When campus dining options become monotonous, many students prefer to grab a quick meal from the fast food chains that clutter Vestal Parkway. With options ranging from Panera to KFC, it’s easy to stick to the familiar franchises we know and love. Yet for those who can break away from Moe’s for just one Monday, there are many local gems to be found just minutes from campus.
1. Royal Indian Bar and Grill
The place formerly known as Mando’s Books has recently transformed into an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet and bar. Despite its small selection of foods, Royal Indian does not disappoint with its diversity and quality, featuring foreign delicacies such as chicken biryani and goat curry. It’s also the best place to go for a quiet lunch during the week. For just $8.95 on weekdays and $10.95 on weekends, it’s arguably cheaper than Moghul’s Indian Cuisine at University Plaza. If all that doesn’t convince you to go, just try the naan.
2. Sliderz Bar and Grill
Located on 3201 Vestal Parkway East, Sliderz is the perfect bar and grill to go to unwind after a long day because of its relaxed atmosphere. In addition to patio and bar seating, Sliderz offers occasional live music and trivia. All that being said, it’s not the kind of place you go to with just two or three people. One appetizer of chicken nachos is big enough to serve five people. Add in one of the cheap drink specials offered every evening, and you’re set for the night. Except for when they have a free pizza buffet. Then you’re set for life.
3. Man Nam Korean Restaurant
Hidden behind KFC, Denny’s and an impending heart attack, Man Nam has been on Vestal Parkway since 2004. The décor gives this mid-sized restaurant a comfy, home-like vibe that few restaurants have these days. Business is typically slow, but that doesn’t stop the family business from serving authentic Korean food. Come here to try something you’ve probably never heard of before, whether it be Bibambap, a dish whose name translates to “mixed rice”, or kimchi, a traditional cabbage dish. While many of the entrees are expensive for someone on a college budget, the portions, complementary miso soup and appetizers make up for it. You also get a free lollipop with your check, and who doesn’t love free lollipops?
4. The Hibachi Sushi and Supreme Buffet
If you’re looking for a place similar to Buffet Star and love Japanese food, then The Hibachi Sushi and Supreme Buffet in the Town Square Mall is for you. Since the buffet is relatively new, the restaurant has a vibrant ambiance that isn’t too overwhelming. Aesthetics aside, this buffet stands out the most because of its cheap hibachi options. While the rest of their selection is similar to Buffet Star (lo mein, egg drop soup, sushi) their weekday lunch special is only $6.99. And don’t forget to try their garlic bread. No, it’s not Japanese, but you won’t regret it.