University Town Center Eating Habits

Vincent Tsai, Staff Writer

Students at UHS that watch football games tend to gather in places like the University Town Center (UTC) to have fun and eat dinner after a game. The rush after a football game to get to UTC is always exciting, with dozens of students making the mad rush off campus. However, among the wide selection of restaurants to choose from, UHS students have conflicting opinions on which is the best option for a post-football game meal. Now that the season has ended, here’s a look back at what the most popular spots at UTC were among students. 

UTC is a diverse plaza located across the UCI campus and is a convenient 20-minute walk from UHS. Students can get boba and fast food, dine in, watch a movie, shop at multiple stores and even buy groceries. The plaza is such a regular stop for some students that some have a go-to restaurant that they like to eat at every time they go to UTC.

“Gyutan Ramen is my favorite place to eat when I go to UTC,” sophomore Christy Xu said. “I also get Cha for Tea whenever I go to UTC.”

Gyutan Ramen is a small Japanese dine-in restaurant specializing in ramen and curry and is a favorite for other students as well

After football games, I can go [to Gyutan Ramen] to not only soothe my throat from shouting but also settle down with my friends to wrap up the night,” junior Alex Liu said.

In addition to offering tasty options, Gyutan Ramen is a great way for students to recuperate from the excessive cheering at football games with a sit-in style layout and comfortable atmosphere. However, some students prefer loud and bustling restaurants, such as Chick-fil-A. 

“I like to go to Chick-fil-A because the food hits the spot after a football game, and it is also fun to socialize in the busy environment,” sophomore Chloe Schiffman said.

Many students enjoy getting food from their respective restaurants and then meeting at Chick-fil-A to talk and socialize with one another. One restaurant, in particular, provides very convenient takeout and is one of my personal favorites in UTC. This restaurant is California Gogi Grill, a Korean spot that serves bibimbap-style bowls, stacked with customizable meat options and side dishes. The restaurant has a more casual style, in which the bowl is assembled in front of you, and is best explained by sophomore Hannah Kusumo as an Asian version of Chipotle.

Another location with a ‘make-your-own-bowl’ style service is Poke Kai, a poke restaurant just around the corner from California Gogi Grill. 

“Poke Kai is my favorite restaurant because I love the feeling of refreshing food after the grueling walk from University High School,” sophomore Katelyn Xu said.

One of the best things to have with a filling meal, no matter what type of cuisine it is, is a refreshing cold drink. UTC is a large plaza, so it has three different competing boba stores: Share Tea, Pink Pig and Cha for Tea. Among the people interviewed, most people prefer Cha for Tea because of its Mango Green Tea, even though it lacks a selection of strong drinks. However, the relatively newly opened and next fan-favorite Pink Pig provides a selection of well-rounded beverages that contain fruits and additions like chocolate.

“Going to Pink Pig is a great choice to complement my refreshing meal,” Katelyn Xu said. “I like to get the peach fruit tea.”

Though Katelyn Xu enjoys the fruity drink that Pink Pink offers, the taste of the Mango Green tea takes the cake for her.

“I love to go to Cha for Tea whenever I go to UTC because of the Mango Green Tea,” Christy Xu said.

All the food at UTC is great. However, the conflict over which restaurant or shop is the best is still undecided. Many places, such as Gyutan Ramen, Chick-Fil-A and Gogi seem to attract loyal customers because their food and atmosphere appeal to different tastes and needs. It seems that the answer to what the best restaurant at UTC is remains for the consumer to decide.