The Best Lunch Spots Near Campus

Sophia Chang/New University

By Colleen Humfreville

As you keep glancing up at the clock, you see that it has finally struck 11:50 a.m., your lunch time. Your stomach had been grumbling through the entire class, especially since you weren’t able to have breakfast. Didn’t one of your classmates even turn around at some point after a particularly long, loud rumble?

Needless to say, you’re hungry, but you have class again in 30 minutes. Is that enough time? Or, will you have to just wait until the afternoon to finally grab a bite in?

Fortunately, there are plenty of options for close and convenient eateries, even within a five- to 10-mile radius. As Bob Marley said, “don’t worry, be happy,” about your delectable delicatessen lunch that you’re about to have.

The question, then, is where to go?

Only a couple of minutes away, Subway is located conveniently next to BC’s Cavern Food court. With endless options, and multiple ways to individualize your sandwich, any combination is possible. One of the best things about it, though, is that you have complete control over what you’ll be eating. As you proceed down the line of their various choices, you can add lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, numerous types of cheese, the works — you name it, they’ve got it.

Although Quizno’s is a close competitor, I don’t think they measure up. At Subway, I know that when I create my own sandwich, it’ll only have what I want on it (and trust me, that’s not a lot). Their grandiose toaster adds a nice touch to the entire sandwich, and ensures that all the elements of it will be succulently melted together in a perfect mix of cheeses, meat, vegetables or whatever you like to have on it. However, I have to hand it to Subway for having affordable, filling sandwiches ($5 footlong, anyone?).

Perhaps you want to go off campus, and get a little fresh air.

Right across from the school is University Town Center, a well-known facet of the campus for everyone who attends here, and even for those who are just visiting.

It’s one of those places where you can go with a group of friends, and even if no one can agree on a certain place, everyone can each get something different and still have a great time catching up with their friends.

At Britta’s Cafe, you can enjoy a more sophisticated ambiance, with plenty of places to sit down, and the option of eating the most important meal of the day more than once, or at a later point in the day, if you prefer.

At Le Diplomate, you can enjoy their fresh French bread — crunchy on the outside but still deliciously soft on the inside (they even sell an entire baguette!).

At Ray’s Pizza, you can purchase a huge slice of cheese-melting pizza, with no frills attached, but a great slice of classic pizza nonetheless.

At Cha for Tea, you can get salty, crispy chicken, steamed dumplings or one of their many thirst-quenching drinks with boba.

At Yogurtland, grab some dessert to round out the rest of your meal, sampling their constantly changing array of flavors (insider tip: their oatmeal cookie is amazing!). The list goes on and on.

UTC is only a five-minute walk from campus and it’s a great option for those facing a rushed lunch hour — and no one likes to be a cranky-pants in class when they haven’t been able to eat anything.

If you’re hungry in class, you’re not as likely to pay attention. You will most likely not be in the best mood, and you won’t have as much energy to draw on for your own activities. Food is vital, and as a college student, it needs to be quick and cheap.

Although the occasional dinner out is a great treat, it isn’t an option for people most days out of the week. Plus, 30 minutes for a sit-down restaurant is how long it takes to just get your food usually, let alone be able to eat and enjoy it.

Needless to say, finding those secret niches of delicious and delectable food is important to do for any current UCI student.

In fact, according to Adelle Davis, an American author and nutritionist, “we are indeed much more than we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.”