Towson’s Best 2014
As Towson continues to grow (as a university and a city), the number of options for students continues to grow.
There are always new restaurants, bars, locales on campus and places to spend a Friday night with your friends.
So, The Towerlight asked our readers to sort through all of the options and find out what stands out in Towson.
All results were voted on by readers, and the winners of each category received the most votes in its category.
Best Male Athlete
Former running back Terrance West broke all kinds of school and Football Championship Subdivison records en route to Towson’s National Championship berth. He finished the past season with 2,509 rushing yards and 41 rushing touchdowns, both FCS records.
West finished his career at Towson with 4,849 career rushing yards and 86 touchdowns, both school records. He came up two touchdowns short of Brian Westbrook’s all-purpose FCS record.
He will now turn his attention to the 2014 NFL Draft, where he will look to be chosen by an NFL team and begin his career. CBS Sports puts West 122nd among all prospects, projecting him to go sometime in the third or fourth round.
There seems to be a different feeling when Towson plays Delaware. Whether it’s in football, baseball, basketball or field hockey, there is some type animosity between the fans, and sometimes players from each school.
What began as a bitter interstate matchup in baseball and lacrosse quickly got stronger when Towson joined the Atlantic-10 in 2004. Since then, the two schools have faced off in numerous tightly contested games.
The feeling may not be mutual in Newark, Del., where some fans look down on Towson. However, with the successes of Towson sports in the last few years, that could be changing.
Best Men’s Sport
Towson burst onto the national football scene after its 2013-2014 season, which saw the team advancing to the FCS Championship Game on Jan. 4. However, it would fall to the three-time defending championship North Dakota State Bison, 35-7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Tx.
The Tigers advanced to the FCS Playoffs for the second time in early December and took down Fordham at home after a first round bye. The next two games were played in Illinois and Washington respectively, where the Tigers braved the snow to come away with tight victories, all leading to the national title game.
With Head Coach Rob Ambrose extended through 2020, look for Towson to make a run at this title for years to come.
Best Coffee: Starbucks on York Rd.
Starbucks is everyone’s favorite – that too expensive but too delicious to turn down place in Towson to grab coffee on the go. It is easy to find something that you will enjoy at this coffee shop since every drink can be modified to fit your personal needs and specifications.
Whether you need soy milk or skim, no whip or extra foam, or even want your coffee heated to a specific temperature, the Starbucks baristas can do it for you.
The conveniently located store on York Road is walking distance from campus and even features a drive-thru for those days where the heat in your car is preferable to the cold wind outdoors. You might even spot a friend from class working behind the bar or in one of the many squishy armchairs inside the shop.
Best location for a first date: P.F. Chang’s
P.F. Chang’s, located just a few miles or a short bus ride from campus, is the perfect place for a first date. Fancier than casually stopping by Panera, but not as intimidating or expensive as Stoney River, it provides the perfect setting for getting to know someone.
The food is always delicious and never disappoints. Every waiter or waitress there is friendly, a definite bonus just in case the conversation starts to get a little dry. Be sure to try the lettuce wraps!
Best Residence Hall: The Glen Towers
Almost every Towson student will tell you that their residence hall was the best but this year
The Glen Towers were voted No. 1. Located near the University Union, Towson’s center of student-based activities, it’s easy to be a part of campus life, from bake sales to special events, like concerts in Paws.
It is also very close to many campus dining options, like the Glen Dining Hall, Paws, Susquehanna and Patuxent, all popular locations to grab a bite to eat either between class or with friends. The layout of the dorms in the Towers is also ideal. It allows for not only a roommate but suitemates as well, and the floors themselves are perfect for socialization.
Everyone gets to know one another fairly quickly, providing residents with a great way to meet people and make friends.
Best “I Only Need one more Credit to Graduate” Class: Yoga
If it’s your last semester and you only need one more credit before you can grab your diploma and run off the stage into the “real world” what is the best class to take? How about yoga? This may be one of the few classes Towson offers that promotes personal growth over job performance.
Listed as DANC 370 – Special Topics in Dance, not only is yoga a great workout for your body, but your mind and spirit as well. Also you might just get to take a brief meditation nap in the middle of your day. Besides, you are going to need to stretch out those muscles and find some inner peace before you leap into the job market.
Best Breakfast: Towson Hot Bagels
Towson Hot Bagels isn’t only good for curing hangovers – its food makes a delicious breakfast any day.
Not only are the bagels made fresh (a real treat after months of Einstein’s), but the small restaurant also offer a variety of breakfast sandwiches, complete with all the meat options you could ask for.
There are also healthy options, like egg white sandwiches and the Nutri bagel, as well as omelets and even Pizza Bagels.
