As I sit at home amidst the Covid-19 pandemic in Townsend, Delaware, I find myself missing the variety of food options that USC has to offer on its University Park Campus. Some days, before the pandemic occurred, I spent a large amount of time introducing my peers to new food spots. I made sure that we went to different locations for lunch so that they could truly see the number of options given to them. Most of my friends are sophomores, like me, and even after almost four semesters, we managed to find new places and new items to satisfy our foodie desires.
Besides the dining halls, when most people visit USC, they are introduced to main eateries such as the food court or Seeds Marketplace in TCC and The Village dining options. Included below will be the lesser-known food locations that range from sandwiches to Asian cuisine. All food locations listed accept dining and discretionary dollars. They also accept major credit and debit cards.
*Word of Advice: If you choose to pay for your meal without using your USC card, it is good to still give it to the cashier because it waives the tax charged on your food. This privilege is only at on-campus dining locations and not accepted at other dining locations like The Village.
For the 9 different food locations below, I will include a brief summary of their food style and then a few specific food items. Also, the three-letter codes beside each food location allow USC students to use the campus map and find exactly where that destination is.
Let’s get into it!
Quick Pick Me ups:
The quick pick me ups include locations on campus that offer grab and go sandwiches, pastries, coffee, and snacks.
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (SCA)
- It features handcrafted tea and espresso drinks, as well as hot, iced, or blended beverages. My go-to drink is a Malibu Dream, which is a strawberry, banana, and vanilla iced blended.
*It is located within the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), which also features the Hugh M. Hefner Exhibition Hall, which houses special exhibitions throughout the year curated by the cinema library.
Starbucks at Café 84 (KOH)
- Located directly next to the Lyon center lies a Starbucks, whose main feature is the abundance of study space that is open 24/7. In addition, if you go one level up you will find an even quieter location, King’s hall, that is perfect for an all-day grind.
The Café Featuring Illy (ANN)
- In a location, students deem New Annenberg, is the Illy Café, that offers an Italian style bistro, with a selection of coffees, juices, fresh fruit cups, baguettes, and breakfast sandwiches.
- When I have a craving for something sweet, I tend to stop in here to get gelato, macarons, or tiramisu. It doesn’t help that the cafe is very accessible by being placed in one of the most traveled locations on campus.
*Illy’s location in New Annenberg has surrounded my optimal study locations inside the building as well as an outdoor courtyard.
- It is nicely tucked away towards the back of Doheny Library and has its own entrance, making it the perfect location to grab a quick snack or coffee when studying.
Popovich Café (JKP)
- Have you ever stumbled upon a hidden gem? Because that is what it felt like I did when I first found this café. Nicely tucked away by the Marshall School of business and across from the Alumni House, is this cafe that seamlessly blends a well-lit workspace, with a Mediterranean inspired sandwich cuisine.
- The cafe also provides acai bowls from Sambazon, and Illy coffee. It also features an outdoor and indoor sitting area.
C&G Juice Co. (HAR)
- My favorite place to get an acai bowl on and off-campus. They offer customizable bowls and even have smoothies. I tend to make a stop here most mornings and if I feel adventurous enough I get a ginger-shot for an immune boost before I start my day.
- This venue also has exclusive meals and sandwiches from a local company, Positive Foods. It features a plethora of vegan options, as well as pastries and sushi.
*Customers are able to buy a mason jar and can choose to have their smoothie made in the jar. Each time you bring the mason jar back it takes a dollar of your purchase.
These food locations, feature Pan Asian cuisine and desserts to match. Two of the locations also sell coffee as they are housed within specialized buildings.
Fertitta Café (JFF)
- My absolute favorite dining location on campus. During my freshman year, I lived in Marks Tower which is part of South Residential, and directly behind Marks is the Marshall School of Business which houses Fertitta Café. I spend most of my dining dollars at this café and happily do so.
- It features a made to order sushi bar, as well as bao and bánh mÌ sandwiches, dim sum, Asian salads, noodles, and rice bowls. It also has unique drinks and sodas, like guava passion fruit and mango nectar. My go-to order is a chicken white-rice bowl, with rolled eggs, green and crunchy onions, peppers, and carrots; topped with gochujang sauce and spicy mayo.
*This location sells authentic Asian snacks like pocky, Japanese candy, and custom Asian desserts.
Tutor Hall Café (RTH)
- Located in the heart of Viterbi, is the Tutor Hall Café. It offers Indian food, such as Tikka Masala and Chicken Vindaloo. It also has a sandwich and salad location. The Tutor Hall Café has a little bit of everything, as it also features a convenience store section that sells various drinks and snacks and a specialized coffee and pastry section.
- Whenever I have classes around Viterbi, Tutor Hall Café is my go-to meal spot.
*On the second floor of RTH is a study space, and on the ground floor to the back of the cafe is an outdoor seating area.
Law School Café (LAW)
- USC’s campus is surrounded by great boba tea options, but if you need a quick fix and have no time to leave campus, the Law School Café is the place.
- It serves rice bowls and has a reputable Salmon bowl that numerous people have raved to me about.