College football fans who watch ESPN know about Todd Blackledge and his “Taste of the Town” segments highlighting local eateries at each game. Now he has a book with the same name. Get out your pocket knife — you’re going to need a new hole in your belt.
The Northeast isn’t known as a hot bed of college football, but it does know food. Take Boston and its umpteen colleges as a prime example. The only BCS school in the city, though, is Boston College, and luckily they know how to cook on the Hill. Comella’s Homemade Italian Foodhas a handful of locations in the state, including one on campus. They offer three dozen — yes, dozen — varieties of goulash, a Hungarian meat stew, in everything from sausage to eggplant.
Penn State has long dominated Northeast recruiting, so it’s no surprise Blackledge, an alum, found a spot in his book for the Nittany Lions. No jokes about their NCAA sanctions, just enjoy The Original Waffle Shopand its unrivaled breakfast, followed by a postgame stop at Berkey Creameryfor some homemade ice cream.
We know all the real football is played in the South. So if you’re ready to make something longer than a day trip, there are plenty of options below the Mason-Dixon Line.
A good first stop is South Carolina, where you can check out superstar Jadeveon Clowney and the Gamecocks and then some true Southern cooking at Yesterdays (www.yesterdayssc.com). Southern cooking means grits and Yesterdays has them. But it also has true charbroiled chicken, as in half a bird, for less than $10. You’re not in the city anymore.
When you’re done seeing quite possibly the best player in college football, why not visit the best team? Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide is No. 1 in the polls and the two-time defending champions. That’s on the field, but they’re pretty good with food, too.
There is no restaurant on this list that’s a shorter walk from the stadium than Rama Jama’s (no website) is from Bryant-Denny Stadium. Since you’ll be in a good mood following another Bama win, visit for the aptly named National Championship burger (Verne Lundquist-approved). No word on whether you get a trophy for eating two back-to-back.
If you’re going to finish a trip to the best football locations in the country, you might as well finish in Florida — which produces the most college football players in the U.S. It also produces really good fish tacos, like the ones at Cabo’s Island Grill and Barnear Florida State. Eat a few — we won’t tell “Famous” Jameis Winston you’re packing on extra pounds.