Philly college students’ go-to grub spot? Chick-Fil-A, apparently

Here’s our analysis of popular food options across Philly’s three major college campuses.

Wikimedia Commons

Updated Aug. 27

Behind us are the days when college students received most of their daily nutrition from microwaved ramen noodles. In 2018, it’s more like greasy chicken sandwiches and caramel macchiatos.

At least that seems to be the case in Philly.

Temple University announced this summer that it will update the basement-level dining options in its newest high-rise residence hall, Morgan South. Oddly enough, some of the new updates will actually be duplicates of chains that already exist on the university’s 115-acre main campus. Incoming are a Starbucks (Temple’s third) and a Chick-Fil-A (the university’s second).

They’ll replace a handful of businesses that had been unique to Temple: Pleasant News, Stella’s Bakery and Creamery and The Night Owl and Wok.

So why the updates? It was “student demand” that inspired the university to replace the old businesses with second iterations of other ones, per Temple spokesperson Benjamin Palestino. And the phenomenon of doubling up chain grub spots on campus isn’t just exclusive to Temple.

We analyzed the retail dining options at the city’s three major universities — Temple, Drexel and Penn — and it turns out each university has at least a couple repeats on or around its campus. Here’s the rundown:


  1. Starbucks: This chain has the most shops at Temple — but not for long. Including the one under construction in Morgan South, there are four Starbucks locations on main campus. But, per Palestino, Temple is set to convert the TECH Center Starbucks into a Java City coffee shop, bringing that number back down to three. Still, the temporary “four” is enough for top billing on the list.
  2. 7-Eleven: Although not technically a food spot, you can imagine how many college students rely on cheese taquitos for one (if not several) meals a week. There are three on or around Temple’s main campus.
  3. Chick-Fil-A: To reiterate, Temple will boast two of these fast food chicken joints come fall semester.

Some other notable chains on or around campus:


  1. Starbucks: Ambiguously located between Penn and Drexel, there are a whopping nine of these coffee shops in University City.

Some other notable chains on or around campus:


  1. Starbucks: Yup, nine shared by Penn and Drexel.
  2. Wawa: With one on 36th and Walnut and another on 38th and Spruce, Penn students have their pick near campus. Eat your hearts out, Temple.

Some other notable chains on or around campus:

What they’ve got in common

  1. Starbucks: There are at least 13 of these among the college campuses in North Philly and University City.
  2. Chick-Fil-A: Between Drexel and Temple, Philly universities will have three of these this semester.

Plus, there are at least two of each of these on Philly campuses:

Thanks for reading another Billy Penn story

Seems you’re the kind of person who really digs in. Want more? Sign up for our free morning newsletter, the easy way to stay on top of Philly news.

Thanks for reading Billy Penn

Like the story above, everything we publish is powered by our members. If you enjoy reading, join today: Just $5/month makes more difference than you’d think.

Thanks for reading! We need you.

Reader donations power our newsroom. If Billy Penn helps you feel more connected to Philly, we’d love to count you as a member. Will you join us?

Lock in your support

Reader support powers our newsroom. A monthly membership helps lock it in.

Can we count on you as a Billy Penn sustainer?

Winning the local journalism game

Thank you: Member support powers our newsroom.

Know someone else who might like our work? Invite them to sign up for our free morning newsletter.