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NEW: Brown, Roger Williams Named Best Colleges for Food

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The food is both delicious and the philosophy sustainable at Brown University, which made The Daily Meal's Top 30 for Best College Food. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Chensiyuan

Two local colleges are pretty darn tasty, according to The Daily Meal, which has just named Brown and Roger Williams Universities two of the 52 Best Colleges for Food in America.

Conducting "an epic study" that spanned the entire summer, researchers at the popular website examined the dining programs at every four-year college in America — more than 2,000 of them, according to editors. "We looked to several sources — college dining services awards, respected college lists like the Princeton Review, news stories, and our own interviews. Our focus was not only on the actual food, but schools’ dining programs as a whole." After all the numbers were crunched, Roger Williams emerged with a #46 ranking, and Brown came in at #30. The college with the best food in America? Virginia Tech.

#30 Brown

Summarizing some of the culinary pleasures of Brown's dining experience, Daily Meal editors described Sharpe Refectory, or the Ratty as its known by students, as "the dining hub of this Providence campus. Offering buffet-style dining, this spot is home to themed dinners several times a year, and doles out birthday cake on the last Fridays of each month."

The Daily Meal cited such tasty items as raspberry and white chocolate muffins, grilled Caribbean jerk chicken, and vegan roasted vegetable couscous. "Observant Jewish and Muslim students: Brown’s got your back. With plenty of kosher and halal dining options available, adhering to dietary laws is a no-brainer. Veggie lovers are also cared for with an exclusively vegetarian snack bar available in the evenings."

You can bet the students at Roger Williams University are smiling, given their school's spot in the Top 50. Photo: Roger Williams University.

Finally, Brown got a big shout-out for its sustainability: "Reusable containers, farmer partnerships, and student composting are just a few of Brown’s sustainability initiatives. The university also hosts a farmers market Thursdays in the fall that supports local food."

#46 Roger Williams

Daily Meal gave props to the Bristol campus' commitment to using fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from local small farmers and to sustainable practices on the whole. Editors also liked the school’s all-you-care-to-eat dining program that offers "great eats like raisin bread French toast; smoked turkey, yellow tomato, and fontina cheese with red pepper spread paninis; and grilled eye of the round roast with peppercorn demi-glaze. Undergrads: hurry, there’s still time to transfer."

How they named the winners

To rank the schools, Daily Meal trimmed away schools with any Health Code issues or fundamental lack of decent dining. From there, they graded the rest of the group on a variety of criteria. Schools earned up to five points in each of the categories below.

Healthy Food: Meals that are fresh, made from scratch, and cooked in small batches

Events: Themed dinners, picnics, cooking classes — anything to engage undergrads

Local: Programs that support the community with local purchases

Sustainable: Incorporating eco-friendly practices into the dining program

Accessibility and Service: How easy it is for students to connect with dining services, and how well they are taken care of

The X Factor: Something that made our jaws drop

New England's other tasty campuses

Other New England colleges got props from Daily Meal.

#52 Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
#51 University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
#41 Bates College, Lewiston, ME
#40 Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH
#39 Colby College, Waterville, ME
#36 College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME
#23 Boston University, Boston, MA
#21 Yale University, New Haven, CT
#20 MIT, Cambridge, MA
#12 Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
#11 Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT
#7 University of Massaschusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
#6 Tufts University, Medford, MA
#2 Bowdoin College, Brunswick ME

For the entire rankings and details about each college, go here.


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