With a location in the heart of downtown Towson, Towson Hot Bagels is the perfect place to grab breakfast before heading to campus for those grueling 11 a.m.s or to take a visiting parent for a taste of Towson.
Best Alum: Amy Schumer
As far as Towson’s best goes, it can’t get much better than Amy Schumer.
Last year, The Baltimore Sun called Schumer the buzz of the comedy world – she wrote and starred in Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer,” landed a role in the HBO hit “Girls,” and announced a 2014 country-wide stand-up tour.
The “Inside Amy Schumer’s Back Door Tour” will even make a stop here at Towson, where Schumer graduated from the theater department in 2003. And based on her previous stand-up material, you’ll get the chance to see her talk about everything from sex to…well mostly sex. Pick up tickets at on TUBOXOFFICE.com or at the Center for the Arts Box Office starting Feb. 4.
Best Concert Venue: The Recher Theatre (R.I.P.)
If Towson students had to write a letter to the Recher Theatre, the concert venue that resided just off the circle on York Road until its closure last spring, it would probably go something like this:
We will always remember that you were the only concert venue in Towson.
Rest in peace,
In all honesty, the Recher boasted great hometown shows, brought major bands to town, and was the only concert venue in Towson.
But if you’re actually planning on writing a letter to the ol’ movie-theater-turned-venue, just don’t tell it a nightclub took its place.
Best grocery store: Wegmans
If you prefer your grocery stores on the gourmet side or are just looking for that right variety of cheese, it’s just a 14-minute drive up York Road to the Hunt Valley Wegmans, where you will find every variety of cheese you could possibly desire.
You’ll also find an eat-in Market Café, where you can fill your plate with meals ranging from Asian options to pizza, and pay by the pound.
If you’re heading up to Hunt Valley to prepare for a nice date-night-in, cook for all of your friends, or you just really love cheese, make a day out of it and grab lunch there too. After all, what makes Wegmans really stand out is that it never forces you to grocery shop hungry.
Best dessert: The Cheesecake Factory
While it’s not the cheapest date, The Cheesecake Factory sure knows how to make a great dessert.
Yeah, there are different dessert options on the menu, but we all know what we’re here for. The cheesecake. And there’s a lot of it.
With over 35 types of cheesecake to choose from, everyone is sure to find a flavor that suits their taste, as long as you’re willing to spend almost $8 per slice.
Full from the huge portions of the main course? No worries, each slice can be ordered to go to be enjoyed either later in the night or the next day.
Cheesecake’s selections vary by the season (with the pumpkin cheesecake being a favorite in the fall months) and they are always introducing new flavors.
Some classic favorites include the Snickers Bar Chunks and Cheesecake, the Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake and Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Cheesecake.
Best burger: Gino’s
Sure, Gino’s food is impressive. But students always love a good discount, and on Tuesday nights Gino’s comes up big.
The LaSalle Road burger joint gives students 50 percent off on Tuesdays with a student ID, allowing students to get a full meal for around $7.
There’s even the aptly named Towson Burger, topped with pepper jack cheese, Gino’s boomin’ sauce, lettuce, jalapeno peppers, two onions rings and pickles.
Or Gino’s specialty Giant burger, which is two beef patties topped with American cheese, the specialty Giant sauce, lettuce and pickles.
On the discount nights, it would be tough to pass up one of Gino’s famous shakes, of which there are over 70 flavors to choose from, ranging from the standard vanilla and peppermint to the out-of-the-box cinnamon bun and nerds flavors.
Best wings: Bill Bateman’s
What’s better than being able to get the best wings in Towson right on campus?
Bateman’s is located directly below the 7800 York Road building and has an all-you-can-eat wing night on Monday nights for just $10.
The service is fast and easy, with a new round of wings coming to your table every time you finish the next group of five wings with a dry rub or sauce of your choosing.
Flavors range from the traditional buffalo or BBQ wings, to the jerk wings or wings flavored with everyone’s favorite Old Bay.
The true topper on a wing night at Bateman’s are the atomic wings, which pack enough punch to make even the most tolerant of eaters shed a tear or two.
Best pizza: Season’s
Season’s is located close enough to campus to make it accessible to students living in residence halls, but delivery is still an option for off-campus residents for Towson’s best pizza
Across the street from the Starbucks on York Road, Season’s is a chain in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and has anything you could want from a pizza place.
Traditional hand-tossed pizza, pasta, calzones, stromboli and salads are just a few of the options that students can order for delivery or pickup.
Ordering can be done completely online, and for those over 21, Season’s does have a selection of beer and wine, making it a go-to option for the upcoming Super Bowl Sunday.
Best ice cream: Uncle Wiggly’s
The unsung hero of subs and ice cream in Towson, Uncle Wiggly’s is just down York Road and is well worth the walk for any on-campus students who don’t have their cars.
