College cafeteria, a place for students and faculty to eat and relax

Nancy Reynoso, Journalism 2

The cafeteria at the Student Services Center is a place where many Saddleback College students can go to grab a quick snack, enjoy a meal, or hangout on campus.

The cafeteria is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The busiest time is from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The cafeteria might be open this summer, however, due to the remodeling of the Business and General Science building and most classes being held at the village, it has not been decided whether it will be open or not.

Darlene Lu, the manager of the cafeteria, said the type of food they serve is Chinese. They serve other varieties like grilled cheese and other custom made sandwiches.

Diana Lagunas, 22, Psychology, said they had “Great grilled cheese sandwiches and fries.” Brandon Fontaine, 21, Spanish, said they had, “Nice sandwiches and good lettuce.”

Additionally, they serve salads at the salad bar, hamburgers, French fries, pizza, and specials of the day include meatloaf with corn, mashed potato, or spaghetti with meatballs, lasagna with mixed vegetables, hot dogs, and soup.

“Everyday is different. If the cafeteria is having a slow day we do not make too much food. If it is busy we try to make everything,” Lu said. For the coffee lovers, coffee is available at the cafeteria every day. They sell hot chocolate and vanilla coffee. It costs $1.60 for a small cup, a medium is $1.95, and a large size costs $2.25.

Most of the cafeteria’s drinks come from the Coca-Cola Co. “Good drink selections like Guava and Mango juice,” Fontaine said. “They have all the good stuff.” U.S Food is the main supplier for all their packaged foods including the fruit bowls they serve.

“Anything small we go to the grocery store and buy,” Lu said. By anything small she is referring to gum, candy, pastries, and yogurts.

When asked what she thought about the food prices at the cafeteria Lu said, ” Well we don’t increase food prices even though where we purchase the food from does especially now with the bad economy.” She said students had no reason to complain. “Prices are pretty decent,” Fontaine said.

However, Diana Lagunas said, “Chips at the vending machines are less expensive than the ones at the cafeteria.”

Thursday and Friday are the slowest days at the cafeteria because typically students leave early on Thursday, and Friday hardly anyone has school. Lu gave no estimate of how many people visited daily because “Some students do not purchase anything. They just come to look at the cafeteria for a second and leave,” she said.

The college owns the cafeteria.

“We have five to seven employees depending on how busy it is,” Lu said. “Right now the cafeteria is not doing so well because of the lack of students due to the remodeling of the BGS building.”

At the cafeteria students socialize, they use their laptops, eat, do their homework, study, sleep, or listen to their ipod.

“It’s a good place to do your homework,” said Iris Lagunas, 20, Psychology.

Lu has been the manager of the cafeteria since last year. However, she does not know when the cafeteria was first opened and how long it has been around. She assumes the cafeteria has been around since the college first opened in 1968.

She said she does have a few regular customers that go to the cafeteria daily. She likes it when they stop by to say hello.

Lu said the cafeteria is inspected every four or five months. Lu is not sure if the cafeteria has received any awards or recognition, but she did say that they did catering for college events such as scholarship events and graduation.

When asked if she liked the workers at the cafeteria, Iris Lagunas said she felt, “Indifferent towards them.”

Roza Bakhshaeyan, 20, Pharmacy Technician, said one time she was waiting for pizza at the cafeteria and they told her to wait 20 minutes while they made it, but later one of the employees told her that they had run out of pizza. Mrs. Bakhshaeyan said she left hungry and disappointed.

Overall, the cafeteria is a place where staff, faculty, and students may conveniently go to purchase something to eat or relax without leaving the campus.