Finding different and interesting restaurants is a big part of being away from home. No Micky D's, TGIFriday's, Max and Erma's, Outback Steakhouse, Baskin Robin's, Buca di Beppo, Mortons, Wendy's or any other restaurant-copy, laser-jet-perfect and filed in an American strip mall parking lot. Driving 200 miles to eat a meal I can get around the corner makes no sense.
University towns are fertile ground for interesting, reasonably priced restaurants. They have a diverse population of restaurant customers concentrated in a small area. Students are not-wealthy people whose choice is between walking to a restaurant and cooking another package of Ramen. The restaurants are there because the person who opens a vegetarian, Pakistani, "home made", "no fried foods", organic, caribbean, noodle, or soul food restaurant, likes the things that make a University town unique -- diversity, smart people, educational resources, entertainment, unusual housing and unique city planning. They're different and their restaurants are too.
Sometimes I do travel to eat. What's 200 miles for a memorable meal?