Welcome to West Lafayette!  Home to the 2022 Men’s B1G Swimming & Diving Championships and some of the best food you’ll find in one city.  With one of the largest international student populations in the country, West Lafayette – home to Purdue University, offers some of the best international cuisine. 

I’ve personally lived here for almost 11 years, the second longest place I’ve ever lived so I feel I can sort of be called a local now.  I’ll always be a Wisconsin kid at heart, but this is where home is….for now.

Being between Chicago and Indianapolis, one of the surprising aspects about West Lafayette and Lafayette for me is the tremendous variety and quality of good food in the area.  For “being in the middle of a cornfield”, according to many, this place sure knows how to eat.

I’ll drop you some of my favorite spots for athletes to hit as well as some bonus favorites for the fans that want to experience food in true West Lafayette/Lafayette fashion.

Let’s get it started…Athlete Food First!

Café Literato
1920 Northwestern Ave. West Lafayette, IN 47906
Menu Link: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b31a62e2714e5a94e9542b7/t/5bdfbe2021c67cf1f9768a1d/1541389870251/Literato-New+Menu-v2-2.pdf

This hot spot is located just north of Purdue’s campus.  Personally, I’ve visited many times and never once been disappointed in the food, atmosphere, and speed of service.

Literato offers many gluten-free options for sandwiches, salads, and soups.  If you’re being conscious of folic acid intake or have a gluten allergy/sensitivity, this is the perfect spot for all your lunch needs.

Here’s some great recommendations for lunch between session for optimal recovery and fuel for finals.

·        Caprese Chicken Sandwich

o   Keep the aioli off or go light (ask for it on the side) to keep things moving through the digestive system well.  This sandwich overall keeps things light and moving quickly through the body.  Having protein, carbs, and vegetables, pair it with a side recommendation (below) or a spinach salad for some extra antioxidant support to help speed up recovery.

·        Pressed Ponto

o   The vegetarian option for those meat or animal fat conscious.  Skip the aioli or keep it light (ask for it on the side).  Beets on this sandwich are a fantastic additive to help improve oxygen uptake.  Pickled items are also fantastic for gut health and digestive regulation – keeping you regular during the meet.  No one likes a backed up digestive system.

·        Chili Lime Chicken Sandwich

o   A simple sandwich with lots of flavor.  Skip the aioli or keep it light (ask for it on the side).  This one packs all the power of protein, carbs, and veggies for a powerful recovery and fuel up for finals without keeping things heavy in the digestive system.  If you’re a flavor lover – this one is for you.

·        Spinach and Berries Salad

o   Spinach is very digestible and a better option over kale during a meet.  Pair this with a sandwich or add a lean protein like chicken to optimize muscle recovery.  Berries are packed with antioxidants and don’t have much of a glycemic impact on your body so your blood sugar doesn’t go off the charts between sessions and crash right before you dive in for warmups.

·        Best Sides: Quinoa Salad, Fresh Fruit, Soup of the Day (go with clear broth option if available)

Chipotle

2400 N Salisbury St. West Lafayette, IN 47906
200 W State St. West Lafayette, IN 47906
4030 South St. Lafayette, IN 47605

Menu Link: https://www.chipotle.com/

With three locations in the area, you’re sure to have one close to your hotel along with an option just down the street from the aquatic center.   

Chipotle may not seem like a very fancy option, but I always call it a “home run” no matter where you are in America.  You can be sure to get what you need from a Chipotle while still being conscious of ingredients at an affordable price.

Here’s my best pick at Chipotle

·        Burrito Bowl

o   Go with a lean protein like chicken with brown rice, small amount of beans (optional).  Beans can give you some MAJOR gas and bloating so keep it minimal during a meet if you’re a fan of the fiber.  Top with some salsa, little bit of guac, greens, and any veggies you want.  Depending on your dairy sensitivities – keep it light on the cheese or remove it completely. 

o   Pro Tip: Skip the sour cream and chips.  Chipotle’s chips are made with sunflower oil, an Omega-6 fat that is known to cause inflammation and digestive disruption.  If you just can’t live without the chips – BYOC (bring your own chips) and go with either Boulder or Siete brands that use avocado oil instead.

CoreLife
105 Farabee Dr. Lafayette, IN 47905
Menu Link: https://www.corelifeeatery.com/menu/

One of the best chains available across the US for healthy options, quick, and at a great price.  CoreLife uses fantastic ingredients, much better than most restaurants in the same model.

