Georgetown culinary traditions are always associated with special times and places. Chicken Finger Thursdays at the "Leo's" cafeteria. GUGS burgers every Friday near Copley Lawn. Philly Pizza every weekend night-turned-early morning. And the infamous Chicken Madness, eaten at all hours, everyday.
Chicken Madness from "Wisey's"
This sandwich has sparked a Hoya cult following across generations. Ordered about 100 times per day, the Chicken Madness sandwich is a cheap white hoagie-style roll—the lack of gourmet bread is part of the magic—and eight crucial ingredients. As the menu promises, it's loaded with "mounds of" chicken breast, provolone cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, sweet and hot peppers, and onions, all chopped and mashed up on the grill. The mayo offers a crucial moisture element, bringing all the flavors together (it's too dry without it). For just $5.45, the meal also includes UTZ potato chips and a canned soda from the fridge. The sandwich is so worshipped that Hoyas even vote for it on student election ballots each year. The Burger Madness, a deli kin, is similarly prepared, but with chopped beef patties instead of chicken breast (it's not as popular). For game day, you can special order sandwich trays from either of the two Wisemiller's locations in Georgetown. Or try whipping up a homemade version.
Wisemiller's Deli, 1236 36th Street, NW; 202-333-8254.
Wisey's Deli, 1440 Wisconsin Avenue NW; 202-333-4122.
"Chicken Finger Thursdays" is a pretty big deal around the Georgetown campus . Some students admit it's the only reason they have a meal plan at Leo O'Donovan cafeteria—more commonly known as "Leo's," the only real dining hall on campus. Lines snake around the upstairs level beginning right at 11 AM, and lunch ladies constantly refill the trays. According to Steven Gibbs, director of resident dining, Leo's orders 1,000 pounds of chicken every Tuesday to feed the appetites of 2,700 students for Thursday's lunch. Over the history of "CFT," as Chicken Finger Thursdays are known, Georgetown has changed the frozen chicken brand only once, from Arkansas-based Tyson Foods to Illinois ' Koch Foods. The boneless tenderloin strips are jumbo, about five bites-worth each. Students slather them with Lawry's honey mustard or "Open Pit" BBQ sauce. Some take advantage of the guacamole near the salad bar. Though cafeteria directors recently added "Chicken Finger Mondays," there's just something special about the original Thursday.
"Philly Pizza" on Prospect Street
Philly Pizza is a weekend haunt for Hoyas, especially between the hours of 2 and 3 AM. After a few keg parties and a couple hours at the Tombs bar, this jumbo slice is magical. Plain cheese and pepperoni are the most popular flavors, since epicurean complexity at that hour is overwhelming. But even during daylight hours, the closet-sized business is busy. The pizza's actually good enough for a sober appetite. Slathering each oversized, greasy slice with Ranch dressing is a Hoya tradition—the huge dispenser sits on the countertop. For delivery orders, Philly Pizza used to serve it in a cardboard pizza box with an image of a pirate ship. Students explain that metaphorically, "Philly Pizza" does in fact pirate business from nearby delivery spots like Manny & Olga's, Cappuccino's and Domino's.
Philadelphia Pizza Co., 1201 34th St NW; 202-333-0100.
Burgers on the Healy Front Lawn
GUGS (the first "g" is soft), stands for the Georgetown University Grilling Society. They set up shop every Friday afternoon in Spring and early Fall (weather permitting) near the main campus pedestrian intersection called "Red Square." Each half-pound burger is hand-rolled for about three minutes into a familiar softball shape. Each patty is then doused in Worcestershire sauce and seasoned with salt while grilling for twenty minutes. GUGS has appeared in numerous articles (including Wikipedia mentions) and even participated in a Food Network competition—no wonder so many students shirk class for their burger. The grillers can be obsessive about preparation, meeting regularly to discuss the "art" of grilling. They all have Costco memberships, where the ground beef is purchased.
Erin Zimmer graduates from Georgetown this May. She'll be watching the game from a friend's living room but plans to hit the Tombs after to celebrate (hopefully).