40 of the Best College Breakfast Spots in America
College students proudly wear their school sweatshirts, they cheer for their teams, and tout their campus pride on everything from bumper stickers to coffee mugs. But the most important parts of orienting yourself to a new campus aren’t just the dorms and the classrooms—it’s also figuring out the hang-out spots, particularly for a late night breakfast or a quiet cup of coffee between classes to cram in those extra lessons. In this season of students starting new semesters all over the country, Extra Crispy reached out to students to make a map of some of the most iconic breakfast joints around 40 college campuses. We don’t mean the trendy new town bistro, we’re talking about the greasy spoon that’s been around forever and knows just how to get that hangover cured. As a service to all those new on campus and all those returning (and with thanks to the breakfast-savvy students who weighed in), here are 40 essential college breakfast spots. Eat up!
Hofstra University: Coliseum Deli
The selling point here for students seems to be that Col Del (as it’s lovingly called) delivers. And from our college days we totally understand that delivery is a very big deal. Open for over two decades, Col Del is known for cheap egg sandwiches and extra greasy potatoes. The eatery has expanded since its early days and now has a catering outpost and a restaurant, but Col Del is the original and the Hofstra favorite.
Amherst College: The Lone Wolf
A town mainstay, The Lone Wolf has great grub for omnivores and vegans alike. The pancakes are a crowd pleaser, and with so many types of flapjacks and flavors to choose from it’s no wonder The Lone Wolf packs them in. The joint also offers a lot of Southwest fare, and breakfast burritos abound.
University of Kentucky: Tolly Ho
A 24-hour spot, Tolly Ho is the type of place you can show up to no matter the time of day or night. After a move a few years back, Tolly Ho is no longer a convenient walk from campus, but it still has a seriously loyal student following. Breakfast is served all day and night, and the price is just right for a student budget. Seven dollars for a gigantic omelet? Sign us up.
Middlebury: Rosie’s Diner
Rosie’s has been in business for nearly 40 years, and serving Middlebury students for every single one of those. It's a place that all town residents frequent, but students are a staple. Dishes like the strawberry griddlecakes (with real Vermont maple syrup, natch) and breakfast grill omelet (with bacon and home fries) make it easy to see why.
Oberlin College: Black River Cafe
With not much in this college town, Black River is a must. Students come for the pancakes, eggs, chill vibes, and sustainable fare (this is Oberlin after all). And, obviously, the coffee. So much coffee. Oberlin students swear it’s the very best.
Harvard University: Darwin’s LTD
With so many spots to choose from in Cambridge the consensus here was shaky. But Darwin’s won, at least, this time around. Breakfast until 3 p.m. on weekends makes this a great brunch spot, as do good coffee, delicious baked goods, and tasty sandwiches. Sure it’s crowded on weekends, but the best breakfast spots usually are.
Trinity College: Peter B's
Peter B’s is located in the Raether Library, and is the go-to spot for espressos and pastries. (The pastries come from Hartford’s famous First and Last bakery). Staffed by Trinity students, Peter B’s is somewhat tucked away, but the caffeine they’re serving is absolutely top of the line.
Princeton University: PJ’s Pancake House
This is the spot just off campus on Princeton’s Nassau Street. A legendary breakfast dive, the thing to get at PJ’s is most definitely pancakes. With so many pancake flavors to choose from, the Pancake Sampler — which lets you order three styles — is a pretty good bet. Truly, how can you choose between pecan, oreo and tiramisu pancakes?
George Washington University: GW Deli
An absolute establishment located right on campus, the GW Deli (called the G-Dub Deli) has been serving up food to students since 1945. The haunt is a deli in the traditional sense, with iced coffee to dream about and breakfast sandwiches of every variety. What to order? The steak-egg-cheese on a hoagie. Though really any sandwich combination will do the trick.
University of New Hampshire: Young’s Restaurant
Right on Main Street, Young’s is the default place to go on Sunday mornings and, yes, you will run into everyone from the night before. The food is good, the French toast is exceptionally good, and fresh local food options abound. This is New Hampshire after all.
University of Delaware: Newark Deli and Bagel
NDB, as it’s known, is considered by many to be the most beloved place on campus. Bagels are made on premises and there are cream cheese options aplenty. There is also a huge selection of breakfast sandwiches to choose from. Many a native New Yorker has confirmed the bagels at NDB are the greatest. Not much more we could ask for.
Bowdoin College: Brunswick Diner
The Brunswick Diner first opened its doors in 1946 and it’s been serving up classic breakfast ever since. Housed in a converted railroad car, the lobster rolls are legendary and we recommend hash browns on the side of everything. The diner is also open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays, which is a big deal in this otherwise sleepy Maine town.
