Restaurant openings around campus entice students with more affordable options

USC students have two new dining options: a Dunkin’ in Gateway and a new sandwich shop in the Village.

A photo of the outside of Dunkin', in University Gateway with a student walking wearing a USC red shirt

USC students are excited about the opening of a new Dunkin’ at Gateway and The Sammiche Shoppe at the USC Village, adding different and affordable new options to the current slate of campus eateries.

While The Sammiche Shop had a “soft” opening on September 20, the Dunkin’ location is operating in full with hours from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday. Yet, both locations drew attention — and a crowd — from the community.

“I actually like that they’re doing a Dunkin’ because they have a Starbucks, but I think [Dunkin’ is] more affordable,” said Serena Cooper, a sophomore psychology major.

Dunkin’, a major international chain, sells an array of donuts, breakfast items and coffee beverages. This Dunkin’ location will also have kiosk ordering, which may expedite the ordering experience.

Other students were ambivalent to the opening.

“[There are] so many Starbucks available, and I have tried and true orders,” said Camilla Beldham, a graduate law student.

Other students hesitated about the location, rather than the shop itself.

“Although it’s at Gateway, I’m not sure I’m gonna venture out all the way to Gateway to get some donuts,” said Jason Carr, a second year business administration major. While a far walk for some students, Carr said that it’s “nice to have the option.”

But that is not a problem for The Sammiche Shoppe, which is located in the Village. The Sammiche Shoppe’s official hours have yet to be determined, but the store will open officially on Monday, September 26. Students will also be able to find The Sammiche Shoppe on Grubhub, Doordash and their own personal ordering system.

The owner, Willie Jenkins Jr., already has a location in Inglewood. On the soft opening, Jenkins said that he and his team were “using this as a learning experience so we can get it right on the first day.”

According to Jenkins, The Sammiche Shoppe specializes in air-fried chicken, with its signature menu item being the Lucy Mae Fried Chicken Sandwich (also available as a spicy chicken sandwich). The restaurant does have vegan options for sandwiches and other items.

With his restaurants, Jenkins wants to place an emphasis on hearty eating that can still be healthy, a concept his father inspired with his career as a construction worker. “I know my father always used to say construction is feast or famine. Yeah, but people always have to eat… so based off of that premise, I wanted to do something but make it a little bit healthier, you know, because my father died at 47 of a heart attack.”

The Sammiche Shoppe’s opening will add an affordable option to Village’s collection of restaurants. “We range anywhere from about $9 on the low end, actually $7 because we do a hot link sandwich… and we can go up to about $12 or so,” Jenkins said regarding the restaurant’s prices.

Students can find the menu on the restaurant’s website.

Discussing the restaurant options in the Village, Beldham pointed to a lack of non-meat options. “I’m vegetarian and there’s not [many] vegetarian options,” she said, but noted that the Village is “convenient and gets people outside and together.”

Carr said that he “would really love affordable options that are all like pretty healthy.” Students may find that The Sammiche Shop fulfills both requests.