A comprehensive guide of what you can eat within walking distance of the school.
Earlier this school year the faculty announced that any student who has no period after lunch, no matter the grade, is able to leave campus. This means if you don’t have a 6th period you can go off campus Tuesdays or Thursdays, even if you normally couldn’t; so if you are going to go off campus, where should you eat? There are so many great options to choose from and although you may already have one that is your go-to, it is good to branch out. So with that being said, here’s a roundup of a variety of places to get a bite to eat.
TK Burgers is seen by many as the go-to place, and it’s understandable: they have a lively tiki-themed interior and high but fair prices, clocking in at $8 for their much beloved signature TK Burger and fries; although that is what they are known for, they also have many an abundance of other sandwiches, whether it be their homemade veggie burgers, ribeye steak sandwich, chicken sandwich, ahi tuna sandwich or impossible burger; not a burger person? The burger joint also serves chicken strips, salads, tater tots and an entirely different menu for breakfast, they are bound to have something that you would like.
Besides the prices, the only other drawback there is is how busy it gets during school lunchtime, you have to leave right after class to head there and come back right after eating or their is a chance that you won’t make it back in time, even with the fast cooking times (considering nothing is pre-made).
Beach Hut Deli
Just over the bridge you’ll find Beach Hut Deli, another tiki-surf themed establishment. Inside you’ll find each booth has a surfboard for a table with a TV. As assumed by the name, they have a wide selection of sandwiches, with their most popular item being the Surfin’ Bird, a turkey, bacon, avocado, cream cheese, mayo, mustard, pickles, tomatoes, onions, pepperoncinis & lettuce french roll sandwich.
Their sandwiches are extremely appetizing but not many students rush to the deli due to their wait times and prices, coming in at $11 for a regular 6 inch sandwich with chips and a drink. Although they do have a great chip and drink selection, with shelves of chips and a 100+ flavor Coca Cola Freestyle machine, it just takes too long.
Using myself and Yelp reviewers as data I found that the average time was 20 minutes, which is perfectly fine when you’re going on a weekend or for dinner but is not great when you have a bit over 40 minutes to walk over, order, eat, and come back. So although a great restaurant, I would not recommend it for an off-campus school lunch.
The Empanada Maker
Overlooking the train tracks you can find the restaurant based around the vastly popular Spanish cuisine, The Empanada Maker. The empanadas are priced at $3.50 each, with 16 empanadas always in and limited time empanadas going in and out of rotation. The combo that you would most likely choose for an average sized meal is combo #2, coming with 2 empanadas, a regular side, and a medium beverage all for $11, the same price as Beach Hut Deli’s signature meal.
When students were asked what their favorite empanada was at Empanada Maker, many replied with “The Diablo”, an empanada, named after our mascot, coming with spicy barbeque pulled pork, cheddar cheese, onions & cilantro; the great thing about The Empanada Maker is their variety. Although, besides salads & soups, the only main dish they serve is empanadas, their many different flavors cover anyone’s liking. Along with the variety of flavors is the wait time, the pastries are usually pre-made and left hot and ready to be ordered, which is a great benefit to Diablos who have such a limited timeframe.
Paradise Donuts & Deli
Yet another sandwich restaurant with an island theme, although Paradise Donuts & Deli does it a bit different. Instead of an elaborate ambience the restaurant has more of a hole in the wall type feel, with no decorations, a couple chairs inside, and a patio outside. All 6 inch sandwiches come in at somewhere in the $7 range and come with a donut and a drink, a pretty great deal compared to the other restaurants around.
As for the taste of the sandwiches, they are delicious! I personally love them and Yelp reviewers too, “Paradise is my favorite place to eat in California. I know it’s a big state, but I’m serious. Sandwiches are one of my favorite foods and Paradise does it right.” declares Andi T.
Sometimes the deli will be busy but every time I have gone there during school lunch, no matter how busy they are, I am able to be on campus before the first bell rings. Overall a great place to eat for the price and the hidden gem of the 7 restaurants.
Ronaldo’s Taco Shop
On the corner Muirlands and La Paz sits Ronaldo’s Taco Shop, a classic Mexican taqueria. One of the most popular items on the menu is the $9.25 carne asada burrito. Served with guacamole and salsa this burrito is nothing to write home about but also is not terrible, and from the students I interviewed and the yelp reviews I have looked over they all have come to a consensus that Ronaldo’s Taco Shop is decent, nothing too good, nothing too bad.
The wait times are usually around 15 minutes which is not bad but something to consider and usually do not get too busy during lunch time.
I will say that, although they’re portion sizes are probably the biggest out of any of the restaurants reviewed, they are still too pricey for the quality of food that you get. I would much rather go to The Empanada Maker and get something for the same price for a, arguably, better meal in, usually, a faster time.
The food tastes the exact same to that of other Taco Bells you would go to, expect fast food level Mexican food. The one major problem I have with it is the size and how busy it gets, it gets absolutely packed at lunch time. If you are planning on ordering something inside, good luck trying to get back to school in time.
The good thing is the prices are cheap so if you really want to go off campus and have a small amount of money to buy something you can try to go here, although at that point I would just get one of our lunches that are free to everyone. So I would just say to avoid Taco Bell as an option for off-campus school lunch.
Then there’s Starbucks. I would recommend this to anyone who does not really want something to eat, maybe they only want a pastry or something, but mainly wants some coffee to re-energize them. This Starbucks does usually get packed during lunchtime but you should be able to easily get through it by lunchtime.
I do not really see Starbucks as an actual contender as a place if you would actually want to eat something as their sandwiches are very light and pretty pricey. It is much more cost efficient to order your desired beverage from Starbucks and then go to whatever restaurant to get the rest of the food, although depending on the restaurant it may be hard to do both before the bell rings.
So the verdict on Starbucks is, if you really want a drink from there, get it, but if you want something else I would highly encourage you to go somewhere else afterwards or in general.