Whether you’ve got your card loaded up with meal swipes and dining dollars or are still a little new to campus, here’s a breakdown to the many on-campus dining options USC has to offer.
First up: The dining halls. Most freshmen must purchase a large meal plan with many or unlimited meal swipes used at EVK, Parkside and Cafe 84. All dining halls serve food in an “all you can eat” buffet manner, complete with food stations that make custom orders like stirfry. Their website or Facebook page lists theme nights as well; the restaurant transforms itself for the night and serves food authentic to a culture or nationality.
All dining halls offer students daily with options ranging from salad bars and sandwich stations to American comfort food like pasta, pizza, and burgers. Most other hot foods vary by night and hall; for example, one hall may be having a sandwich melt station while another dining hall is serving Chinese food such as orange chicken, rice, and noodles.
But if you get tired of the same old sights and tastes of the halls (which may very well happen soon), put your discretionary and dining dollars to good use! The Ronald Tutor Campus Center hosts the perfect outdoor and indoor seating and dining area for students to enjoy meals, snacks and coffee while mingling with friends. On the lower level, students can dine at Seeds, one of my personal favorites, and order a preset or customized salad or sandwich. Seeds also offers homestyle food like mashed potatoes and sweets like cupcakes and gelato. In a rush to get to class? You can grab a premade or packaged snack or beverage and hit the registers as well.
Inside the center on the bottom floor, students can fulfill their fastfood cravings. Students can use their funds at The Habit, Verde, Panda Express and California Pizza Kitchen. In need of an iced coffee to cool off before heading back outside? Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is located right inside the center as well to your left as you walk in.
Seen those really big and magnificent stairs at Ronald Tutor as well? Take them straight up and you’ll find another great but pricier dining option. Lemonade is a great way to get a little bit of everything you want in a meal. The restaurant boasts a variety of fresh, seasonal salads (the Brussels Sprout & Parmesan Salad is one of my favorites), “land and sea” options, hot portions such as soup and mac n’ cheese, sandwiches and more. I usually skip the meat as it’s a little pricey, and indulge instead on something more flavorfully extravagant such as the butternut squash soup. The end of the line is the best —red velvet cupcakes, macaroons and, most importantly, the lemonade await. Though Lemonade is a fresh and vibrant dining option, just be wary of its heavier pricing.
TroGro, LiteraTea, Nekter and more
A few other places that card money is worth using on include TroGro (the 24-hour Starbucks on campus), LiteraTea, Nekter, Little Galen and the Cafe inside of the Wallis Annenberg Hall building. As the year goes on, you’ll be sure to run into a few more hidden dining options and gems on campus that are crannied into certain buildings. Head to USC Hospitality for a full list of on-campus dining options. Don’t let your dining, discretionary or meal swipes go to waste!
Happy dining, Trojans!