By SAN AGARWAL
In the past year, a number of new food shops have opened at the University Town Center (UTC). The earlier additions, such as Chipotle, Blaze Pizza and Tendergreens, have been received favorably, but more recently the UTC decided to take expansion one step further. In one month, Chick-Fil-A, Stax Cookie Bar and Eureka all opened. Like Chipotle and Blaze Pizza, these places have also been booming with business, but what does the popularity mean for the rest of the restaurants? Will other food places close down because of the competition?
The increase in the number of stores seems to be making the UTC a more popular place. Not only are more people coming but also the number of available parking spots have significantly reduced since these three stores opened; in fact, parking is nearly impossible during lunch and dinner.
The larger influx of people clearly impacts the locals who go to the UTC daily. Rodrigo San Roman (Jr.) said, “These new food stores are great because now we have more variety, but parking is horrible and often results in me being late to my class.” For University High School (UHS) students who frequent the UTC for lunch fairly often, the previously quick process of parking, grabbing lunch, and making it back to school in thirty minutes is more complicated. It now takes longer to park because the spots outside of Trader Joe’s are almost always completely full, the spots outside the University Tower are filled by its employees, the spots closest to Cha for Tea and Yogurtland are taken by those sampling Eureka or Stax, and parking near In-N-Out or Chick-fil-A is practically nonexistent.
Personally, even though parking is a bit difficult, and the overpopulation is a bit of an inconvenience, I believe that adding these stores to the UTC is a great idea and really brings some life to the center. What used to be a shopping center for University of California, Irvine (UCI) students only is now an appealing extravaganza of different dining experiences for those who want to try new restaurants. The variety is clearly better overall for the businesses at the UTC. I just hope the UTC administration does not go overboard and start opening up even more stores.