The newest additions to the rapidly growing North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood are six restaurants that aim to bring diverse flavors to campus. Dining options will range from Middle-Eastern street food selections at Tahini to UCSD alumni-run Blue Bowl. The restaurants are expected to arrive during Fall Quarter 2021.
Once open, restaurants will be required to adhere to San Diego County’s COVID-19 reopening regulations, which include training employees to stay at home when sick and meeting sanitization standards. These will be enforced by Campus Health and Safety officials. Restaurants such as Blue Bowl, which boasts customizable and healthy dining options, also plan on temporarily shifting their ordering service online to encourage social distancing.
The list of local restaurants also includes Copa Vida Café, which focuses on creating an environment that encourages connection and conversation; Fan-Fan, which serves authentic flavors from China’s Hunan province; Shōwa Ramen, a restaurant offering modern interpretations of classic Japanese dishes and Plant Power, providing healthy and environmentally-conscious interpretations of fast-food classics.
The university aims to get to the heart of “the San Diego experience” through its curation of the wide array of local options available. The Campus Retail Council, composed of staff from university departments including Student Affairs, UC San Diego Health and Campus Planning as well as members of Associated Students of UCSD (ASUCSD) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA), was in charge of the restaurant selection process. The council considered several criteria, informed by student preference surveys and focus groups, that accounted for “cuisine authenticity and diversity,” and “provision of cuisine currently lacking on campus,” among other factors.
Jeff Graham, executive director of real estate said in a statement to The Triton, “There was also an effort to bring high-quality offerings with more affordable pricing for everyone.” To increase accessibility for the campus community, the restaurants will also accept Triton Cash.
Blue Bowl Superfoods — a restaurant which serves nutritious and personalizable bowls to its customers — is excited to occupy the new space.
“It is a bit of a surreal and special opportunity to be bringing the product and food we love to our fellow Triton community,” Teague Savitch, one of the company’s co-founders, explains. Recalling his undergraduate experience at the university, he said, “At a place like UCSD you quickly realize how many different academic paths there are and it’s about finding the path that fits you best. Similarly, with Blue Bowl, it’s all about finding that bowl combination that fits you best.”
In the long term, the university hopes the six dining areas will contribute to the North Torrey Pines Neighborhood’s mission of connecting communities and cultures surrounding UCSD to campus faculty and students. One way they will accomplish this is through architecture according to Graham.
To encourage socializing, restaurants have large attached outdoor spaces along the Ridge Walk. “The neighborhood is both a home for residents and a draw for visitors,” Graham says. In the center of it all, “[the] restaurants provide a fun and vibrant collection of gathering spaces to enjoy great food.”
The new restaurants will aim to serve as hallmarks of cultural diversity in the North Torrey Pines Neighborhood. In addition, they hope to represent San Diego’s vibrant food scene, which is regularly top-ranked in the United States. Despite the current pandemic, no delays are expected to interfere with the opening of these restaurants.
Sarvani Kolachana is a staff writer for The Triton.