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ASUCLA announces revamp of on-campus dining options, on-campus meal swipes

Pictured is the storefront of one of the new restaurant locations operated by ASUCLA. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Dylan Winward

Oct. 10, 2023 7:01 p.m.

This post was updated Oct. 10 at 10:46 p.m.

Associated Students UCLA announced new on-campus dining options for this academic year, including two new restaurants.

ASUCLA opened the açaí bowl shop SAMBAZON in Ackerman Student Union, a Chocolate Vanilla Twist soft serve ice cream location at Northern Lights and All Rise Pizza at Lu Valle Commons. Other dining locations also underwent branding changes, menu revamps and renovations across the campus this summer.

North Campus coffeehouses Cafe 451 in the Charles E. Young Research Library and Jimmy’s at Lu Valle Commons changed their branding from Intelligentsia to Peet’s Coffee. In an emailed statement, Cindy Bolton, the director of ASUCLA restaurants, said fruit infusers, kombucha drinks and new pastries were also added to some coffee house locations.

In the statement, Bolton said ASUCLA has worked to ensure that all areas of the campus saw some changes to their dining provisions. ASUCLA has revamped the appearance of Taco Bell in Ackerman Student Union and the menu at Fusion in the Court of Sciences Student Center by adding fish, shrimp, chicken and tofu comfort food options, she said.

“We have just completed many changes we’ve been working on all summer to launch for Fall Quarter,” she said in the statement. “Taking care to consider all of our locations, we have something new and improved throughout all the campus regions.”

In an email to on-campus residents, UCLA Housing announced that students would be able to use an on-campus meal plan swipe to receive $9 of credit at any ASUCLA restaurant location, a program that replaced meal vouchers this year. The policy differs from last year because students no longer need to exchange their swipes for paper tickets at residence hall front desks before using them at ASUCLA restaurants.

Students expressed excitement about some of the changes to dining options.

DeAnna Christensen, a second-year law student, said that even though she wasn’t sure what Jimmy’s Coffeehouse poured before the transition, she was excited about the shop’s change to serving Peet’s.

Morgan Bracewell, a graduate advisor in the economics department, also said she was excited about the change in the coffee branding because she feels as though Peet’s coffee tastes better. However, she added that she feels the lines have gotten longer because of the change.

“It’s way more crowded – the line is way longer,” Bracewell said.

In an emailed statement, Stephanie Slye, the senior manager for key accounts for Peet’s, said although Peet’s branded coffee houses are operated by ASUCLA, they offer most options available at ordinary Peet’s locations, including seasonal drinks five times a year. She added that the only exception was that Cafe 451 would not offer blended drinks in order to avoid disruption to students studying in the library.

Cynthia Rodriguez, a fourth-year design media arts student, said she was excited about All Rise Pizza opening at Lu Valle Commons because it often has short lines. She added that speed is a key consideration when deciding what to eat on campus.

“I think that’s pretty cool – it’s something different,” Rodriguez said.

Bolton said in the statement that ASUCLA decided to open an açaí place because of low student demand for Sweetspot, which occupied the same site for 30 years until it closed this summer. She added that the small size and physical infrastructure of the site made options for a new restaurant limited.

Colin Casey, a third-year physics student, said he was trying SAMBAZON for the first time after it was recommended to him. He added that even though the food seemed good, he felt its offerings were expensive.

Evelyn Navarrete Gomez, a first-year human biology and society student, said she was also excited to see new healthy options, including SAMBAZON, on campus.

“I think it’s great. I love açaí – I’m from San Diego, and there’s really good açaí spots over there,” she said. “It’s my first time trying it (SAMBAZON) too.”


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Dylan Winward | Features and student life editor
Winward is the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. He was previously a News reporter for campus politics and features and student life. He is also a second-year English literature and statistics student.
Winward is the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. He was previously a News reporter for campus politics and features and student life. He is also a second-year English literature and statistics student.
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