Off-campus eateries to escape to

Jillian Ballard

Tired of eating on campus? Students only have a few choices of places to eat, no matter what side of campus they hang out on.

If you are getting tired of eating at the same places on campus, there are many places to eat just blocks away from school.

L.A. Grill Mediterranean Cuisine is a fairly new place, located on Reseda Boulevard behind the Union Bank of California. L.A. Grill is only two years old and offers a quiet enough atmosphere to study. It’s very calming, and it’s not too busy. Unlike the popular Chipotle, L.A. Grill always has seating. It’s a nice, relaxing break away from school, with pictures of palm trees surrounding you, and its earth-toned colors make the restaurant warm and inviting.

“I was told about L.A. Grill from a colleague of mine,” said Nicole Warwick, Assistant WPE Coordinator in the Learning Resource Center and part-time faculty.

“It’s never packed, even during lunch, and it’s set back far enough from the street that you sit outside, back from traffic, under the umbrellas,” she said.

The Lunch Special is offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Although L.A. Grill does not give student discounts, the restaurant is still moderately priced.

Spending $6 on a combo meal at Carl’s Jr. may be fast and easy, but L.A. Grill is a lot healthier.

“I usually go during their lunch special, and I order the Chicken Kabob plate, which comes with a salad and hummus for only six bucks,” Warwick said.

As an alternative to the pricey Freudian Sip and Jamba Juice on campus, L.A. Grill has healthier smoothies, made from fresh fruit, for $3.50 and fresh coffee made daily for $1.75. They also have tea, hot chocolate and Armenian coffee for the same price.

They serve espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, mochas and Americanos as well as blended iced coffee, ranging from $2.50-$3.50 in price.

To go along with your caffeinated fix there are desserts: cheesecake, baklava, and chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies.

L.A. Grill offers take-out, but you once you get in there you’re not going to want to leave. There are magazines ranging from US Weekly to Rolling Stone to keep students and faculty entertained while taking a break from schoolwork. But if you are determined to do work, there are outlets where students can plug in their laptops.

L.A. Grill is open until 9 p.m. for students who have late night classes and are looking for a healthy dinner. However, they are closed on Saturday and Sunday, because during this time, they are only available for private parties up to 45 people. Make your reservations in advance.

Chipotle, a Mexican grill that opened last year by campus, has become one of the favorite eating spots for students and faculty alike.

“Chipotle is the only place that I go off campus to eat,” said Jody Tadros, student assistant at EOP College of Engineering and College of Science.

“I go after school with my friends. I usually order the chicken burrito,” Tadros said.

The lines are practically out the door, but the service is very quick. You might want to get there either before 12 p.m or after 1 p.m., because there may not be a place to sit and enjoy your burrito.

If you manage to get a seat, the fast-paced loud music helps keep you energized while eating on your break. Students will not be able to do schoolwork at Chipotle, because it is so crowded and loud that you cannot concentrate. Chipotle’s atmosphere is more for a social break with friends.

Although Chipotle is so popular, their menu style is based on one principle: simplicity. Their menu is not loaded with different types of Mexican dishes, like enchiladas or chile rellenos; instead, Chipotle only offers five items. Their menu style differs from other Mexican restaurants.

At Chipotle, you first choose the style of burrito, taco or salad first, then you pair it with meat or vegetables. Lastly, the spices and extras, like guacamole and sour cream, are added.

“Chipotle’s style is more like ordering from Subway,” said Christian Rossi, sophomore engineering major. “I love Chipotle’s food (and) would eat it every day if I had the funds.”

Chipotle is moderately priced, ranging approximately from $5.95 to $9. The best thing offered by Chipotle is a burrito bowl if you are still on that “low-carb” diet. All of the wonderful ingredients in a burrito are put into a bowl for your low-carb consumption.

Just across the street in a different shopping center, students will find E’E Caf? Japanese Home Style Cooking. E’E is run by two sisters; one cooks and the other runs the dining room and counter. The staff at E’E is very warm and welcoming; they make you feel like you are at home. If students have a nice long break between classes, E’E is a nice place to relax and not have to think about schoolwork.

Geraldine Elegado Sare, assistant director of the liberal studies program goes to E’E Caf? quite often. Her office usually orders from E’E on their lunch breaks.

“They have the best chicken curry,” Sare said.

E’E Caf? offers CSUN students 20 percent off with student IDs, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Take-out is available if you don’t have much time between classes. The lunchtime specials are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. but because these specials are so heavily discounted, the CSUN discount does not apply during that time. On the lunchtime special menu, food such as a chicken sandwich is only $4.50 and the vegetable sandwich is only $3.95. When compared to the prices of the Asian cuisine here on campus, E’E Caf? has pretty good prices.

The beverages are only 90 cents when ordered with anything on the lunchtime special menu. The regular drinks are normally priced at $1.45, with free refills on anything from the fountain. At many of the eateries on campus, there are no free refills on fountain drinks.

Exiting the campus off of Plummer, you will probably pass My Hero Submarine Sandwiches and, if you are hungry, you should stop in for a hero sub.

Their slogan is, “The best sub in the Valley since 1964,” and this may still hold true to this day. After 43 years of business, My Hero hasn’t changed a thing on their menu.

Deaf studies student assistant Akiko Muvai goes to My Hero regularly.

“I usually order the My Hero special,” Muvai said. “But sometimes I get the meatball sandwich.”

The My Hero Special comes with three different kinds of meat and two different kinds of cheese, and a 6-inch regular sandwich is only $3.88 while a 12-inch regular is merely $6.24. The price of the 12-inch is the normal price of a Subway 6-inch here on campus with chips and meal, but the meat is freshly sliced right in front of you at My Hero Subs. My Hero is more like a deli-style place, with the big blocks of meat and cheese on display behind the glass, ready to be sliced.

The greatest thing about My Hero is their colors, which are black and red to represent the CSUN Matadors. The Matador colors are dominant within the restaurant and there are pictures of many of the sports teams from over the years. Although there are not too many tables, the counter along the wall with bar stools will give you enough space to chow down on that hero.

“A lot of students and professors come here,” said Rose Vargas, part owner of My Hero Sub Sandwiches. The other owner is Vargas’ daughter, Denise Mitchell. Vargas has worked at My Hero Sub Sandwiches for 28 years.

Other places to eat off campus come highly recommended by students and staff.

“I love Asian food,” said Gloria Derge, administrative assistant in Education Equity. “I go to China Star and I usually order the Kung Pao chicken or fried noodle dishes.”

Derge also goes to Chi’s Chinese Cuisine on Reseda and Superior.

Candice Hai Liu, administrative support assistant for the liberal studies program, suggested that students try Bounce for Boba drinks. Bounce is next door to E’E Caf?.

Robin McKibbon,
human resources assistant, goes to Thai Bamboo on the corner of Tampa and Nordhoff near Kinko’s and Fed-Ex.

“They have the lunch special and I usually order the house chicken with fried rice,” McKibbon said.

Those in the Human Resources office have ordered food from Chili’s on Reseda during lunchtime.

“I would eat more on campus if they changed the marketplace menu,” said Chanel Johnson, human resources assistant.

Other places to eat around campus include Cupid’s Hotdogs, which is just walking distance from campus and serves – what else – hotdogs! Their hotdogs are only $2.50.