If you ran the Krispy Kreme Challenge this morning, you might not be feeling up for dinner anytime soon. (I mean, if you are, kudos. Not everyone can down a dozen donuts, run two and a half miles, and feel fine afterwards.) For everyone else, Mission Valley should be on your list of dinner destinations.
The Student Saver Restaurant Rankings
We already covered the best restaurants on Western Boulevard, so now it’s time to look at the ones in Mission Valley shopping center. If you’re unfamiliar with this side of campus, it’s on the corner of Western Boulevard and Avent Ferry Road, which is where the Mission Valley Cinema is. There are a few hidden gems, but these are our favorites.
The College Bar with the Best Mascot: Sammy’s Tap & Grill
I mean, it has a shuttle bus called “The Wolf Wagon,” so you know it’s a State fan hangout. But if you also happen to cheer for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sammy’s will make you feel right at home.
The Coffee Shop Right Out of a ’90s Sitcom: Cup A Joe
Think Central Perk from Friends. Cup A Joe is the off-campus coffee shop of choice for studying, getting your caffeine fix, and hanging out late at night. (Okay, yes, this isn’t a restaurant per se, but it’s certainly a place you need to visit before you graduate. Cup A Joe does serve food, after all.)
The ’50s Diner That’s Authentic Without Even Trying: Cloos’ Coney Island
Sure, Cloos’ Coney Island has the vintage-style seats, checkered floors, and 1950s memorabilia hanging (or spraypainted) on the walls. But its laid-back vibe and friendly employees really seal the deal in this hole-in-the-wall diner hidden in Mission Valley.
The Mexican Restaurant That’s Good for Any Budget: El Cerro Bar & Grill
There are a surprising number of Tex-Mex places around NC State: Gonza Tacos Y Tequila, Chipotle, La Rancherita, Wicked Taco… El Cerro, though, is the right balance of budget-friendly dining with an awesome food and drink menu. The ACP, fajitas, and chimi cheesecake are popular dishes. (Student discount: 10% off your bill.)
Hands Down the Best Place to Eat If You’re Craving Breakfast at 3 AM: Waffle House
What’s not to love about a breakfast diner that’s open 24/7? The Waffle House near State is tucked away beside Schoolkid Records on the far side of the shopping center, and the decor is excellent. There’s even a jukebox.
Want to Try Even More Restaurants? Get the Guide
Mission Valley has its share of best-kept secrets. You can find everything from Ethiopian cuisine to good ol’ fashioned wings on the same strip, so you’re bound to find your favorite restaurant here. Need a full list of places to eat at Mission Valley? Check it out in the commuter guide.