Every fan knows where to go when they want to get something to eat on gameday at their school. Whether it is before, during or after the action, we all have our go to restaurants, but where do you go when you're visiting enemy territory? With the help of suggestions from BTPowerhouse writers, friends and the internet, I've compiled a list of great places to eat around the B1G. 12 restaurants with varying cuisines, atmosphere, and histories that all share one trait, being an essential choice for their B1G fan base. Up first on the list is an obvious choice:
Big 10 Restaurant (Minnesota) - Named for the greatest college conference in the world, the Big 10 has been serving hungry Golden Gophers since 1955. The Big 10 started out serving mostly soup and bread, but since then their menu has expanded to include popular sub sandwiches and award-winning wings. The restaurant also features a full bar and is a great place to catch B1G basketball. Whether you want the full sports bar experience or just a sub to go, make sure you check this place out when you're in Minnesota.
RUHungry (Rutgers) - Home of the "Fat Sandwichs" and named with the university's initials, RUHungry seemed the obvious choice to represent Rutgers. A favorite destination of students and the Travel Channel, this place serves all your favorites on one sandwich. One favorite, the "Fat Darrell", includes chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, french fries and marinara (the "Fat Knight" variant adds cheese steak to the mix for good measure). You can even create your own sandwich for the menu, provided you can eat 5 sandwiches in 45 minutes and beat the restaurant's challenge.
Nick's English Hut (Indiana) - Nick's wins this distinction against some very stiff competition. Bloomington has a handful of great restaurants within spitting distance of the campus, but this is the one Obama chose to visit while campaigning and who am I to argue with the commander in chief. Nick's is probably most famous for their drinking game "sink the biz" and some wonderful fries named after the game and served in the same size bucket. When it comes to eats their menu includes great burgers, pizza and storms. Make sure you buy a bucket and glass so you can play sink the biz at home too.
Short's Burger & Shine (Iowa) - Short's originally opened their doors in 1920, and is currently owned by former Iowa and NFL kicker Nate Kaeding. The restaurant holds true to its Iowa roots, using local black Angus beef in their 20 different burgers. Plus, all 10 of their beer taps are reserved for a selection of Iowa microbrews. Short's has also recently added their own house whiskey, distilled by Cedar Ridge Vineyards exclusively for the restaurant.
9 Irish Brothers (Purdue) - 9 Irish may not be the classic choice, but during my time at Purdue I fell in love with this exceptional pub. Its great place to catch a Purdue basketball game or an international rugby match while enjoying great food and friendly, almost familiar, atmosphere. All your Irish favorites are here, plus some unique creations and a pint of Guinness that was named best in the US in 2008 and 2009. My recommendation? Bert's Whiskey Pepper Steak and a 9 Irish Red Ale (brewed for the restaurant by the People's Brewery from Lafayette).
Zingerman's Delicatessen (Michigan) - Sandwiches are a staple of college student diets, and Zingerman's is where Wolverines get their sandwiches. The Jewish deli was started in 1982, and now is part of a collection of Zingerman's business that includes a bakehouse, a creamery and a candy bar manufactory. The deli is devoted to using high-quality and artisanal ingredients and making sure their customers are pleased with their experience. The deli's menu is very large and includes not only sandwiches, but also breakfast foods, soups, salads and traditional Jewish foods like knish and blintz.
Black Dog Smoke and Ale House (Illinois) - The land of Lincoln is not usually known for it's selection of barbecue or beer, but the folks at the Black Dog certainly are. Located in Urbana, the restaurant features a large menu, full of different barbecue sandwiches, platters, and even burgers. Add to that your choice of 8 sauces and a ton of different beers and sodas and the Black Dog has something for every barbecue lover.
The Old Fashioned (Wisconsin) - The Old Fashioned is newer than its name would suggest (opened in 2005), but with a menu that reads like a love letter to their state, you can bet Wisconsinites would love to keep it around for years to come. With a draft list featuring over 50 beers and a bottle list with over 100 (mostly from around the state), The Old Fashioned is a destination for beer aficionados. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Old Fashioned features extensive menus for every meal of the day featuring everything from mini donuts in the morning to rainbow trout in the evening. Finally, you might try their namesake drink while you're there, I going to go out on a limb and guess they do it pretty well.
Wiener and Still Champion (Northwestern) - Northwestern's campus is only a thirty minute drive away from some of the best restaurants in the world, but where does a student or fan go if they just want stay in Evanston and grab a hot dog or a burger? The Wiener and Still Champion. This place has one of the best names I've ever heard, and some of the best hot dogs in a city known for its hot dogs. The house specialty is the Dippin' Dog, a hand-dipped corn dog that has been featured on Food Network and local news. If you don't fancy a tube steak, their menu also features fresh-ground beef burgers and even a vegetarian falafel burger.
Lazlo's Brewery and Grill (Nebraska) - Lazlo's opened in 1991, and claims to be the first brew pub to open in the state of Nebraska. Their extensive menu is all made-from-scratch and cooked on a custom-made hickory wood grill. Their drink menu is as impressive as the food and along with fresh beer from their own in-house brewery, Empryean, they also feature a long list of intriguing cocktail drink creations. So if you're craving a great steak and a brew in Lincoln, this is your place.
The Blue Danube (Ohio State) - Referred to simply as "The Dube", this restaurant features an eclectic menu. Are you in the mood for Greek food? French wine? Italian food? Burgers? Burritos? The Dube has it all and it is all available until 2:30 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Around since WWII this place has gone through a few changes over the years, but it is still a favorite for Buckeyes. It has previously been featured in a piece by our friends at Land-Grant Holy Land.
Crunchy's Burgers & Beer (Michigan State) - How do you prefer your beer? From the tap in a glass? Sipped from a bottle? In a large bucket? No matter your preference, they have it at Crunchy's, including a 270 ounce bucket to share with your whole table. And of course, nothing goes better with beer than wings, pizza and juicy burgers, all the staples of Crunchy's menu. As the name suggests, this is the place to get a burger and a brew in East Lansing.
The Tavern Restaurant (Penn State) - The Tavern is a fine dining experience mixed with the welcoming feeling of a pub. The decor includes pictures and stories from Pennsylvania and Penn State history. The Tavern specializes in veal and prime rib, but the rest of the menu is impressive as well. Don't forget to check out the Adam's Apple Bar and their extensive wine list while you're at The Tavern.
RJ Bentley's Filling Station (Maryland) - Housed in a building that was actually a gas station in the 1920's, RJ Bentley's was opened in 1978 and has become a favorite in College Park. Started by Maryland graduates, the restaurant has its fair share of Terrapin memorabilia, including a chunk of the court from the 2002 NCAA National Championship. The menu is filled with the usual sports bar fare, including a group of sandwiches named for famous cars. Saturday night game? Come on Sunday before 2 p.m. and enjoy an exclusive brunch menu before you head home.
There you have it, in a completely arbitrary order, a restaurant for every school in our beloved conference. Agree? Disagree? Want to call me names and curse my family because I missed the mark for your alma mater? Please do so in the comments.