We should start by saying that nothing gets our hearts going like an email with the mention of free food. Yes, we are total foodies and proud of that. So, you can only imagine our excitement when we were given the opportunity to take a tour of the new dining options on USC’s University Park Campus last week.
As graduate students in Annenberg’s communication management program, it’s hard for us to roam around campus in search of the best dining options. We’re glad we now know of USC Hospitality’s newest restaurants.
“Our goal every semester is to do something unique and enhance what we offer students,” Kris Klinger, director of USC Hospitality, said during the tour.
Lindsey Pine, a registered dietitian with USC Hospitality, added, “We continually talk to students to find out how we can cater to their health as well as their taste buds.”
“This research has led us to incorporate more vegan options, plus increased local, sustainable and organic items in our residential dining facilities, in addition to adding more fresh fruits and vegetables on campus via the weekly Farmers Market on Wednesday,” she said.
This semester, new dining options include Nekter Juice Bar and The Habit in addition to new options at USC Express Catering and an exciting new project at EVK Restaurant and Grill.
- Nekter Juice Bar: Located at Shop Café in the School of Architecture, Nekter is well known around Southern California for its cold-pressed juices, which uses “greener” ingredients and are packed with vitamins, minerals and enzymes. In addition to serving all-natural juices and smoothies, on-the-go salads and pre-bottled juices are also available, which is perfect when you are in a rush to get to class.
- The Habit: The Habit opened in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center this semester. This “Santa-Barbara style” burger and sandwich joint gained popularity on campus due to frequent visits from its food trucks. The restaurant stands apart from other fast-food chains because of its dedication to fresh ingredients and daily baked buns. Menu items include Habitburgers, grilled sandwiches, salads, shakes and malts. Our favorites are the charburger and chicken club sandwich.
- USC Express Catering: Located in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, USC Express Catering has re-vamped its menu for clubs, organizations and faculty members and is offering new items for its vegan and vegetarian clientele. Express Catering offers a variety of options for breakfast, lunch or dinner – such as salads, sandwiches, fruit and cookies. Our favorite – Krispy Kreme doughnuts decorated for the holidays – hearts for Valentine’s Day and green for St. Patrick’s Day.
- EVK Restaurant and Grill: EVK Restaurant and Grill, located between Birnkrant Residence Hall and the New-North Complex, will be breaking ground soon on a garden where a variety of vegetables and herbs will be grown and used in residential dining kitchens.
USC Hospitality has definitely nailed it with its new dining options, and this tour has left us craving Berry Banana Burst smoothies from Nekter and a charburger with a side of sweet potato fries from The Habit.