Today, I’m thinking about all the restaurants around USC that I’ll miss dearly when I graduate in a few months. Are these the absolute best places to eat across all of LA? Probably not, but stuff like Nobu is expensive anyway. Have they been an integral part of my USC experience? Absolutely. Without further ado, here’s the list:


  1. Taco Zone
    • Familiarly called Taco Zone because it’s located right next to an Auto Zone, this pop-up Mexican eatery serves the most delicious al pastor you’ll ever have. This year, I live only a few hundred feet from it, and let’s just say it wasn’t a non-factor in my deciding to live in this area.
  2. Honeybird
    • This is definitely my favorite spot in the Village for a meal (Cava and Dulce are punching the air right now, I’m sure). It’s a bit on the pricey side, but their spicy chicken sandwich is easily worth the cash.
  3. Bird’s Nest Café
    • I only discovered Bird’s Nest last year, but it’s seriously delicious! Great breakfast and lunch food, awesome mural on the outside and inside, and plenty of healthy options. Everything you want in a café. A little bit of a hidden gem compared to others on this list.
  4. Spudnuts
    • Literally the holy grail of breakfast food. If you don’t like Spudnuts, I probably don’t like you. This place truly brings me inner peace, and I think it could end the pandemic if it tried to. Seriously, go here. My order is the #10 (sausage/egg/cheese croissant).
  5. Panda Express on-campus
    • Outside-the-box pick because it’s so inside-the-box, but I’m forever a Panda Express stan. There’s nothing like stopping by for a quick Panda bowl between classes when you don’t quite have the time to go home. It’s come in clutch given all the evening classes I’ve had through PDP.


I sincerely hope that you, the prospective student (in theory) reading this, will someday arrive to campus and share in the joy that these places have given me and countless other Trojans.

Derek Jones

Derek Jones

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Los Gatos, California PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @dmannjones On campus I have conducted environmental engineering research on water distillation methods, and you can currently find me serving as Vice President of my social fraternity and playing on the club volleyball team.

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