For many seniors, lunch is a sacred opportunity to cram into a car, speed off campus and search for munchies at beloved local restaurants and convenience stores in the area. Senior Roan Howard (he/him) likes to leave campus for lunch because it is often a better deal compared to school lunch.
“For school lunch, Safeway grocery store’s cheap. The Wendy’s ‘Four for Four’ — oh my god. Great deal,” Howard said. “And then Mickey D’s, because if you have the app, you can get things for free.”
Senior Liam Shalom (he/him) agrees with Howard’s sentiments on finding affordable options for lunch. Shalom often pays visits to Tacos el Guero, a local Mexican restaurant that is his favorite off-campus lunch spot. Tacos el Guero has Taco Tuesday specials where tacos cost $2, a discounted price compared to their regular $3 tacos.
“Like I said, the Taco Tuesdays: they go kind of hard,” said Shalom.
For Howard, the choice of bringing lunch from home became one that he no longer considered after elementary school, when a traumatic confrontation ruined the experience for him.
“One time in elementary school — well, it’s a pretty emotional story. I was eating lunch, and it was one of my first times bringing lunch from home. And some kid — I won’t name his name — ripped my lunchbox out of my hand. And he threw it in the garbage,” recounted Howard, as a single tear slipped down his face. “Why? Why did he do that? I don’t know.”
Eating with a group makes it harder to stay on budget when chilling off campus. Senior Alivia Chambers (she/her) recalled that she once spent $50 at McDonald’s while going out with her friends during school lunch.
“I have three close friends of mine, and they’re like giants, they’re like six foot two,” said Chambers. “And so they’re eating like five hamburgers and they’re just plain; they just get it with cheese and they want nuggets.”
Although the best lunch spots are widely considered to be off campus, good grub can be found around campus as well. Senior Siddharth Manika said he often spends a lot of money on food from the DECA store.
“I love the DECA store. The DECA store loves me,” said Manika with a fond smile.
Some students, if they’re lucky, have the opportunity of finding adventure during lunch off-campus, including getting banned from Safeway.
“There were some activities happening at Safeway that were slightly illegal, so a friend of ours is not allowed at any Safeway in America for the rest of his life,” recounted Manika.
Chambers elaborated on a number of these events, such as a minor car accident (which she referred to as a love bump) and a particularly poignant lunchtime moment on campus.
“I’d say my top tier back to school [lunch spot] from COVID would probably be the girls bathroom floor,” Chambers said. “[Once] I was eating Goldfish in there, I got my tarot card reading by freshmen and it was amazing. I’d do it again.”