Carthage College – Kenosha, Wisc.
Guy Fieri once took a massive bite out of the famous Garbage Plate at Frank’s Diner;. Peter Tork, of The Monkees, dined there. And the Three Stooges slipped into the Wisconsin hideout too. But when celebrities are not gracing the authentic dining car’s linoleum floors, Carthage College students are scarfing down weekly specials at the Americana-esque lunch counter. Serving up crowd favorites like Gigantic Buttermilk Pancakes and Shepherd’s Pie, Frank’s prides itself on its boasting slogan: "Everything is bigger at Frank’s!" —Virginia Croft
Photo by Fuzzy Gerdes/Flickr
Snooze an AM Eatery
University of Colorado Boulder – Boulder, Colo.
If you go to school in Boulder, don’t short yourself of this delicious experience. Snooze an AM Eatery; is a funky little breakfast for doozy mornings. They don’t take reservations, so try to get an early start the morning. But no worries if you don’t: While you wait for a table, Snooze has board games, corn hole and Jenga to keep you occupied. Oh—and free Guatemalan coffee. Try the Strawberry Fields pancakes—the diner’s best known for their pancake sauce. —Claire Woodcock
Patty’s Burgers and Milkshakes
University of Washington Tacoma – Tacoma, Wash.
For those studying hard in Tacoma, Patty’s Burgers and Milkshakes; is like a home away from home—mostly in that it feels like breakfast with the family on Sunday morning. Cluttered with retro diner decor and pictures of longtime Patty’s customers, this local diner is known for its yummy Nutella and Vanilla Cheesecake shakes. Eating here is like eating at Mom’s while Dad’s grilling—especially when you’re eating a cake burger. OK, so maybe the parents aren’t quite making those—but you haven’t lived until you’ve tried one. —Claire Woodcock
University of Colorado – Denver, Colo.
The slogan for this University of Colorado favorite is "eat more jelly." Which is no surprise, considering the vibrant diner is known for its irresistible jelly donuts. Providing a go-to breakfast spot for students, Jelly; is noticeable from a mile away, with illuminated neon signs drawing you and your appetite in. Open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the café serves the savory and the sweet, both just as tempting. Check out the Corn Flake french toast or five different takes on Eggs Benedict, like the Haco Chili Benedict. —Virginia Croft
Utah State University – Logan, Utah
There’s plenty of room for Logan college students at Angie’s;. But here, you’ve got to go big or go home. The best time to go? After a big exam, for their thick, smoked chicken fried steak, lean fried steak, or Angie’s home-style patty sausage. On weekends you may have to wait for a table, but the staff gets people in-and-out. —Claire Woodcock
Cool Cat Café
California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo, Cal.
Cool Cat Café; in San Luis Obispo, Cal., is the best-dressed burger joint near Cal Poly. It offers every burger imaginable: from the Frisco on grilled sourdough to the Marilyn with ortega chili peppers, to the Bonanza—three patties (!)—to the Jailhouse Rock with sweet maui onions. Plus, the buns are toasted and buttered on a flat top and add some extra crunch to the burger. The biggest perk, though? Despite the diner’s name, dogs are welcome at the table. —Claire Woodcock
Kerbey Lane Cafe
University of Texas – Austin, Texas
Ahh, good ol’ Kerbey Lane;, where the quality of your visit is inversely proportional to the amount of time you actually remember spending there. This is one of the few restaurants where you can stumble in blind drunk at 3 a.m. for a plateful of greasy breakfast foods (and possibly pass out in a bathroom stall), only to walk back eight hours later, bleary-eyed and dehydrated, to meet your parents for Sunday brunch. Kerbey’s is not really a traditional “diner,” as it’s a franchise and its menu skews more toward southwestern fare. But it’s the closest thing within walking distance of UT’s campus. Their lunch and dinner menus change seasonally, but you’re better off playing it safe with a short stack of cinnamon roll pancakes; swirl in some fruit if you’re feeling adventurous. Thankfully, the pancake gods heard our prayers and made them a permanent fixture on the menu last year. —Bryan Rolli
Photo by Steve Santore
Colorado State University – Fort Collins, Colo.
If you go to school in Fort Collins and you’re Instagram game has been a little off lately, then just come to Snooze;. A snazzy breakfast plate from Snooze needs no filter. Try a breakfast pot pie with homemade rosemary sausage gravy in a flaky puff pastry, topped off with an egg sunny sign up. Or you could go with "Caption: Bury me with Caprice Benedict." Don’t forget the coffee emoji. —Claire Woodcock
Bette’s Oceanview Diner
University of California – Berkeley, Cal.
On 4th Street in Berkeley, Cal., is a gem called Bette’s Oceanview Diner;. This diner has been staple of the city’s breakfast and brunch scene for over 30 years. Offering gourmet foods in a diner-style setting, it’s an ideal destination for many Berkeley students. The space is quaint but often busy, so tables and chairs are close. But the dining experience is prime with options like the soufflé pancakes and cranberry orange scones. The diner is owned by husband-and-wife team Bette and Manfred Kroening, who own a farm up north where they grow much of the shop’s produce. —Claire Woodcock
University of Oregon – Eugene, Ore.
Cornbread Café; is perfect comfort food when you want a big, homey meal and aren’t worried about the calorie count. The overall diner vibe is retroactively cute and comfortable, which only makes the food that much more delectable. Cornbread Café even has vegan options for the most socially conscious of eaters. Where else could you expect to get southern fried tofu? Only in Oregon.—Claire Woodcock