(HEATHER KHALIFA / THE STATESMAN)
Many locations off-campus offer great food or a fun venue for hanging out with friends. (HEATHER KHALIFA / THE STATESMAN)

Getting involved on campus, behind studies, is possibly the single most effective way to develop in and become a part of the Stony Brook community. That being said, a much needed break from campus life is necessary if any student wants to maintain their sanity. A change of scenery, or namely a change in menu, can be just what a student needs to relieve stress. Here are my personal best options for off campus fun.

Walking distance:

Station Pizza (Pizza Place): Station Pizza and Brew no longer sells brew, but it’s the best pizza for the price, with walking distance in mind. What to order: Garlic knots and white slices. Delivery?: Yes.

Soup’s On (Soups and Sandwiches): they have rotating soups every day. They call come with bread, and their mac and cheese is pretty good too. Great for: When your friend is sick.

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Green Cactus (American Mexican): There is a bunch of Mexican food around, but this place is pretty on point and is a little bit cheaper. What to order:  Foot long burrito

Fratelli’s Bagel Express (Bagel Cafe): The bagels here are good for breakfast and lunch (they’re not open for dinner). They make a solid bacon egg and cheese. What to order:  Sunflower bagel with pesto mayo and mozzarella or strawberry bagel with chocolate chip cream cheese.

Honorable Mentions: 7/11, Dunkin’ Donuts and Dominos, the Bench and Subway

Avalon (Park and Preserve): An outdoor preserve by a lake, this is one of the only places you’re guaranteed to see a duck, or actually find some quiet on the island. Great for: Remembering what the light of day feels like. 

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Port Jefferson Village (on the S60 bus from campus):

The Steam Room (Seafood): not very complicated, but straight up some great seafood. It is a summer favorite, but it is good any time of the year. When to go: Thursday: two lobsters for the price of one

Port Jefferson Frigate (Candy Store): if you have ever lusted after the candy store in Willy Wonka, this one is bigger and has gelato.Great for: When you need a sugar fix during finals

Save-A-Pet (Pet Store): Save-A-Pet is a great no-kill shelter around here for cats and dogs and all of the proceeds of the store go to the animals. There is usually a dog and a couple of kittens hanging out. They are always looking for volunteers!

Harbor (Public Park): The harbor has a lovely park and a nice little strip of beach. It is really nice when it starts to get warm. Great for: Instagram shots of the sunset.

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At the Smith Haven Mall (by bus)

Mosaic Grill (Turkish): Seriously the best mall food you will ever have. The portions are pretty generous and it is legitimate. What to order: Shwarma

Godiva Chocolatier (Chocolate and milkshakes). Life hack: if you get a card and spend just $10 with them a year, you will get a free chocolate every month. Totally makes being dragged there and enduring the mall rats worth it.

Driving distance:

Kumo Japanese Steakhouse: A little pricey for dinner, but any other time, it is solid Japanese food. Happy Hour specials are $4 a roll. When to go: Happy Hour and Lunch Hibachi.

Greek-to-Go (Greek): a family owned restaurant, they have a Stony Brook discount, deliver and are super nice. What to order: gyro melt and their burgers.

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Hess (Gas Station): The cheapest gas station around and their cash and credit price is the same. They even have an app. You are welcome, drivers. Life Hack: Do not go when school or work gets out.

O Sole Mio (Italian): Largely considered some of the best Italian around. You can eat at the counter cheap for pizza or sit down, fill up on the bread and eat leftovers for days. What to order: Chicken picatta or caesar salad slice

AMC Loews Stony Brook 17 (Movie Theater). When to go: Thursdays (Student discount). Life Hack: If you go to a midnight premiere, do the 12:05 to skip middle schoolers and their parents.

Sweetbriar Nature Center (Public Park): It is a wildlife rescue in Smithtown. It is free and you can meet foxes, hawks and my best friend, Noodles the Opossum. What to see: There’s a real bald eagle. See it for America.

Sushi Palace (All-you-can-eat Sushi): My friends and I usually use this a celebratory dinner. It’s $20 for all you can eat and believe me, you will have eaten more than the value after stuffing your face. When to go: When you are starving with a large group of people.

Tiki Action Park (Arcade, Golf and Go-carts): When you need to do the suburban usual, this is by far the most tolerable place for laser tag, arcade, etc. When to go: When you need an outing for your club and you need to get off campus.

Se-Port Deli (Deli): A campus hotspot, this Italian deli serves gigantic, delicious sandwiches. Grab a ‘Gasm your first time round, then start exploring the rest of their endless menu. Be warned though, if you are not from around here, you will be surprised when it is a bit pricier than any deli you have ever been to, but it is well worth it. What to order: Your first time? Gasm. Really hungry? Try the Island Platter. Do not forget that large half ‘n half with your order.

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Favorite Beaches:

Smith Point (Public Beach): It’s a schlep in Shirley, but it’s a south shore beach so it is not very rocky. It is an oceanfront county par.

Robert Moses (Public Beach): Also on the south shore in Babylon. It is the oldest park in Long Island. It used to have a nude beach, but sadly you will l have to keep your bathing suit on…for now

I can not make any promises that these places will give you the most authentic eating experience. I can not guarantee that laying on these beaches will give you the epiphany you have been waiting for to tell you what to do with the rest of your life, but I have had great experiences at these locations.

Getting off campus clears your mind and reminds you that there is a world outside of the Stony Brook bubble. Stony Brook is your home now, you’ll be living here on average four years (and some of you much longer). You have every right to claim local status after some exploring. So if you have got a hankering for some real food, or just need to get outside in a place where the chance of you getting into a fight with a goose goes is not guaranteed, check them out.

Correction: July 17, 2014

A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Fratelli’s Bagel Express, calling it Fratelli’s Bagel’s Express. Dunkin’ Donuts was also misspelled, being called Dunkin Donuts.

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