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St. Louis among the best college towns for foodies

St. Louis took the No. 16 spot on the list.
Credit: Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
The Gateway Arch is seen as the flooding Mississippi River runs in front of it June 25, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis is among the ’25 best college towns for foodies,’ according to OpenTable.

St. Louis took the No. 16 spot on the list. 

OpenTable's list of is generated from diner reviews collected between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. Restaurants that meet a minimum number of reservations tagged with "foodie" in the review is considered a foodie restaurant. The college towns in this list are the "home towns" of the universities featured in U.S. News and World Report's National University Rankings. These were then sorted in descending order based on their total number of "foodie" restaurants. The top 25 were selected for this year's list.

Below is the list from OpenTable

1.     New York, New York

It’s no secret that the greater New York area is home to some of the world’s best dining – which works out well for attendees of schools like New York University, Columbia, and neighboring Princeton. It’s got a whopping 983 restaurants, such as produce palace Loring Place from veggie-loving chef Dan Kluger, deemed Fit for Foodies (and it’s this close to NYU’s Greenwich Village campus).

2.     Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City boasts top schools like Northwestern, the University of Chicago, and University of Illinois-Champaign, and the city and its ‘burbs have established and hot dining destinations, like chef Dave Park and Jennifer Tran’s imaginative contemporary Korean newbie hit Jeong, among its 362 foodie-friendly restaurants.

3.     Washington, D.C.

 Attendees of Georgetown, Howard University, and The George Washington University have easy access to restaurants serving creative cuisine, like Victor Albisu’s Poca Madre, which specializes in flavor-bomb upscale Mexican and is one of 258 top spots.

4.     Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Students at colleges including University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State-University Park, and Villanova and their in- and out-of-town guests have an array of cutting-edge eateries from which to choose. There’s ingredient-driven Serpico from namesake chef Peter Serpico and James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr, and 222 additional places fitting the bill.

5.     Boston, Massachusetts

The Cradle of Liberty is also the cradle to some of the nation’s greatest dining, like chef-partner Tony Messina’s revered Japanese fusion seafood spot Uni, with 206 restaurants serving avid eaters at Boston College, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts.

6.     Los Angeles, California

Out-of-state students alike may come here a stellar education (and perhaps a bit of sunshine) at UCLA, the University of Southern California, and Pepperdine, but they also know they can enjoy fresh fare across a melting pot of cuisines that delight foodies, such as Nancy Silverton’s Michelin-starred Osteria Mozza, which is one of 181 restaurants on the list, and features a greatest hits menu Angelenos can recite by heart.

7.     Atlanta, Georgia

To fuel up after studying, attendees at Emory, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Georgia can put some south in their mouths at 181 foodie-approved establishments, like The Optimist from popular chef-restaurateur Ford Fry, which serves fresh seafood and a killer lobster roll that is already legendary.

8.     Houston, Texas

Houston students at Rice University, University of Houston, and Houston Baptist University, you don’t have a problem when it comes to discovering terrific eats, thanks to places like Weights and Measures, a casual bar, bakery, and restaurant from chefs Richard Kaplan and Fernando Rios that was one of Houston Chronicle’s 100 best restaurants in 2018 (#18!) that serves American and Italian dishes; Scratch that; perhaps you do: there are an impressive 174 other restaurants designated as fit for foodies from which to choose.

9.     Seattle, Washington

UDub (a.k.a. the University of Washington) and neighboring colleges Seattle University and Seattle Pacific, are all hot higher-education magnets. However, with 174 restaurants deemed fit for foodies, such as executive chef Stuart Lane’s new-ish Spinasse, which has quickly become a house of worship for pasta lovers of all denominations, we like to think students come to this city to satisfy their appetites for crave-able cuisine.

10.  Dallas, Texas

You may think steak when you think Dallas and you wouldn’t be wrong. We’re sure attendees at Southern Methodist, Dallas Baptist University, and the University of Dallas regularly dig into all the meats. But there are spots aplenty (157, to be precise) that serve something different to satisfy hardcore foodies, like Uchi, the ultra-hot contemporary Japanese foodie magnet that showcases chef Tyson Cole’s signature plates plus an inventive menu from chef de cuisine Alex Astranti that changes four times a year.

11.  Austin, Texas

There are 119 restaurants that keep Austin weirdly delicious, including farm-to-table destination Hillside Farmacy (Get it?) that also includes a specialty grocery. The studious crowds at University of Texas-Austin, St. Edward’s University, and Texas State can tuck into amazing eats made for the ‘gram from chef Sonya Coté at this casual converted pharmacy – or pick from one of the other 118 that fit the bill.

12.  New Orleans, Louisiana

File this one under “Obviously.” The Big Easy boasts 118 spots that cater to foodies at Tulane University, University of New Orleans, and Loyola University (and non-students, of course). For instance, the remarkable Compère Lapin from James Beard Award-winning chef Nina Compton serves up fare that effortlessly yet surprisingly melds Caribbean, Creole, French, and Italian fare that let’s the good times roll (even during finals!).

13.  Nashville, Tennessee

Ninety-nine fit for foodies restaurants -- and Henrietta Red is one! With Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, and Welch College in its backyard, Nashville has nearly 100 places to delight diners. Henrietta Red, from Nashville native chef Julia Sullivan and multi-hyphenate business partner Allie Pointdexter, features a wood-fired stove that imbues market-fresh ingredients with homey flavors.

14.  Baltimore, Maryland

Want to know where the brilliant minds at Johns Hopkins, Loyola University, and Mount St. Mary’s go to feed their brains and souls? There are 90 fit for foodies establishments in Charm City. The Food Market, which could (and should!) be called The Foodies Market, offers “fine eating and pleasurable service” from chef Chad Gauss and has earned numerous awards from OpenTable diners.

15.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

With 70 eateries designated, Steel Town is the place to steal away if you or your anticipated visitors to Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh, and Washington and Jefferson College are discerning diners. Chef Eli Wahl is behind the burner at ELEVEN in the city’s Strip District, serving seasonally driven dishes high (think nightly tasting menus) and low (chill bar fare). 

16.  St. Louis, Missouri

Enrollees at Washington University, Webster, and Blackburn College will find 56 reasons to embrace the freshman (and beyond) 15, thanks to restaurants like The Crossing. This Gateway-to-the-West restaurant owned by exec chef Jim Fiala offers French and/or Italian cuisine based on available carefully and locally sourced ingredients – and that is part of the thrill for foodies.

17.  Columbus, Ohio

18.  Cleveland, Ohio

19.  Cambridge, Massachusetts

20.  Pasadena, California

21.  Durham, North Carolina

22.  Providence, Rhode Island

23.  Santa Barbara, California

24.  Berkeley, California

25.  Charlottesville, Virginia

In March, Yelp released a survey that ranked St. Louis as the second-best destination for foodies. 

READ MORE: St. Louis is a top destination for foodies