There is never a shortage of options at Uncle Wiggly’s which features over a dozen flavors of ice cream, and that’s before looking at its wide variety of toppings and cones.
Order a cone, cup, sundae, shake or malt with one of your favorite flavors. Hungry for lunch? Order one of Uncle Wiggly’s sandwiches before the dessert course.
Best liquor store: Total Wine and More
Not very many students will see Total Wine and More (formerly Beltway Liquors) on a daily basis, but taking the trip down Loch Raven Boulevard toward 695 is well worth it for those over 21 who are looking to pick up some libations.
Total Wine is quite literally a warehouse full of liquor options, with a huge assortment of wine, beer, liquor and other alcoholic drinks.
The quintessential 30-packs for college students are certainly present, but for those who can’t decide on just one kind of beer, there is the option to make your own six-pack, selecting individual beers off of the shelf, which are priced individually.
Total Wine also has a huge selection of beer, from small and local breweries to foreign beers that are higher in price but offer something new for beer connoisseurs.
There’s even the option to place your order online and pick it up in store the next day for those on a tight schedule.
All in all, Total Wine and More really does have more than anyone else.
Best professor: Andrew Reiner
Despite only being accessible to Honors College students, professor Andrew Reiner still takes the crown in this category for the second time in three years.
Reiner teaches honors English classes that go into far more depth with themes than most classes will.
He has taught such classes as “Leading a Life that Matters,” “Intimacy in the Age of Facebook,” and this semester is starting a new class called “Mr. Rogers 101,” which will focus on the change American neighborhoods are going through, and why being in touch with our neighbors is just as important now as it was 30 years ago.
Don’t expect to be taking traditional multiple-choice tests in Reiner’s class. He usually gives either essay tests or take-home assignments that have students perform “experiments” on themselves or others that build on discussions held in class.
Best on-campus dining location: Patuxent
Patuxent certainly isn’t the most accessible dining hall on campus, closing at 2 p.m. during the week and closing completely on the weekends, but it does offer some of the best options.
P-Tux is the only dining hall on campus to have a burrito station, and students have the option of building their own salads, pasta or sandwiches.
Daily meal deals allow students to eat for less while getting a panini and chips, or a chicken quesadilla with unlimited toppings.
The lines might be long during the lunch rush, but making it through a 15-minute wait is well worth the service and food that students can find in this dining hall.
Best Bar: CVPs
Charles Village Pub and Patio, which is a restaurant by day and popular bar by night, was reopened in early 2012 after a fire in January 2011.
Located on Pennsylvania Avenue in uptown Towson, it is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. CVPs is most known for its ladies night on Thursdays where girls can buy $8 refillable cups.
There is a rooftop deck with full service tiki bar, indoor bar with DJ booth and an outdoor patio that is heated during the winter and shaded in the summer.
Best Drink Special: Twofer Tuesday and Saturday at Rec Room
Rec Room, which is next door to the new Torrent nightclub, previously Recher Theatre, boasts the best deal for a night out. On Tuesdays and Saturdays Rec Room offers two drinks for the price of one.
The Twofer Tuesdays special includes rail drinks and beer and starts at 8 p.m. and runs to close.
So when looking to go out and drink on the cheap, twofer Tuesdays at Rec Room is the best choice.
Best under 21 fun: Duckpin bowling
Stoneleigh Lanes on York Road is the perfect place for underage students looking for something to do.
Duckpin bowling uses shorter, larger pins than those used in regular bowling and each player is allowed three turns per frame.
Another advantage of Stoneleigh Lanes is you can bring your own beer, which allows people who aren’t 21 yet to enjoy bowling with those that are over the age and choose to drink.
On Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to close they host College ID night where students can have unlimited bowling for $5 a person and on Friday nights the alley hosts karaoke for $15 a person.
Best Student Group: Students Helping Honduras
Students Helping Honduras (SHH) is a non-profit organization with the mission to end poverty through education. The organization’s goal is to build 1,000 schools in Honduras, one of the most dangerous countries in the world, by the year 2020. There are nearly 100 university and high school chapters of SHH.
SHH raises money for various projects through fundraising and also embarks on an annual service trip to Honduras through the organization to help build these schools. Towson University’s chapter raised over $40,000 in spring 2013 to open a girls’ home in one of the organization’s village’s. This contribution almost entirely funded the home.
Over the past two years, Towson SHH has been named chapter of the year and has raised over $158,000 to fund a children’s home and bilingual school. Some fundraisers from the past year were the HonduRock concert and Wrapped in Wreaths, a wreath decorating competition.
Best off-campus living: University Village
The University Village is student housing located about a mile from campus. Some of the amenities that University Village has are furnished apartments, individual leases, shuttle route, card-controlled access, 24-hour fitness center, free tanning, coffee bar, laundry facilities, a pool and bike storage.
