Kent food: Oh, the places you’ll eat

David Williams

Food plays an integral role in the life of a college student. It’s what enables us to go to class, crush our exams and make that 1:00 a.m. trek across campus for a milkshake from Rosie’s.

Sometimes campus food is just not the move, but luckily Kent has no shortage of restaurants. Some of these places are still pretty new to Kent, some are decades-old staples and some are just too good to pass up. 

This is your guide to Kent’s food scene for this upcoming fall.

What’s New?

Opening in May 2019, Kent’s newest breakfast spot is Over Easy. The cafe offers gourmet spins on classic breakfast dishes like eggs benedict or chicken and waffles, according to the website. Shannon Zemba opened Over Easy with a quick turnaround in the same location where Rise and Shine Cafe closed last May. After just a week or so, Over Easy was open for business. Zemba previously worked at Bistro on Main and was the general manager of One Red Door in Hudson, Ohio. She co-owns Over Easy with Chef Chuck Crawford, who also worked at Bistro on Main and Franklin Hotel Bar. 

Last summer, Kent’s newest restaurant was Barrio — and it’s still quite a hit downtown. The tacos, tequila and whiskey chain, based in Northeast Ohio revealed in April 2019 they would be filling the space left by Newdle Bar, which closed in early December 2018.

What’s Good?

Is it Wednesday yet? If so, you may want to take advantage of EuroGyro’s Wacky Wednesday deal. Pick up a large one-topping pizza for $5.50. EuroGyro’s pizza is warm, stretchy and “[has] fueled all-nighters and cured hangovers,” said junior criminal justice major Dylan Callaghan. 

However, Callaghan said Euro’s chicken and jojo’s really knock it out of the park. You could also swing by on Friday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. for power hour, where Euro serves domestic draft beers for a dollar and shots for two. 

Speaking of booze, there is certainly no shortage of bars in Kent. Many just serve mixed nuts or pretzels, but some have started to expand their food options, and Water Street Tavern is one of those places. Water Street Tavern has serves chicken fingers, waffle fries and donuts. Taco Tonto’s opened a take-out window on the wall they share with Zephyr Pub to serve bar patrons. While offering several vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options like the El Biggo Nachos Tray. Tontos also puts an American spin on classic Mexican Cuisine, like the Pizzarito or the Bacon Cheeseburgerito. 

As far as pizza goes, a true Kent icon is Lucci’s Place. Authentic New York-style pizza at an unbeatable price of just $6 for a 10-inch, Lucci’s Place has been serving the Kent community since 2015 but it looks and tastes just like a New York Pizza shop.

“You seriously can’t beat it,” said Shaun Anderson, a senior architecture major. “Crispy crust, stretchy cheese and nice fresh toppings. I really think it’s the best in Kent.”

What is Kent?

There are plenty of restaurants which help make Kent what it is. One undeniable, age-old staple is Ray’s Place. Established in 1937, Ray’s is the place to go if you want classic American food. Ribs, burgers and the “Infamous MOFO”, a heaping double cheeseburger with mayo, relish, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mushrooms and of course bacon. Iron Chef Michael Symon called the burger the best thing he ever ate.

Ray’s has become something of an enigma in Kent. When you eat at Ray’s, it’s the same place people generations before you have eaten — or drank. Ray’s Place has won nine awards from various Northeast Ohio publications for their beer selection: a whopping 64 taps across two floors.

When discussing food, one cannot forget the enigma that is Mike’s Place. Ray’s might be where you go for classic American food, but Mike’s is where you go for everything else. Mike Kostensky opened the place in the summer of 1987 with his wife Deb Kostensky, with the hope of supporting their family with jobs at the new restaurant. On the restaurant website, Mike recounts his kids following him one-by-one into the kitchen like little ducklings. Eventually Mike’s Place was transformed into a local landmark in Kent. It’s the only restaurant in the city with an X-Wing starfighter parked out front. Mike’s food is always flavorful and filling. As Mike himself will tell you, If you left with room in your belly, somebody’s not doing their job right.

Mike’s has long held a position in the Kent Stater’s “Best of Kent” series and has won several awards for their BBQ and breakfast. Mike’s is known by and large for their massive menu and obscure options. You could pick up the Son of Chuckie, which has peanut butter, chocolate chips, kettle chips and onion rings grilled on texas toast, or the hot apple pie grilled cheese. 

These spots are just a handful of the dozens of restaurants Kent has to offer to students, faculty and community members alike. Most of these restaurants are close enough to walk or ride a bus from campus. From Sunday brunch at Burnside to the outrageous options at Mike’s Place, these restaurants show that Kent has something unique to offer at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

David Williams is a senior reporter. Contact him at [email protected]