I love visiting college campuses and I also love to eat so I’m always looking for the best places to eat everywhere I go. Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana is a favorite of mine – not just for the campus but also some of my favorite local restaurants. Growing up in West Lafayette, some of these are also quite nostalgic for me and I love that they are still around so many years later.
- Triple XXX. If you visit Purdue, you must visit Triple XXX. Everyone will tell you to do it and it’s worth it for the kitsch alone. Triple XXX has been in West Lafayette (on the hill but on the level) since 1929 and been serving the area’s best rootbeer since the beginning. Take time to sit on a round stool at the counter that winds around the entire restaurant and soak in the atmosphere while enjoying a frosty mug. Breakfast is great (and served all day long), but my favorite order is a mug of root beer, fries, and a Barney Burger. Triple XXX is well known for some of the more unique burger combinations named after famous locals such as the Duane Purvis (with peanut butter) and the Drew Brees. Guy Fieri has also visited, so if you are a fan, check out episode 44, Knockout Burger Joints. 2 N. Salisbury, West Lafayette, IN; (765) 743-5373
- Parthenon. I think we visited the Parthenon once a month for most of my childhood. Four generations of family members have been using their families Greek recipes to ensure that the food is always delicious. The service is terrific too – it’s obvious from the friendly greeting at the start to the offer to bring the food right out that this is family run and they love what they do. The restaurant did move out of Chauncey Village (near campus) recently, but it’s just a short drive away and well worth the extra time to get there. When at the Parthenon I always order hummus and the feta plate along with some extra grilled, warm pitas. Yum. The souvlaki and gyros are other winners with all food being made in-house and fresh – no additives or preservatives to be found. Love rich Greek coffee? It’s available sweet, semi-sweet or nonsweet. Excuse the picture – my daughter couldn’t wait to dig in! 2060 US Highway 52 W Suite M, West Lafayette, Indiana; (765) 743-6778
- Bruno’s Swiss Inn. Bruno’s has also been around since before I was born and the restaurant is a treat to explore. With walls full of Purdue and local memorabilia, pictures of anyone who is anyone who dined there and a funky swiss inn theme, the atmosphere alone is a kick. The pizza’s pretty good too! When Bruno’s first opened in 1955, pizza was all that was served. Now you’ll find a mix of Swiss, German and Italian recipes along with the original pizza. On a recent trip, we loaded our pizza with spinach, mushrooms and banana peppers. There were so many toppings, we had to eat it with a fork. The breadsticks were fluffy and perfect dipped into garlic butter and Bruno’s “shakie’s” (a special house blend of spices). Add a glass of wine and I am one happy eater. Note that the restaurant doesn’t open until 4, so don’t plan on visiting for lunch. 212 Brown Street West Lafayette Indiana, (765) 743-1668
- Greyhouse Coffee & Supply. Plentiful seating, local art, piping hot coffee, and homemade crepes lend the perfect atmosphere for starting your morning chatting with friends or settling in for a marathon work session. I also eyed the homemade donuts (they were muffin sized!), so maybe next time. What’s super cool about this coffee shop is that they run as a non-profit organization. Their goal is to create community and support worthy organizations locally and globally. Northwestern & State St. West Lafayette, Indiana; (765) 743-5316
- McCord Candies. Technically McCord Candies is across the river in downtown Lafayette, but as that’s only a 5-minute drive, I’m including it in this roundup. Although McCord Candies does serve a small lunch menu and has an original soda fountain, candy is their sweet spot. Cases full of homemade chocolates and rows of fun gummies, hard candy, and other goodies will tempt you to stock up. McCord Candies has been a local favorite since 1912. They are also one of only a few candy shops left in the US that make their candy canes by hand. Even better, in December you can take a $4 tour on the weekends (weather permitting) to learn how to do it AND make your own candy cane. Expect an upcoming post on that fun experience! 536 Main Street, Lafayette, Indiana; (765) 742-4441
Do you have a favorite local restaurant in your hometown? I’d love to hear about it and where to find it in the comments – I tuck that info away for when we are traveling as I’d ALWAYS rather enjoy a local favorite than a boring chain restaurant!