Floor plans options include four bedrooms with two bathrooms, two bedrooms with one bathroom and one bedroom with one bathroom. Prices range from $860 a month to $1,100 a month.
Best local beer: Natty Boh
National Bohemian beer is a medium-bodied pilsner that has become well known in Baltimore for its one-eyed mascot Mr. Boh. It was first brewed in Baltimore in 1885 and to this day can be found in almost every Baltimore-area bar.
Best Sushi: Kyodai rotating sushi bar
Kyodai Rotating Sushi Bar has a wide variety of sushi in its uptown Towson location on Pennsylvania Avenue.
In the restaurant there is a square bar with a revolving belt that encloses a sushi chef. On the revolving belt are plates of varying sizes, which determine the price, with sushi rolls on them. There are seats all around the belt facing the revolving belt.
If the sushi roll of choice isn’t already on the belt, then you can ask the sushi chef who will then make it for you.
Best class: History 389 Roots of Rock and Roll
The Roots of Rock and Roll class goes through the evolution of Rock and Roll starting with Tin Pan Alley, New York City music publishers and songwriters from the late 19th and early 20th century, to youth movements of the 1960s.
This class, found in the course catalog as HIST 389, explores the social, economic and cultural origins of rock and roll as it became popular music in the United States. You must have the prerequisite of HIST 146, HIST 148 or consent from the instructor.
Best Administrator: Teri Hall and Dirron Allen tie
The best administrator was a tie between Associate Vice President of Campus Life Teri Hall and Director of Student Activities Dirron Allen.
Hall is always seen smiling around campus and at student events. An avid supporter of the student body, her door is always open to chat. Hall is well known among student leaders and helps with events such as LeaderShape.
Allen, a notorious Darth Vader fan, is always energetic and has a contagious smile. He loves his job and it shows. Outside of the Student Activities office, he likes to listen to music including, Jay-Z, the Lumineers and Maxwell or play NCAA Football on his PlayStation3.
Best Distraction From Studying: Tumblr
Whether you’re taking a break from writing a research paper or simply trying to forget about yesterday’s chem exam, there’s really no better distraction than Tumblr.
Users know that the blogging site, launched by David Karp in 2007, offers customization options that extend to blog design and operation. You choose which blogs you want to follow and the kinds of posts you want to see, so the contents of your dashboard are unique to your interests.
While this is wonderful, it’s also highly addicting. There’s just something about Tumblr that, once it latches onto you, refuses to let go. For the sake of your grade point average, proceed with caution.
Best Vegetarian Options: Zia’s Cafe
Breaking into vegetarianism can be hard, but places like Zia’s Cafe help make it a bit easier. Offering an assortment of sandwiches, salads, wraps, juices and smoothies, Zia’s has something delicious and nutritious for everyone. More than half of their advertised meals are vegetarian.
And because the eatery forgoes the use of substances like refined sugar, white flour and hydrogenated oils, Zia’s is one of the healthier places to eat nearby, for carnivores, omnivores and herbivores alike. Luckily, it’s only about a mile from campus. The only real problem with this Towson staple is that it’s closed on Sundays.
Best Local Band: Stacked Like Pancakes
Since its 2007 formation by frontman Kellen McKay, the band has released two albums that showcase its unique mix of reggae, rock and ska: 2011’s “We’re Not Insane,” which is available on iTunes, and 2013’s “Setting the Table,” which is available for download via stackedlikepancakes.com.
SLP has seen a wide array of members over the years, but the passion and the drive have always remained the same. As it says on the band’s website, “We’re not your average garage band. We are musicians, we are perfectionists, and we are performers. We’re not afraid to try stacking the pancakes differently.”
Best Hangover Cure: Towson Hot Bagels
According to BroBible.com, Towson Hot Bagels got ranked as the No. 4 best hangover spot in the entire country, meaning that Towson has a ton of hungover students on the weekends and that this food really does the trick!
The bagel sandwiches are nice and cheap, and with a drink you’re only spending about $6. Just grab yourself a Taylor Ham (or pork roll, whatever you Jersey kids prefer), egg and cheese bagel and a Powerade and you’ll be good in no time!
Also, what better way to start your day than by seeing girls in their outfits from last night?
Best Cheesesteak: The Real Thing
Everybody loves a good, fattening and greasy cheesesteak. And in Towson, you’re not getting one better than at The Real Thing.
The “Real Thing” is the best sub on the menu. It comes with steak and cheese, obviously, onions, peppers, mayo and hot sauce. The hot sauce might throw you off at first, but it is a great addition.
The sandwiches are around the $8-10 range, but with how fat the subs are, it’s definitely worth it. Not to mention it stays open late so you can grab one after the bars to get rid of that drunk-hungry crave.
The owner is also hilarious, which makes the experience even better.