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Bye Week Power Rankings: Tech Dining “Experiences”

Come one, come all, to relive the glory years and food-borne illnesses.

West Village at daybreak.
Thomas Watkins/ENR Southeast

Since there’s no football team to look at through a historical lens this week, we’re going to take a trip to another one of this blog’s many passions: the culinary arts. And nowhere else are those arts so refined than on the esteemed campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Nothing gets the staff and readers of this fine establishment more riled up than food and hot takes about Tech. At least this one won’t feature any mention of the veritable pet cemetery scattered around the campus. Oh, wait, there it is. Anyways, without further ado, here’s the power ranking of places to eat on campus at Georgia Tech.

Disclaimer: I am not a trained restaurant connoisseur. I call them like I see them.

Honorable Mentions

Gone Too Soon:

  • Junior’s Grill
  • Haus of Barrels
  • Lab Coffee Shop
  • Student Center Taco Bell
  • Woody’s
  • Domino’s on 10th/Spring

Just Off Campus:

  • Rocky Mountain
  • The Varsity
  • Satto, Amalie’s, Thumb’s Up, Four Rivers, Delia’s
  • Cookout and the Fast Food Strip on Northside
  • Sublime, Lucky Buddah, Tech Taco, Firehouse Subs, Pizza Hut
  • Papa John’s
  • Silver Skillet
  • Basically all of Midtown

20) How the [Foreigner] are they still in business?

  • Chuck’s

Never been there. Don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s been there. I’ve been here three years now. Rarely do I see someone inside of it. It could be really good food! Of course, that would involve actually trying it, first, though, in order to find out.

19) Meh.

  • Student Center Food Court at a non-Twisted Taco, non-Dunkin Donuts Place
  • Whatever the [Foghat] Ferst Place is
  • Rotations
  • West Village under Aramark
  • North Ave
  • Brittain, generally

Say what you will about campus dining, this really is the vast majority of it axed in one fell swoop. And, yes, the Student Center Food Court has its moments - Midnight Breakfast, anyone? - and a North Ave (the dining hall) omelette was a Sunday morning fixture on the way too, erm, North Ave (the Presbyterian church), that doesn’t mean the rest of it was great enough to avoid the scrutiny of this amateur campus culinary critic.

18) Nondescript Campus Coffee Shops

  • Nectar
  • That Coffee Shop in the College of Computing
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Starbucks - Barnes and Noble
  • Starbucks - CULC
  • Top Time: Van Leer
  • Highland Bakery 2: Architecture Boogaloo
  • Highland Bakery 3: Krones/EBB

Yes, I know Nectar and the lil’ Highlands are more than just coffee, but you can’t tell me that any of these are anything special. Sure, Top Time brews their fancy blends of coffee, and as someone who once ate 16 donuts from Dunkin in one sitting* in another life, I’m not really one to hate on what America runs on, either. But, whether its their atmosphere, their quality, or their long lines, there’s nothing terrible remarkable about any of them.

* don’t question the dietary methods of high schoolers, they don’t make sense

17) What Did We Do Wrong to Get Stuck With Only Subway?

  • Subway - Student Center
  • Subway - Tech Square

Subway is the worst sandwich chain. Bar none. Moving on.

16) Bad Pizza, Good Drink Specials

  • Ray’s Pizza

Akshay’s editorial note: The pizza is better than our noted Chicago Pizza elitist gives it credit for, but it’s still not great.

What Akshay said.

15) Breakfast, Burritos, and Burgers

  • Brittain, for real this time

I was trained when I got to Tech that Brittain was good at the three B’s. And, granted, I went there all of a dozen times, and the most recent was back in the spring of 2017, but I’m sure it holds true. Being good at more than one thing gets them their own spot on this list ahead of the rest of the dining halls - just like Woody’s would’ve made it about this far up on the strength of the wok, omelettes, and Christmas dinner - but not much more than that.

14) Worth Spending Geoff Bucks At

  • The Edge
  • West Village under Sodexo
  • Some Tailgating Guy with a grill that doesn’t work

Don’t try to use fake money to buy things. Not that they’ll let you into the Edge. Or that the West Village bacon mac and cheese still exists anymore. Good luck getting any of these on a regular day on the Flats.

13) Nondescript Campus Coffee Shops with A View

  • Starbucks - West Village
  • Freshen’s
  • The New Place at the BioTech Quad

Akshay’s editorial note: Tech missed an incredible opportunity to have a coffee shop on the top floor of new Crosland Tower.

These are like the last set of coffee shops, but, whether it’s enjoying a nice smoothie while random dudes go down the Campus Recreation Center waterslide, or sitting and killing time looking at the skyline at the other ones, at least you get some bang for your buck with the scenery.

12) Blatantly Appealing to Hipsters

  • Coda Food Hall
  • The Canteen
  • Blue Donkey
  • Jamba Juice

If you go here, you’ll probably pay more money than you should, and you’ll likely get less food or drink than you think you deserve. It’s pretty good while it lasts, though, value be [Duran Duran]ed.

