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Hayleigh Syens is a Drake University student on a mission to become a blogging sensation. Read more from Hayleigh Syens here.

1. Zombie Burger:


zombie burger

photo credit: w4nd3rl0st (InspiredinDesMoines) via photopin cc

If you’re looking for heart-attack-inducing food, look no further than Zombie Burger. They have burgers featuring some incredibly fattening toppings (fried bacon, anyone?), deep-fried hot dogs, and even a burger that has a mac-and-cheese bun. Get one of many different dessert-flavored milkshakes to finish clogging up your arteries. I recommend the Trailer Trash Zombie burger and a Red Velvet Cake shake. Check out the menu here.

2. Fong’s Pizza:


photo credit: A.Davey via photopin cc

It’s a Chinese-themed pizza place aka a college student’s dream restaurant. They have some truly unique pizzas (loaded potato, bacon cheeseburger, Chinese-inspired Fongolian beef) and a cool lunch special that offers $3 slices from 11am-2pm. The $3 slice flavors rotate each day, so it’s a perfect excuse to try something new. Fong’s is known for their Crab Rangoon pizza, so be sure to try that if you can. The whole menu is available on Fong’s website.

3. Scratch Bakery:

This is more of a carryout place than a sit-down place, but the cupcakes are awesome. They have a “flavor calendar” that shows you what cupcake flavors they offer each day and cupcakes are like $2. Try and go when they offer the Blackout cupcake. So. Much. Chocolate. Peruse flavors and see the entire flavor calendar here.

4. Fernando’s Mexican Grill:

Basically like a Chipotle or Qdoba, but within walking distance of the Drake University campus and supposedly cheaper. They’re new, but I keep hearing people on campus talk about the food. I think the only way Drake students would like it more is if it stayed open past nine. The grill has a Facebook page here.

5. Americana:

This is a more upscale place in downtown Des Moines, so campus went nuts when DrakeMag put a coupon for a free chicken dinner on the back cover of their spring issue last year. This is a perfect place to make your parents take you when they visit (they have brunch. Moms love brunch.) so you don’t have to pay for the food yourself. Here‘s the menu.

6. Mars Café:


 photo credit: seafaringwoman via photopin cc

I feel like too much of a poseur if I try and hang out at Mars like so many Drake University students who are hipper than I am do. The coffee is significantly better than whatever weird blend of Sodexo and Starbucks currently available on campus and they sell cool t-shirts. I am also considering starting a fan club for Mars chocolate cake. The entire menu is here.

7. Jimmy John’s

jimmy john's

photo credit: mhaithaca via photopin cc

Being from Maryland, I had never heard of Jimmy John’s until I came to Drake University. It kind of reminds me of Quizno’s (not my favorite) which is why I’ve avoided trying it, but my roommates assure me that the food is way better than Quizno’s and that I’m a weirdo for not eating Jimmy John’s every chance I get. I will admit to taking advantage of the free smells Jimmy John’s offers. Here are the different subs that you can get delivered freaky fast.

8. Paul Revere’s:

This is Drake University’s late-night pizza place. The pizza is decent, but the menu item that will really blow your mind is the breadsticks. I’ve heard them described as life changing. Go late at night on a weekend. You’re almost guaranteed to run into (or make new) friends.

9. Jethro’s:

emmenecker challenge

photo credit: chief_huddleston via photopin cc

A barbeque place that was featured on Man vs. Food. It has the Adam Emmenecker challenge, which is named after a Drake University basketball player. If your stomach isn’t quite big enough for all of the food in the Adam Emmenecker, try the pulled chicken with the white barbeque sauce and the onion rings. Pretty much no matter what you order, you’ll leave wondering how you just ate all of that food. All of the Jethro’s menus are available here.

10. MY PERSONAL FAVORITE The local McDonald’s:


photo credit: Simon Miller via photopin cc

I’m talking about the one that is right across the street from the Drake University campus. It has a 24-hour dining room, double drive-thrus, and the workers will serve you if you walk through the drive-thru. The new mixed breakfast and dinner menu starting at midnight just made this place a million times better. Knowing that I can get my hands on a McDouble whenever I need one makes me feel safe. This McDonald’s is necessary for maintaining one’s sanity on this crazy campus.

Where else do you like to eat?