about anything and everything you can purchase is a blessing to your belly. Sure, you have your infamous front runners, such as Owens chicken parm or West End steak and mashed potatoes that are praised on campus, but behind the scenes, there are a number of options that need to be given the attention they deserve.
Crepes from Dolci e Caffe (Turner Place)
After six months of passing the crepe station in Turner Place with almost no one in line, I decided to give it a shot when I was starting to get sick of Qdoba every day. Made to order, this European style cafe offers a variety of crepes, savory and sweet, that taste like a little piece of France. My usual crepe consists of eggs, bacon, onions and tomatoes that makes for the perfect lunch. If you are in the mood for something sweet, ice cream, strawberries and nutella wrapped in the thin pancake definitely cures the craving.
Italian soda from Deet’s Place
Open regularly until midnight, I commonly set up fort at Deet’s in its uncomfortable wooden booths to study and do homework. Unlike most, I do not have a liking for coffee, so I was curious to see what other beverages the coffeeshop offered. Shoutout to my orientation leader, Tyler Pugh, who let me in on the secrets of the dozens of flavors of Italian soda available. I set a goal to try every flavor before the end of sophomore year. So far, my favorite is the classic cherry and blackberry.
“The Italian soda is one of my favorites because it’s perfect for a dessert or midday sweet. I feel like I have never seen anybody order it, which is a shame because it is one of my favorite things from Deet’s,” said sophomore general engineering major Ryan Palmer. When browsing the plethora of flavors, I challenge you to close your eyes and see what your finger lands on and give it a shot; you may be surprised.
Chili from Leaf & Ladle (West End Market)
With low expectations, I decided to order chili one night alongside my usual salad because nothing is better than homestyle chili in the wintertime. It is safe to say I was blown away because my cup of chili tasted just like home. Served hearty and warm, it became one of my favorites when it was chilly outside. Here’s a tip –– ask for a side of shredded cheese and add it to the top and let it melt. I am telling you, there is nothing better.
Greek salad from Soup Garden (Turner Place)
I kid you not, I ate this salad every day last year until my dining plan ran out; it was a healthy addiction. It actually took a month or two to approach Soup Garden because it is a bit intimidating; the menu is confusing and the line is always a mile long. Once I sucked it up and stood in line, though, the workers began to have my salad made for me before I even made it to the front due to my continuous visits. Each day, my order would be the Greek salad with garbanzo beans, grilled shrimp and extra Greek dressing. Although this may be weird, make sure you get the English cucumbers as opposed to the normal cucumbers (trust me).
The Fantastic Frank from Frank’s Deli (Owens Food Court)
Marinated grilled chicken breast, pesto mayonnaise, spring mix, red peppers and provolone cheese within an upside down focaccia bun is a combination like no other. Apart from the deli itself, there is a designated line for this sandwich. Since I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise, I was hesitant to try it, but once I had a bite of my friend’s, I was hooked. Although extremely messy, each bite brings together the strong flavors that leave your mouth watering. Served alongside housemade chips and a pickle, this was one of my favorite treats and definitely the best food from Owens.
What are you waiting for? If you haven’t already, make your way to one of these dining halls and try one or all of my recommendations. Being an extreme foodie, I promise I have not steered you in the wrong direction. Set aside the Qdoba and Chick-fil-a and step outside the box by trying these overlooked foods; you won’t be disappointed.