11) Nondescript Campus Coffee Shops with Tears of Sophomore** ME 2110 Students

  • Top Time: MRDC

As a sadistic fourth year mechanical engineer, nothing warms my heart like knowing that the ties that bind us together as Tech men and women currently have second years trapped upside down, suspended over a lake of lava, earning the right to complain about how Creative Designs and Design whooped their [Aerosmith]. Like John Saylor Coon intended, probably. That, and a nice piping cup of Top Time’s house blend.

** for their sakes, I hope they’re getting it out of the way sophomore year

10) Worth Spending Dining Dollars At

  • Twisted Taco
  • Auntie Anne’s

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Do not buy the little hot dog things from Auntie Anne’s. You’ll thank me later. Otherwise, both of these are worth expending a little fake real money to get a snap or a Carne Asada Taco Combo and pretending you’re very healthy for not picking Chick-fil-A.

9) Wings from a Parking Garage

  • Wing Zone

How often do you get to buy wings from a parking garage? Never? That’s what I thought. They aren’t that great, of course, but the sketchiness level and ability to get them late at night makes that a little more worth the while.

8) Worth Spending Real, American, non-Geoff Bucks

  • Panda Express
  • Panera
  • Gyro Bros
  • Tin Drum

Basically, if you’d eat it away from Tech, it’s probably worth spending money on. The Gyro Bros combo is the best deal in Tech Square besides the All-Star Special (save for Mondays, but we’ll get to that in a minute). Panera is comfortable, reliable, and, I don’t know if this is just me, but I like a good soup from time to time. And, of course, Panda Express is Panda Express.

7) No Student Has Any Reason to Go Here

  • The Breakfast Buffet at the Georgia Tech Hotel
  • The Club Room at the Georgia Tech Hotel

Perks of having parents out of state - sometimes getting to go to the buffet. Ditto for the club room. Surprisingly good fare for a pretty regular hotel. Moving on.

6) Worth Defending the 404 Over

  • Waffle House
  • Some RV Tailgating Guy with Mad Grill Skills

Both of them do it right, and you know it. Both make you want to run through a brick wall, thanks to the thermodynamic principles of a cherry Coke. Both are perfect pregame fuel. Only one gives out white, gold, and navy chef hats that say gold blooded. But the other will tell you everything you wanted to know and more about Bill Curry and the old nuclear reactor. These are our true people, in Atlanta and beyond.

5) The Real*** Highland Bakery

  • Highland Bakery

Country fried steak eggs benedict. Peanut butter french toast. Etc. etc. You get the idea. Plus they do all the other stuff that the baby Highlands do, but better. It’s the only reasonable spot for breakfast, if you can’t leave campus.

*** Real Tech Highland Bakery, I know there’s a really real one over off campus

4) The Best, But Only If It’s Monday

  • Moe’s

$5.99 burrito deals on Mondays are a storied tradition, their absence from the T-Book be [Dave Matthews Band]ed. It’s not the best chain. That would be Willy’s. It’s not the most popular chain. That would be Chipotle. But Tex-Mex is Tex-Mex, and, around these parts, you take it where you can get it.

3) It Counts, Because Tech Owns the Biltmore

  • Atwood’s

They’re impossible slow and a little pricey, but it’s like they took a look at Ray’s, noted what worked, which was not that much, and made it better on every front. The pizza is good, the appetizers are solid, and the drafts are decent. And, perhaps most importantly, you don’t feel terrible about yourself after eating there, because the food is made from good ingredients. Send it.

2) God’s Chicken

  • Chick-fil-A

The line may be long, and the counter unbearably crowded, but the Student Center Chick-fil-bae is the only reasonable choice for dining in the center of campus. It once shut down for a couple weeks to freshen itself up, and I’m still not sure how I lived through that month. It warms the soul. You can convince yourself, somehow, that what you’re eating isn’t completely terrible for you. And it’s always, always reliable. I can even forgive them on the rare occasion they’re out of Chicak-fil-A sauce. Because we are all human, with imperfections. But the chicken sandwich meal with a sweet tea is about as close to perfection as any flawed man can get.

1) See Atwood’s, But Better

  • Cypress

From the Rumble Seat is exclusively a Cypress Street Pint and Plate blog now.
The house beer is a good beer at a good value. The rest of the regulars are solid. There’s always something new to try. The food is top-notch, for whatever you’re going for - brunch, appetizers, lunch, or dinner. The atmosphere - be it for sports or socializing - is excellent, too. There’s only so many times and ways the various columns, articles, and podcasts of this blog can recommend you go there. Sit outside. Take a leisurely night. Go to Cypress. You should have expected no less here at number one. You’re welcome.

HTS 2015 will return next week with the background of Temple. Enjoy the bye weekend. If you’re anything like me, it’s been a wild month. Get some rest. Eat some food. Enjoy time with your family. Rest is important. Happy Friday.