There’s a lot of options available at CoreLife.  Many offer a lot of fiber and slow digesting foods, which are not something you want to take in large quantities between sessions.  Keep it light and low in fiber to keep gas and bloating away.

Here’s some sure bets for between session eats

·        Southwest Grilled Chicken & Purple Rice

o   Packed with carbs, protein, and healthy fat – this is an optimal between sessions meal.  It does offer black beans so either skip those or keep the portion minimal.  The dressing is a jalapeno lime but it’s not at all spicy – it’s also light and not creamy, which is exactly what you want from a dressing during a meet.

·        Tuna Poke Fire

o   Great for a vegetarian option and some additional Omega-3 fats.  Swap the spicy fire sauce for another one of their homemade dressing options.  Spicy and fire are not two things that taste good the second time around during a race.  Keeping away from strong spice and heat is important during a meet as it isn’t great on the digestive system.

·        Chicken Tortilla Broth Bowl

o   Bone broth is packed with antioxidants for optimal recovery.  This is a bit of a lighter option compared to the southwest grilled chicken with purple rice.  Pair this with a soup or a side like the root vegetables.

·        Build Your Own Bowl

o   The best option for the picky eater or ingredient junkie.  This way you can build in your own perfect lunch with any of CoreLife’s ingredients.  Make sure to get protein, carbs, and healthy fat.

Another Broken Egg
516 Northwestern Ave. West Lafayette, IN 47906
Menu Link: https://anotherbrokenegg.com/location/west-lafayette-in

Close to the aquatic center with some fantastic lunch options, this is a great spot to take all your fans for lunch.  The location isn’t large so it fills up quickly with other Broken Egg regulars.

Broken Egg offers gluten-free and vegetarian options for all dietary needs.

Here’s some sure bets for between sessions

·        Gluten-Friendly Pancakes

o   Pair this carb with some maple apple chicken sausage, scrambled eggs, and fresh fruit.  You have a great recovery meal.

·        Southern Chicken Sandwich

o   Keep off the ranch dressing – too heavy between sessions and sub out the grits with a side salad or fresh fruit to perfectly pair this lunch.

·        Sunrise Spinach Scrambler

o   With fresh veggies for antioxidants and eggs for protein, this is packed for recovery.  Add additional protein with the maple apple chicken sausage as well as some toast or English muffin for carbs.


Top Pick for Fans (non-athletes)

DT Kirby’s
644 Main St. Lafayette, IN 47901
Menu Link: https://dtkirbys.com/

For anyone NOT competing, here’s a top pick from me as a local that you won’t be disappointed in – but be prepared to indulge.

DT Kirby’s offers street food in a Chicago inspired downtown location.  For the Wisconsin grown kid in me, it’s hard to look past all the Bears and Cubs décor, but the food is absolutely worth the visual pain of the environment.

Top Pick for Adventurous Eaters:

·        Bacon Bar BQ Cheddar

o   Come with a big appetite and about a need for 1,000+ calories.  Pair this with the Wisconsin cheese curds and your meal is complete.  Side note, don’t let them know you’re a first timer unless you’re ready for a “special treat” from the bartender.

Bistro 501
501 Main St. Lafayette, IN 47901
Menu Link: http://www.bistro501.com/

The menu is seasonal and rotates quite often.  Absolutely everything is outstanding on the menu.  Personally, I have not tried anything on the current seasonal menu but can ensure you won’t leave disappointed.

The environment is great, the beverage options are fantastic, and the food is some of the best you’ll find in the city.  The price point is on the higher side, but absolutely worth every penny.

Top Pick for the French Food Enthusiast:

·        Pumpkin Ricotta Conchiglioni

o   A vegetarian dish that continues to be more appealing as you read the description.

o   Pro Tip: Take a photo and send it to me with your rating – it looks fantastic.

Black Sparrow Pub
223 Main St. Lafayette, IN 47901
Menu Link: http://www.bistro501.com/

An intimate setting with eclectic food and drinks puts you right in the heart of an Irish pub. 

The menu changes quite often seasonally but you cannot go wrong with any of the choices from the small plates, sandwiches, and pizza.

Top Pick for Eclectic Food Enthusiast:

·        BLT & E + Goat Cheese (small plate)

o   Goat cheese anything will always be a winner in my book.  This app is fantastic to share or keep all to yourself.

o   Honestly, I’m not much of a BLT fan but this one with the egg is fantastic.  Something about the flavor pairing is different and more flavorful.  

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