University of Iowa: Hamburg Inn No. 2
A quintessential midwestern breakfast, the Hamburg Inn is not just a University of Iowa favorite, it’s also become a stop on the presidential campaign trail. The Burg is known for many dishes — including its all day breakfast special — but what really gets people coming back is the infamous “pie shake.” Which yes, is exactly what it sounds like.
West Virginia University: Tudor’s Biscuit World
Being one of the country’s top party schools makes a good breakfast spot totally necessary. The draw at Tudor’s is the biscuit sandwiches, the most popular of which (The Mary B) is named after one of the original, frequent customers. Tudor’s is now a West Virginia chain, with many of the biscuit sandwiches named for the state’s sports teams — the Golden Eagle, the Mountaineer. There is also a biscuit called The Politician and, yeah, it’s full of bologna.
Georgetown University: BooeyMonger
According to the Georgetown crowd, everyone goes to Booeys. With multiple locations, Booeys is an upperclassman favorite and a total Georgetown staple. Home to a delicious selection of lunch and dinner sandwiches (as well as super cheap pitchers), the breakfast is unbeatable. Add thick fries on the side of anything and you won’t be sorry.
Duke University: Elmo’s Diner
There is almost always a wait, but they bring you coffee while you wait in line to ease that pain. The diner has crayons and kids menus, designed for children but perfect for hungover members of the Greek system. If you go, order huevos rancheros and grits. Together? Why not.
Northwestern University: Sarkis Café
A hangover-cure haven, this greasy spoon keeps the food simple and piled high on the plate. The Loretta sandwich is the Sarkis classic, and you’ll hear no argument from us — French bread with white cheese, mayonnaise, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and your choice of bacon, ham, turkey, and chorizo. Opened in 1965 by Sarkis himself, the café has been making Evanston breakfasts ever since.
University of Virginia: Bodo’s Bagels
A Charlottesville institution, the thing to get at Bodo’s (as the name suggests) is bagels. There are three Bodo’s locations and students frequent all of them, choosing their destination depending upon how eager they are to be seen (or not seen) the morning after.
Cornell University/Ithaca College: Collegetown Bagels
An Ithaca mainstay, CTB has been the go-to bagel spot for over 20 years. Though it serves all walks of Ithaca life, CBT is best known as a destination for the town’s students. Any bagel sandwich you can dream up is possible, and CBT is open until 2 a.m. every night. We couldn’t ask for more.
University of Minnesota: Al’s Breakfast
At just ten feet wide, Al’s is reportedly the narrowest restaurant in all of the Twin Cities. The hole in the wall is an institution though, and with only 14 stools, lines often extend down the block. The thing to order at Al’s is pancakes or the Jelly Omelet, though we’ll let you try that for yourself.
Wesleyan University: WesWings
Though the main menu item is wings, the infamous Breakfast Pail has been curing Middletown hangovers for 25 years. The Breakfast Pail is a true-to-its-word pail layered with hash browns, cheddar, eggs, and a choice of sausage, bacon, or avocado. It's almost worth getting hungover, if only to justify the order.
Loyola University Maryland: Miss Shirley’s Cafe
Miss Shirley’s has been voted the best breakfast in Baltimore and it’s not hard to see why. The food here stays true to its southern roots, and signature dishes include a breakfast extravagance, the coconut cream stuffed French toast. With three locations, and one near campus, Miss Shirley’s is a destination; the type of place you can eat at just as comfortably on a morning after or when mom and dad come to visit.
University of Colorado (Boulder): The Buff
Obama ate here when he came through Boulder, and he ordered the Ole Skillet (red-skinned potatoes topped with jalapenos, chili verde, onions, tomatoes, cheddar, and two eggs with a side of toast). Though that sounds delicious, The Buff’s most famous dish is Saddlebags (pancakes filled with sausage or bacon and topped with an egg). We’re just gonna go out a limb an say that if the president made a pit stop here, it must be good. (Also: $0.99 bloody marys!)
University of Southern California: Jacks N Joe
Jacks N Joe calls itself “a breakfast all day kinda place,” and that it certainly is — it serves nothing else. Though the line generally winds straight out the door, the wait is worth it. If bottomless refills on coffee aren’t enough to lure you in, the locales famed dish (the Fight On) is pancakes featuring bacon in the batter. There aren’t enough yum sounds in the world to do that concoction justice.
University of Alabama: Rama Jama’s
Right across the street from Bryant-Denny Stadium, home of Alabama's beloved football team, Rama Jama’s is filled with Crimson Tide memorabilia just as it has been since it opened 20 years ago. Serving up Southern comfort and American food, burgers and shakes are the go-to and breakfast (served all day) is a great way to start a game day.
