Winter is coming, and in a perfect world that would mean it’s time to go inside and not come back out until spring. In the real world, though, there are always going to be pesky reasons to go outside, like “socializing,” and “sunlight,” and “Michelle, you haven’t moved in a week.”
The good news is, food can come to you. Most people take advantage of this fact during the colder months more than any other time of the year. Rent.com and GrubHub partnered up to see which places were most delivery-happy over the winter and what foods are in their checkout bag.
Rent.com started by asking 1,000 renters in the U.S. why they ordered delivery food. The results are … well, probably exactly what you’d expect. Of those questioned, 36% said they ordered in when they didn’t want to cook, and another 17% mentioned not wanting to do the dishes. One-fifth of respondents simply order delivery when they don’t want to leave their apartments. I relate very strongly to this last group.
Many of us would rather have food brought directly to us than face the elements ourselves, but some areas are more likely to cave to the winter-weather-delivery urge than others. Here are the top 15 places most likely to order delivery comfort food when it gets cold outside:
1. Champaign-Urbana, IL
Central Illinois likes to get a little bit cheesy this time of year. No, I’m not talking about bad jokes or romantic sentiments; I’m talking about cheese dip. GrubHub orders in this area include cheese dip 82% more often than in other areas. Add that to the fact that Champaign-Urbana orders nearly 18% more food overall during November and December and the result is a lot of liquid cheese.
It’s no wonder Illinoisans are so drawn to warm liquid toppings this time of year–the first frost in the Champaign-Urbana area happens in mid-October. By the time November comes around, people just wants to stay inside and have informal fondue parties. They have room in their budget to support the ordering, too: the median rate for one-bedroom apartments in the area is just $750 a month.
A fun note: another common order for this area? Chocolate chunk cookies. Let’s hope these two don’t mix.
2. Atlanta, GA
Atlanta and its surrounding cities are the country’s second-biggest fan of staying inside when it gets colder out. This area orders in 13% more often during the last two months of the year. Although it doesn’t get as harshly cold in Atlanta as it does in areas further north, when you’re used to heat, “chilly” can feel like “freezing.” The most popular dish in Georgia’s capital: coconut chicken soup.
3. Ann Arbor, MI
Residents of Ann Arbor are fans of pizza. Not just any old pizza, however–gourmet pizza is the name of the game there. I can only guess why, but my theory is that the area’s focus on arts and culture has mixed with the high population of college students to lead to lots and lots of fancy pizza parties. During November and December, they’re 12.5% more likely to have said fancy pizza delivered than the rest of the year.
4. Trenton, NJ
The most popular food to have delivered in Trenton is the California cheeseburger. If you’re like me, you might assume that this is a cheeseburger with a fun, West-Coast themed addition, like a slice of avocado. Or maybe you’re a Simpson’s fan who pictured a museum display with a hippie eating a baby sandwich. Either way, you’re wrong.
The reality is far simpler–a California cheeseburger is just a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and onion. You can’t argue with the basics; Trenton knows what it wants. Since even two-bedroom apartments in Trenton have a median rental rate of $1000 a month, people there can afford to have their burgers brought straight to the door.
5. Washington, DC
I’m pretty sure the fact that Washington, D.C. and the surrounding cities make up the fifth most likely place to order comfort food when it’s cold is the best news I’ve heard all year. I mean, think of it this way: This basically means that ordering pizza is an act of patriotism.
If you want to be really patriotic, however, you should follow in D.C.’s footsteps and order wings. The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area is more likely to order oven-roasted chicken wings than any other place in the country.
6. Providence, RI
It gets cold quickly in Rhode Island, with average lows going from 44 to 26 degrees Fahrenheit in two months flat. That cold weather means that citizens of Providence are perfectly happy to stay inside and have their comfort foods brought right to them.
And what do they order in Providence? Well, Buffalo chicken calzones, of course. After all, what’s a better way to warm up in the cold New England weather than diving into a spicy hand-held pizza treat?
7. Denver, CO
Oh Denver. You had us fooled for so long, with your hiking paths and your parks and your skiing. But now the truth comes out–you get lazier when it’s cold out just like the rest of us. I must admit, I like your tastes; Vietnamese Egg Rolls are this Colorado region’s favorite comfort food.
8. Bridgeport, CT
As the weather gets colder on Connecticut’s southeast coastline, the summertime beach-goers become wintertime apartment-stayers. I respect that. I also respect that the area’s go-to comfort food is a Peruvian stir-fry dish called lomo saltado. Strips of sirloin served with potatoes and rice? Sounds like hibernation food to me.
9. Chicago, IL
Chicago’s GrubHub orders increase by 5.6% during November and December, and I’m pretty sure I’m only personally responsible for half of that. You might guess that deep-dish pizza is Chicago’s favorite comfort food, but you’d be mistaken–chicken Vesuvio is the dish on Chicagoans’ minds.
Another Italian dish turned Chicago specialty, chicken Vesuvio is chicken cooked on the bone in a white-wine sauce. It’s usually served alongside potatoes, carrots and peas.
10. Los Angeles, CA
I’m going to be honest, citizens of Los Angeles: your presence on this list confused me. After all, the temperatures in LA never really get cold–the lowest your average temperature gets is 55 degrees Fahrenheit in January. So I wondered, why does your ordering go up by 5.5% this time of year?
But when I saw the statistics for hours of sunlight for the area, I suddenly understood. How can you be expected to leave the house when, in December, you only get an average of seven hours of sunlight* a day? Truly, Southern Californians are in need of their favorite comfort food–baked salmon roll–during these trying times.
*Chicago gets about three hours of sunlight this time of year.
11. Ithaca, NY
College students make up almost half of Ithaca’s population, and I’m guessing that has something to do with the area’s inclusion on this list. As far as what Ithaca turns to for comfort food more than anyone else, vegetarian spring rolls come out on top.
If you’re wondering how college kids can afford to factor these treats into their budgets, it’s simple: the median rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment is just $850 a month!
12. Milwaukee, WI
To the surprise of literally no one who has ever stepped foot in Wisconsin, Milwaukee’s favorite comfort food is the cheese curd. People in Milwaukee are 30 times more likely to order a dish that includes cheese curds–probably fried–than anywhere else in the U.S.
And why not have deep-fried cheese lumps delivered when it’s freezing outside? Lows in the area hit freezing by November, and are well below once December rolls around.
13. Philadelphia, PA
You’re more than 75 times more likely to order mega fries than anywhere else in the country. On top of that, you order them 4% more often when the weather starts to turn chilly. Both of those statistics fill me with equal levels of envy and respect.
14. Boston, MA
The Boston area is more than 450 times more likely to order “Peking ravioli” than any other place. Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that everywhere else they’re called pan-fried pot stickers, but Boston has its own traditions surrounding Chinese food.
It all comes down to one woman, Joyce Chen, who basically brought Chinese cuisine to Boston in the ’50s. Before the Joyce Chen restaurant opened, the options were few and far between. Her shop helped shape the culinary culture of Boston today. She listed her pot stickers as “Peking ravioli” to make it clear that they were filled dumplings. The name stuck; now it’s listed on most Chinese menus in Boston.
15. Seattle, WA
As the end of the year approaches, Seattle starts to turn cold and wet. Temperatures drop to hover just around freezing, but precipitation goes way up–December has ten more rainy days than September. This sounds like an absolutely miserable combination, so it’s no wonder that Seattle residents start having their food brought to their doors.
What dish do Seattleites turn toward to get through the awful weather? Cheese bread. This dish’s delightful ingredients, including “cheese” and “bread” (along with those silent partners, butter and garlic), combine to make comfort food that definitely hits the spot.