Locally-owned wings eatery and sports bar Dirty Birds will take over the space formerly occupied by Round Table Pizza in Price Center. The University Centers Advisory Board (UCAB) announced the new vendor at its Tuesday meeting.
Dirty Birds is best known for its 37 flavors of wing sauce. Besides wings, it also serves pizza, appetizers, salads, tacos, and burgers.
The chain, a San Diego staple since 2008, was Silicon Valley actor and UCSD alumnus Jimmy Yang’s pick for “America’s Favorite Neighborhood Restaurants.” According to University Centers Director Sharon Van Bruggen, it has been awarded “Best Wings” by San Diego City Beat for seven straight years.
The Price Center location will be Dirty Birds’ fifth in the region. Its current locations are in Pacific Beach, near San Diego State University (SDSU), and by the Liberty Station public market, with a fourth location coming soon to Ocean Beach.
Those locations feature weekday happy hour specials with half-priced wings and cheaper beer, wine, and cocktails. The UC San Diego restaurant, which will be open seven days a week, will have a smaller menu and only serve beer and wine.
“Dirty Birds provides a welcoming ‘sports bar feel’ that the selection committee thought would build a social and active environment within the space,” said UCAB Chair Alex Morrow. “One of the reasons we selected Dirty Birds was, in part, due to their great daily specials at their other three locations.”
It is not clear when Dirty Birds will move into the Round Table space, which is currently undergoing renovation. The search for a replacement has been going on since at least May 2017. Negotiations with the selected vendor, now known to be Dirty Birds, began after February 2018.
“We learned about an opportunity arising on campus and that you guys are looking for a new vendor,” PJ Cagnina, general manager of the SDSU Dirty Birds, told The Triton. “We’re San Diego-born, so we thought, what better than to be on campus somewhere? So we applied for it and we ended up winning, and we’re super excited.”
For 28 years, Round Table Pizza was a popular spot among students watching sports, especially soccer. It also hosted casual Greek Life events on Friday afternoons. Since the pizzeria’s June closure, Home Plate in RIMAC Annex has been the only place on campus to watch live sports.
“I guess you guys have a big soccer crowd,” Cagnina said. “And if you [want] to watch football games, I’ll absolutely do some football specials…We’ve got some fun, creative ideas that we’re kicking around right now.”
Morrow also suggested that as the UCSD Tritons transition to NCAA Division I, the space could be used to show live Triton matches.
The renovations to the space will include adding televisions to the patio area, which will continue to be operated by University Centers. Van Bruggen described the transformation as a “park-like setting with a variety of outdoor dining and lounge seating [that] will welcome guests to Price Center.”
While Soda & Swine moves into the former Porter’s Pub building, Home Plate, Shogun of La Jolla, and Zanzibar Café at The Loft are the only places on the west campus that serve alcoholic drinks. Round Table had a variety of local and domestic beers on tap, which Dirty Birds looks to replace and augment.
In May, UCAB also recommended reevaluating Zanzibar and Shogun’s leases when they expire in 2020. The Shogun space is expected to require renovation. Since March, the university has partnered with real estate firm Next Wave Commercial to bring regional favorites to fill campus restaurant spaces.
“I went to San Diego State, unfortunately a different school, but I still went to school in San Diego,” Cagnina said. “I kind of have a feel for what I enjoyed about campus life, and I want to give you guys the same opportunity.”
Rohan Grover is an Assistant News Editor for The Triton. You can follow him on Twitter @rohangro.
Correction: This article was updated on Oct. 26, 2018 at 11:55 p.m. A previous version of the article suggested vendors Zanzibar and Shogun would be replaced indefinitely.