College Favorites in Northeast Tennessee


Northeast Tennessee is home to several colleges and universities, and there is no shortage of restaurants for students to enjoy. We’ve made a list of top spots that local college students claim as the best!


Downtown Johnson City is known for international cuisine and local eats, and nothing can beat the taste and price of Freiberg’s lunch specials. At Freiberg’s, you’ll find the best German food in the area, and they have lunch specials for as low as $4.99.

Gypsy Circus Cider Comapny and The Bohemian

Kingsport is home to the first cidery in Tennessee. Gypsy Circus Cider Company is a lively, yet low-key place to grab drinks, and a bite with friends. Their outdoor space has both a shaded balcony and a patio with picnic tables, cornhole, hammocks, and more. Choose from their extensive house-brewed cider list, or try one of their meads, wines, or beers. You can even get a growler of your favorite cider to take home with you. 

The Bohemian’s delicious food options put a modern twist on some classic favorites like quesadillas, nachos, and egg rolls. Along with their standard dinner options, they also offer brunch on Sundays. You can catch live music, burlesque, and even circus style acts there regularly. If you’re looking for somewhere with a relaxed atmosphere, Gypsy Circus Cider Company and The Bohemian is the perfect place to grab a drink, a meal, and kick back with friends.

Open Doors Coffeehouse

For anyone wanting a relaxing homework or hang out spot, Open Doors Coffeehouse in Johnson City is the place to be. With a variety of flavors and brewing methods, any coffee or tea lover will feel at home. The rustic and bright atmosphere is great for getting assignments done, or catching up with friends. 

Along with a variety of beverages, they also have an extensive food menu. They’re probably best known for their eight kinds of waffles. Open Doors has both a breakfast and lunch menu complete with vegetarian options. If you’re in a rush, they also have a drive thru window so you can still get your coffee fix on the go. 

The Corner Cup

The Corner Cup in downtown Jonesborough is nicknamed “Jonesborough’s Living Room” for good reason. The cozy, homey atmosphere makes it the best place for studying, reading, or doing homework. Unfortunately, due to COVID, The Corner Cup’s dining room is currently closed, but they offer to-go food and drinks as well as mobile ordering for pickup. 

The Corner Cup specializes in coffee, tea, and their delicious local favorite, Frappalopes. They also offer a variety of grab-and-go food options such as homemade soups, bowls, and baked goods. For anyone looking for a cozy cup of coffee and delicious food, The Corner Cup is the place to be. 

This is just a small selection of top spots for students in Johnson City, Kingsport and Jonesborough. Any college student can find somewhere they love on this list, and maybe a few more off the beaten path!

Written by Amanda Mitchell for Northeast Tennessee Tourism.