When you think of “college food,” a few things come to mind: instant ramen noodles, Kraft macaroni and cheese, and too many nights of eating cereal for dinner. With September only a month away, you might already be thinking about back-to-school meals or wondering how often it’s socially acceptable to order Domino’s pizza in a given week. Before you fall victim to the allure of “30 minutes or less,” give these local restaurants a try—they’re serving up gourmet versions of classic college foods for both the starving student and the nutrition-conscious parent. You might even get some inspiration for your own kitchen.
Late-night grilled cheese is always a crowd pleaser, and Village Social in Mount Kisco offers two varieties that will put your Kraft singles to shame. Meat lovers must try the short rib grilled cheese, made with smoky-sweet pulled-beef short ribs nestled between layers of oozing cheddar cheese. Grilled perfectly on sourdough bread and served with a side of thin and crispy fries, this is the ultimate comfort food. For a lighter option, try the Manchego grilled cheese under their small plates—complemented with toasted bee-pollen honey and sea salt.
Village Social Kitchen & Bar
251 Main St
(914) 864-1255; villagesocialkb.com
Satisfy your beer and mac n’ cheese cravings at The Huddle in Sleepy Hollow, the 2015 Best of Westchester winner for Rare Beer Offerings. After making your beer selection, order their famed Huddle Balls: three sizable portions of cheeseburger mac n’ cheese which are formed into spheres, deep-fried, and served over tomato sauce. Yes, you have permission to drool.
92 Beekman Ave
When all else fails, students will resort to the most basic “meals” possible: a PB&J or cereal. You’re better off taking your sweet tooth to sherry b dessert studio in Chappaqua, where you can try a peanut butter and jelly cookie or their new Krispie Treat ice cream. Sherry b’s peanut butter cookies are what dreams are made of: perfectly chewy with the right amount of crumble and a hint of saltiness that pairs wonderfully with their raspberry jam. Just ask for a cookie topped with jelly—either as a cookie sandwich or open-faced—and you’ll be ready to ditch the white bread version for good. As for the ice cream, get ready for creamy vanilla swirled with marshmallow and studded with caramelized Krispie Treats. Enjoy it by the scoop, or sandwich it between one of their many cookie flavors—if you dare.
sherry b dessert studio
65 King St
(914) 238-8300; sherryb.com
Of course, we can’t talk about college food without giving proper attention to ramen noodles, which have been cropping up all over Westchester. With locations in Peekskill and Thornwood, RameNesque has been the crowd favorite, offering traditional shoyu and miso bases plus flavors like kimchi ramen. And with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, RameNesque is the place to go for a quick, flavorful meal that puts instant noodles to shame.
1008 Main St
(914) 930-1788; peekskill.ramenesque.net
14 Marble Ave
(914) 741-5100; thornwood.ramenesque.net