Oklahoma State University: Shortcakes Diner
Shortcakes is the 24-hour diner option that OSU needs, and judging by how packed it is, supply is definitely in demand. The diner serves southern comfort food and one of the most popular menu items is the Country Breakfast (2 eggs, hash browns, a choice of ham, bacon or sausage and waffles, pancakes or French toast). While you’re there, you should also probably order the shortcakes.
Washington University in St. Louis: Kayak’s
Across the stress from campus, Kayak’s is a coffee spot, study spot, and eatery. However you look at it, Kayak’s is the Wash U. spot. With a pretty impressive coffee menu the other on-point offerings here are a wide selection of breakfast burritos. Couple that with Chocolate French toast and your day is made.
Kenyon College: R&M Southside Diner
A place to eat hangover food and a place to bring your parents all rolled into one. The diner is in the town over from Kenyon, but with only one restaurant in Kenyon’s town of Gambier (and it doesn’t serve breakfast) this is the place to go.
College of Charleston: Toast
Home to bottomless mimosas and named a must-eat place by the New York Times, Toast is hangover central on weekend mornings. Breakfast is available all day and chicken and biscuits are beyond delicious. Another big crowd pleaser is the Eggs Benedict with crabmeat and fried green tomato.
University of Vermont: Penny Cluse
The thing to get at Penny Cluse is the Bucket O’ Spuds — homefries topped with seasoning, sour cream, and chives. For nearly 20 years they’ve been dishing out breakfast all day, and they’ve even been named the best brunch spot in the state of Vermont. While they’re known for a whole variety of eats, their gingerbread pancakes are another to put on the culinary bucket list.
Williams College: The Chef’s Hat
A country diner in the middle of Williamstown, the Chef’s Hat has all the breakfast classics, along with some pretty infamous homemade hash. The omelets are known for being deliciously overstuffed. This is just the kind of hole in the wall that delights.
SUNY Albany: Gateway Diner
Open 24 hours on weekends, the Gateway is the place to go the night of or the morning after. If you’re a SUNY Albany student you’ll see everyone you know at the Gateway, even those people you are trying to avoid. When it comes to food, think: stacks of pancakes and greasy bacon.
Yale University: The Pantry
Weekends at The Pantry are packed and with good reason: this is a place that sells a cinnamon roll pancake that is less than $3. No wonder people are lining up. The s’mores pancakes are also a decadent favorite as are the California Benedict.
The Ohio State University: Hang Over Easy
The restaurant’s motto is “breakfast cures all” and that is definitely a message that we support. The menu also knows its customers well and proves that with dishes like Struggling to Get Up (two pancakes with butter and syrup) and the Walk of Shame (sausage, bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg on a donut).
Emory College: Rise-n-Dine
Emory’s favorite brunch spot is hands down the Rise-n-Dine. A breakfast only joint Rise-n-Dine closes at 3pm every day, but with larger-than-life Nutella pancakes, bottomless coffee and biscuits and gravy, breakfast is the only meal you will need.
Lehigh University: Blue Sky
S’mores French toast, loaded home fries (with grilled onions, bread crumbs, and hot sauce), Snickerdoodle pancakes, Blue Sky has figured out how to do breakfast and they’re doing it so right. Always packed (it’s a small space) and always delicious, Blue Sky is Lehigh’s go to. And if you’re still stumped on what to order allow us to suggest the banana bourbon French toast.
Bennington College: Blue Benn Diner
Still operating out of an old-school diner car, Blue Benn is a classic. The menu is full of diner food staples, and on a cold Bennington morning, sometimes there’s nothing better then a cup of good old-fashioned joe at Blue Benn.
Towson University: Towson Hot Bagel
Bagel breakfast sandwiches of the absolute yummiest variety, THB (as it’s known to locals) has been voted one of the best breakfasts in Baltimore. You won’t mind the long lines because there are so many bagel and cream cheese options to choose from you’re going to need the wait time to pick your breakfast.
Carthage College: Frank’s Diner
Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, this lunch car diner has been serving breakfast for 80 years. A Frank’s favorite is the Garbage Plate — five eggs, mixed with hash browns, green peppers, onions, and your choice of meats and cheeses.
Purdue University: DT Kirbys
Items on this menu are both legendary and terrifying. Take, for instance, the grilled cheese cheeseburger; a fairly traditional cheeseburger except for the fact that instead of buns the burger is bedded between two grilled cheese sandwiches. A hangover has no business being here. Burgers for breakfast? Don’t mind if we do.