Yeah, I take pictures of my food too often, have a sodium intake that’s probably five times what’s deemed healthy and I certainly can’t sprint 50 yards without panting uncontrollably. However, through spending many a night on the road over the past several years venturing the recruiting trail, I’ve compiled a fairly extensive list of some of the best places to chow down in between hotels and tournaments.
With the busy November circuit getting underway on Sunday, there’s no better time to recommend a handful of my favorite spots to grub, as well as a few more from replies on Twitter. You’ll notice that most are extremely convenient to popular tournaments, good for running out with a group and grabbing a quick bite between games or after everything’s done. All of them are easy on the wallets, you know that thing that takes a five-figure hit from driving high schoolers from event to event during the club circuit.
Enjoy the recs below and feel free to send in your own go-to spots via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
600 Wendover Street, Philadelphia, PA
The Philadelphia area can be considered the epicenter of November lacrosse. Whether it’s Quaker Fest, Adrenaline Invitational, Big 4 Champion’s League (a bit north this year up in Pottstown) or the Philly Showcase, players and their families spend gobs of time along the Main Line during the fall circuit.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of phenomenal food spots in PA and the area is, of course, known for their infatuation with cheesesteaks. My biggest recommendation is to avoid the tourist traps like Pat’s or Geno’s near downtown: they produce damn good sandwiches, but when we’re talking about ease and accessibility to tournaments, they’re not ideal destinations.
Depending on where you’re headed, it might be slightly out of the way, but Dalessandro’s is the cream of the crop when it comes to cheesesteaks away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I’d get the the traditional cheesesteak (I go provolone but can’t go wrong with Whiz either) or the buffalo chicken cheesesteak with American and/or bleu cheese. The place is open until midnight if you’re getting in late after a football game the night before a tournament. Make sure to have cash too, as they don’t take credit cards.
1534 York Road, Lutherville, MD 21093
This place has been a staple for recruiters for a number of years, especially during the summer months where a ton of events take place in Baltimore County. Located along York Road corridor, it’s easily accessible from Towson and Hunt Valley’s hotels and you won’t ever have to worry about waiting for a table.
I grew up a few miles away from OP, so needless to say it’s been a spot I’ve frequented dozens of times. It’s definitely a hole in the wall, but offers some of the best seafood in a city chock-full of it. Fall isn’t crab season, so you’ll want to go a different route… then come back to get messy in June for a few dozen. For appetizers, go with the oysters Rockefeller, steamed mussels or crab pretzel. For dinner, I usually go with the Triple Crab Sampler (crab cake, crab imperial and crab cocktail with two sides) but the Chesapeake chicken and seafood pasta are both off the charts as well.
1150 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale, NY 11553
The beauty of Long Island is that you can go to any deli and literally get just about anything imaginable on a sandwich and they’ll throw it together. You can’t really go wrong with most delis in NY but for what it’s worth, Coliseum Deli is one of the best. On top of that, it’s a stone’s throw from Hofstra’s Stuart Stadium, so it’s always been a go-to before HS playoff games. The Pride’s staff will be hosting the Blue & Gold Fall Showcase on the first two weekends of November, so make sure to stop by before or after the event if you want an outstanding (and relatively cheap) meal.
My rule of thumb has been to never leave LI without getting chicken cutlet. With that said, go with the Red Star Special: cutlet, ham, melted swiss and honey mustard on a roll. If you’re going the breakfast route, the Hangover Sandwich is the real deal as well with steak, cheese, hash browns and three eggs. There are plenty of other great choices on the menu, so get creative and you won’t leave hungry.
125 N. Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075
Lacrosse has brought me to some pretty awesome places from coast to coast, however Solana Beach might take the cake as the town I like visiting the most. It’s a surfer’s town with some unbelievable views and a number of excellent bars, restaurants and shops along the main street.
If you’re a few minutes up the road for Adrenaline High Rollers in late November or the Challenge after New Year’s, this is a place you’ve gotta hit. Pictured to the right, the Monkey Stick (spicy tuna, crab, albacore and tempura) is insanely addicting and both the Crunchy Shrimp and Ex-tasy are phenomenal as well. Grab a few rolls and beers before heading down the block for the sunset by the beach.
Haute Dog Carte
6070 Falls Road, Baltimore, MD 21209
If you’re at Sunday’s NLF Fall Frosh event, all you’ll need to do is make a right out of BL and go to the bottom of the hill. It’s only open from 11-2:30pm, but absolutely unbelievable. There’s no need to worry about one not filling you up either, as it’s a huge dog, the bun’s a hollowed out piece of French bread. Their signature (quarter-pound black angus w/ bacon and onion marmalade, tomato jam and Dijon mustard) is to die for, but the Chef Dogs are always creative and amazing as well. Cash only.
980 Franklin Avenue, Garden City, NY
The Grimaldi’s Brooklyn location is considered one of the most iconic pizza joints on the planet. With their GC location, they didn’t miss a beat. This spot, just a stone’s throw away from Hofstra’s tournaments in early November, is right up there with the best pizza on Strong Island. It’s old school in that they don’t serve single slices, so go with a group and expect to order a few different kinds. The buffalo chicken or chicken a la vodka pies are the best, though there so many different options of thick and flavorful topics that you’ll never leave even remotely let down.
Towson Hot Bagels
16 Allegheny Avenue, Towson, MD 21204
You’ll only need to make three or four turns from Towson’s athletic complex if you’re coming to the Autumn Gold Showcase (11/7, 11/8, 11/15), one of the top tournaments of the fall. They’re known for their bagel sandwiches, but the omelets and THB Signatures are phenomenal as well. Make sure you have plenty of time to spare, as it’s usually packed before noon.
236 Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, PA 19087
This breakfast joint was referred on Twitter by @msaitken, the father of Virginia-bound #1 recruit Dox Aitken. The location is prime if you’re heading to Sunday’s Quaker Fest, only five minutes away from the games at Radnor HS . A Yelp review shows a picture of former prez “Slick Willy” Bill Clinton eating at Joe’s Place – do you need any more reason to visit in between games? Get a breakfast sandwich.