Golden Gate Express | Restaurants are making a comeback on campus. Here’s what reopened this semester

When the COVID-19 pandemic drove students off campus in 2020, restaurants across SF State were forced to close.

However, as the campus population returns to pre-pandemic normal, five restaurants have reopened on campus: Crave’s Birdhouse, Gold Coast Grill & Catering, HSS 121 Cafe, Taza Smoothies & Wraps, and Clean Bites.

It has been over two and a half years since some of these restaurants have served members of the campus community. But despite the seemingly endless wait, there was always a plan for them to return.

Corporation University worked with restaurant managers to determine the best time to relaunch.

“One of the unique things about our campus compared to many other CSU campuses is that we tend to focus on small businesses and mom-and-pop stores,” said Andrew Lok, director of retail services. and sales representatives of UCorp.

Here are some things campus members should know about returning local restaurants.

Crave nesting box

Located on the lower level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, Crave’s Birdhouse offers a variety of vegan and meat sandwich options, many named after comic book characters such as Spider-Man, Batman and Black Widow.

The meat used by Crave’s Birdhouse is halal, making it one of the few dining options on campus for Muslim students who practice Sharia.

Halal meat follows religious criteria when it comes to how it is prepared. Animals cannot be treated with antibiotics or growth hormones, animals must be fed vegetarian diets, and there can be no pork or pork products, to name a few. .

“Muslim students need to know that they have a community that cares enough, that they provide halal options and that they meet their dietary needs,” said Muslim Student Association president Faheemah Shaikh.

According to Shaikh, the only other restaurants offering halal options are Nizario’s Pizza and Halal Shop.

While SF State is the original home of Crave’s Birdhouse, they have since expanded, opening another location near the UC Berkeley campus in 2019.

Gold Coast Grills and Catering

Another restaurant reopening at the Cesar Chavez Student Center is Gold Coast Grill & Catering.

The menu references local neighborhoods, landmarks and sports teams. There’s the “Park Merced,” a grilled teriyaki chicken sandwich served on a toasted sesame bun; or the “SF Giants”, a club sandwich with turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.

Options range from breakfast to dinner, so students can enjoy their food throughout the school day. Breakfast choices include omelets, pancakes, and breakfast sandwiches, while lunch and dinner offer grilled sandwiches, burgers, and wraps.

According to Alma Arguello, who has worked at Gold Coast Grill & Catering for almost four years, business is moving more slowly than usual.

“Hopefully as the semester goes on, more people start hearing about the place and they’ll start coming,” Arguello said.

Coffee HSS 121

Room 121 in the Health and Social Sciences building is not a classroom: it is a cafe serving hot drinks as well as breakfast and lunch options. The menu includes cafe classics such as bagels, sandwiches, soups and other snacks.

The restaurant is only indicated by a small sign above the door, so many students won’t know until they pass the nonchalant cafe entrance. The restaurant is gaining popularity as students come out of their classes.

“It started slowly, but it’s already catching up since it’s already been more than two weeks since school resumed,” said Cristian Ortega, an employee of the store.

The HSS 121 cafe has the unique advantage of being the only restaurant located inside a university building, making it an ideal option for students with classes nearby.

“It’s kind of like a quick stop before they get to class,” Ortega said.

Taza smoothies and wraps

Taza Smoothies & Wraps offers a wide cultural variety of Mediterranean, Mexican and Asian dishes.

The restaurant is located in the Village at Centennial Square, which provides plenty of foot traffic for the students who reside in the building.

When Taza reopened at the start of the semester, the menu was missing some of its usual items such as their Mexican cuisine. These items have slowly but surely returned and it is likely that more will reappear over the course of the year.

“It was a slow process,” said restaurant worker Adrian Uribe. “We slowly put items back on the menu.”

Although it offers plenty of nourishment, Taza Smoothies & Wraps has garnered the most attention for its signature smoothies. The menu offers a range of unique combinations such as the ‘Chocolate Monkey’, a smoothie made with chocolate, bananas, milk and fat-free frozen yogurt.

“The first day we opened, a lot of people were asking about the smoothies, so I think that’s probably the best thing about this place,” Uribe said.

Clean bites

Ideally located for students training at the Mashouf Wellness Center, Clean Bites has two primary purposes: protein and hydration.

Mashouf Restaurant offers a plethora of choices ranging from nutrient-rich wheatgrass shots to protein-rich cantina kebab bowls. Many menu items are filled with superfoods such as kale, hemp seeds, maca powder, spirulina and more.

“After [a] training, you need protein and healthy foods, so that’s our main focus,” said Clean Bites employee Yas Wesa. “You know what your body needs, protein and juices to keep you hydrated.”

Unlike other restaurants, Clean Bites did not return at the start of the semester. It officially reopened on September 6, but Wesa is confident it will return to its former glory.

“It’s going to be easy,” Wesa said. “We’re minimizing the menu part, so we’ll see how it goes.”

While some restaurants are struggling to regain their pre-pandemic success, it’s hoped the business will improve in the semester.

“I think a big part of it is just getting the word out,” Lok said. “A lot of juniors, because things have been remote for the past two years, this is their first time on campus. It’s just going to take time to rebuild that steady flow of traffic.”

Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement