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A New Café Nova Delicacy: The “Bussin’ Box”

Emma Cahill
Villanova students created the “Bussin’ Box” special.

If someone took a trip to Café Nova the first few days of classes, chances are, they were taken back by the array of new screens, kiosks and Cova’s Grubhub partnership. Whether they went to a kiosk to place an order or chose to order from the Grubhub app, they may have noticed a new delicacy has hit Café Nova’s menu: the “Bussin’ Box”.

According to Cova’s menu, the Bussin’ Box is “cheesesteak beef cooked with American cheese on top of crispy french fries.” After nearly three years of popularity as a secret menu item, the Bussin’ Box has finally made it as an official Cova staple.

The phrase “bussin” is believed to have originated from African American Vernacular English and has recently gained popularity amongst Gen-Z on social media. Similar to “banging,” “bussin” is typically used to describe food that is particularly


The history of the Bussin’ Box begins back in 2019, with two Villanova graduates, Derek Wilson (‘22) and Cole Langton (‘23), who sought out a tastier alternative by adjusting an already existing menu item at Villanova: Cova’s cheesesteak with fries.

“As Philly cheesesteak connoisseurs, we were not exactly satisfied with the quality of bun served with the cheesesteaks,” Langton said. “In a moment of ingenuity, we decided to give it a try with the meat and cheese over the serving of fries, essentially making loaded fries.”

“Prepared with love and packed with joy,” as Wilson said, the “Bussin’ Box” was coined by Wilson and Langton in 2020. The item’s popularity quickly grew among the members of Sigma Nu, of which Wilson and Langton were both members. After its founding, they formed a GroupMe chat named “The Bussin’ Box Committee,” where its members were able to express their appreciation for this new, hit item.

“We would often meet up on campus for our favorite grub after seeing our taglines ‘Who’s down to buss?’ or ‘Let’s buss,’” Langton said. 

What initially began as a fraternity signature soon became a widespread delicacy at Villanova.

“We knew we had struck gold when, on multiple occasions, we encountered individuals whom we had never met ordering the Bussin’ Box,” Wilson said. “Seeing its reputation grow rapidly first-hand was a truly fulfilling experience.”

Having both graduated, Wilson and Langton are unsure what the current state of the Bussin’ Box is, but current senior Sigma Nu members Alec O’Reilly, Tommy McCormick and Connor Wall are not hesitant to express their adoration for the dish.

“The Bussin’ Box marked a culinary transformation at Villanova,” O’Reilly said. “This year, when I saw the item on the Grubhub menu, I was ecstatic to see our once secret menu item finally on the official menu.”

Wall was there to witness the moment the trajectory of the dish changed forever.

“Jake Ringelstein and Ian

Briggs, integral members of [The

Bussin’ Box Committee], played a pivotal role in catapulting the Bussin’ Box to fame,” Wall said. “I’ll forever cherish the day when [Ringelstein, Briggs and I] ventured to Cova for our customary Bussin’ Box experience, but something extraordinary happened. When in line ordering, rather than asking for a cheesesteak and fries without the bun, Briggs looked the Cova chef dead in the eye and said, ‘Let me get a Bussin’ Box.’ Initially puzzled, the chef soon chuckled and embraced the name.”

McCormick confirmed the popularity of the term after its takeoff:

“I realized its popularity within the Café Nova regulars when I asked for a ‘cheesesteak with fries no bun’ and the response was, ‘You mean a Bussin’ Box?’” McCormick said.

And so, the term stuck, and Wilson and Langton will be happy to know that, today, the dish’s popularity continues to extend beyond the Sigma Nu fraternity.

“The Bangin’ Bussin’ Box is truly a delicious delight,” sophomore Teddy Archer said. “It’s an ingenious combination.”

“The Bussin’ Box is gas, but you gotta make sure you put some sauce on it to get the extra ‘buss,’” sophomore Jack Byrne said. “I think any sauce is good. It’s up to you what you put on it.”

According to Wall, personalization is the beauty of the Bussin’ Box.

“Everyone put[s] their unique spin on it,” he said. “My go-to Bussin’ Box features steak, fries, a double dose of southwest sauce and a drizzle of Cholula for an extra kick.”

“Personally, I’m a fan of its variety,” McCormick said. “You can go with my personal favorite combination, double southwest sauce, or opt for a bit of bbq.”

As for the future of the Bussin’ Box, Wilson and Langton believe its establishment as an official menu item is indicative of its future growth in popularity.

“I am excited that each and every student at Villanova can now experience the Bussin’ Box,” O’Reilly said. “One day I hope to see it become a known Villanova staple the same way Zilly Fries or Jay Wright are.”

“The Bussin’ Box has been a cornerstone in my Villanova experience,” Wall said. “I am overjoyed to know that the same delicious ‘bussin’’ experience can be shared with generations of Villanovans to come. My heartfelt thanks to Villanova, Cova, the Bussin’ Box and, above all, to Cole [Langton] and Derek [Wilson].”

Students can order a Bussin’ Box, or Bangin’ Bussin’ Box, from Café Nova during regular hours, weekdays from 10:45 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., in store at the kiosk or through the Grubhub app.

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Emma Cahill
Emma Cahill, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Emma Cahill is one of the Co-Editors-in-Chief of The Villanovan in 2024. A junior Political Science and English double major, Emma held the position of Co-Culture Editor in 2023. Emma has covered anything and everything during her time writing for the paper, ranging from March Madness in New Orleans, to horoscopes, to interviewing Sebastian Stan. Emma is a very passionate person, namely about her family and friends, Taylor Swift, and especially Long Island bagels. When she is out of the office, Emma can be spotted giving tours of campus for Blue Key or strolling around Villanova with an iced coffee in hand.

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