Getting your fill of food around campus
Words and Photos by Bailey Mount Managing Editor
I’ve been covering three restaurants a week to compile a comprehensive freshman’s guide to cheap food in Long Beach. The rule is that they can’t have meals going over $20, they can’t be chain restaurants, and they can’t be more than 30 minutes from campus by bus. This week, I was a little short on time, so my food forays didn’t take me too far from home.
Breakfast: Fantastic Café
This place is right off Studebaker Road. If you’re on campus, it’s only a fourteen minute walk from the USU, almost like walking from the Pyramid to the University Theater. Sweating a little prepares you for the heavy food you’re about to eat.
Given its proximity to residential areas, the place is always packed. The radio station is set to play 70s and 80s music most of the time. It’s the old diners in movies made flesh. You never knew you’d actually find one.
The servers aren’t friendly like the movies, but this food makes up for their brusqueness. The waffles taste like the ones your parents used to make you. They come Belgian style, even if you don’t ask.
Quite simply, this place feels like home - a place where breakfast is served all day.
Lunch: Delightful Crêpes Café
Right across the street from “Fantastic Café” is this little delight. In comparison to the breakfast location, this place looks like it should belong in downtown on 2nd street or maybe even at 4th. It showcases tasteful French decor and even local musical talents on specific nights during the week.
It’s a lovely place to go if you’re looking to catch up with a friend without all the usual city hustle and bustle. The servers are sweet, leaving you to your conversations. Of course, the place is known for its eponymous crepes, but the menu hosts a variety of different foods and even more varieties of different crêpes.
Overall, “Delightful Crêpes Café” manages to provide both a pleasing atmosphere and pleasing food, something a fair amount of restaurants in Long Beach can’t boast.
Dinner: Great Mex Grill
Located a cool 8 minutes from campus by bus, “Great Mex Grill” is the perfect dive to drop in on if you’ve forgotten that the dining hall closes at 7:30 on the weekends.
It looks nothing like your average Mexican restaurant; in that, it gets its charm. Despite looking like it ought to serve sushi, the “Great Mex Grill” offers up the traditional Mexican menu with some American food as side options.
The servers are pretty good at remembering faces with orders. Which is good, because there’s no established number or calling system for them.
In the culinary field, they fall a little flat. Specify what tortilla you want when you order, or they’ll just pick one. The prices seem a little steep for the grungy quality of the food.
It’s a good place for a quick pick-me-up between classes. Other than that, you’re better off at “Cantarito” or somewhere else.