Hospitality transforms loading dock into newest dining facility
URBNMRKT, pronounced urban market, named for its hip, urban atmosphere, is USC Hospitality’s newest addition to the university’s dining option and is now open for business.
Located at 3434 S. Grand Ave. in USC’s Grand Avenue Library, the dining facility held its grand opening Wednesday. URBNMRKT will serve fresh, made-to-order breakfast and lunch and will also include separate salad, sandwich and coffee bars for students on the run.
Though the location is not on campus, Executive Chef Thomas Moran said URBNMRKT is meant both for the employees who work in the neighborhood and for students
“We’re here to serve students,” Moran said. “There’s options for students who want lunch on-the-go, but also a nice area for them to sit down and eat.”
While students said they were interested in what URBNMRKT has to offer, many say they are put off by the long walk.
“I wouldn’t walk 15 minutes down Jefferson,” said Caitlin Mouton, a senior majoring in history. “Honestly, I feel The Lot has good things, and I feel the campus already has so many dining options we don’t even know about.”
Moran noted that the dining facility also offers a new option for USC employees.
“We own all the buildings in the area, and we also wanted to serve Facilities Management, so the location made sense,” Moran said.
The location, previously a loading dock, is one of URBNMRKT’s most distinguishing features. With actual loading docks and numbers worked into the décor and a photo of the old loading dock adorning the entrance, URBNMRKT embraces its warehouse past.
URBNMRKT, like a number of USC’s other dining facilities, will include to-go sandwiches and a soup of the day, but will also include options not available in other dining facilities, like salmon, wraps and a choice of veggies and fresh fruit during lunch. Also, it serves breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, croissants and bagels during morning breakfast hours. It’s also a fully functioning tech center, with flat screen TVs, music and projection television during big games.
Kara Alter, a senior majoring in communication, likes the idea, but isn’t convinced.
“I feel out of USC’s comfort zone,” she said. “They should put that place in the new commons because we need a breakfast place — a place that serves pancakes and other breakfast food.”
There have been a number of recent additions to USC dining facilities, including the opening of McKay’s, Rosso Oro’s Pizzeria and The Lab on Figueroa Street. Next on the menu is the renovation of residential dining hall Everybody’s Kitchen.
“I can’t wait to start on EVK,” Moran, who’s also the executive chef for the majority of USC’s dining facilities, said. “It should be fun.”
URBNMRKT’s current hours run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., but they hope to extend their hours as they expand, offering dinner options as well as a full wine bar.