By Olivia Krauth–

I did it. After a year of living on campus and another year living three floors above the strip of restaurants, I have tried every food option available at Cardinal Towne. While I’m not sure how it took me so long, I now consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on semi-off campus casual eating establishments. So here is an expert’s ranking of several go-to options for U of L students.

Due to the fact they don’t serve food, I have excluded Class Act and the Cardinal Towne leasing office. However, the leasing office occasionally has walking tacos, but they’re only for residents, so that doesn’t count. Despite not being open, I did include Noodles and Company because I doubt the food changes between different locations of the franchise.

From the worst to the best:

9. Home Run Burgers: Want to know what I never get cravings for? Home Run Burgers. If it wasn’t for my three burger-loving male friends dragging there for dinner one night, I probably would have never tried it. Side note: it always seems to be closed, which doesn’t help its position on this list.

8. Jimmy Johns: I only eat at Jimmy Johns when I want an overpriced sandwich on hard bread (read: never). I’m not mediocre, so my sandwiches shouldn’t be either. Their delivery drivers are also parked in the worst spots, making turning onto Fourth Street unusually difficult.

7. Noodles and Company: This is kind of like the Jimmy Johns of noodles, but slightly less mediocre. I’m not sure why it costs me $10 for a handful of noodles and some sauce. Also, they make “buff bowls” where they basically switch out the noodles for lettuce — also known as a salad. Why don’t they just call it a salad?

6. Comfy Cow: I don’t get the hype. I’m sorry, I don’t. I always get excited for all of the flavors, and then remember they all seem to taste the same to me. It never seems to really taste like ice cream either. Mediocre at best.

5. Quill’s Coffee: The longer I’m Editor-in-Chief, the more coffee I want/need/drink. But here’s the thing: I rarely get it from Quill’s. Mainly because it is super far from my office, but also because I feel constantly judged when I order. It’s like the baristas know I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing there. Also, just like Home Run, it has weird hours and never seems to be open when I actually need coffee.

4. Qdoba: “Ehh,” I said the first time I had Qdoba about two weeks into college. “Ehh,” I said the hundredth time I had Qdoba about five semesters into college. I love guacamole, and I love the ability to get more guac without being charged extra. It’s just getting old, kind of like me.

3. Griff’s: Praline sauce truly carried Griff’s to the top of the list. I’m notorious for forcing a table of frat guys to try it while the Cardinal was doing hometown March Madness coverage there. The wings you actually put the sauce on aren’t too bad either.

2. China Express: I’m a 333 Express regular. The worker knows what I’m getting the moment I walk in, and I’m only minimally embarrassed that I’ve eaten enough cheap Chinese food for this to be possible. But I guess this is what happens when the food is good enough to warrant multiple trips in a week.

1. Mt. Fuji: Listen fam, Mt. Fuji is a restaurant for all cravings. Want shrimp? Sure. Some deep-fried sushi? Sure. A ton of sautéed vegetables because you’re healthy? They have tons of those. Also: Yum Yum sauce. I get the hype.