May 27, 2023

New experiences, favors and exotic food options are not always what one might expect when going to California Baptist University’s Alumni Dining Commons. However, with the new Obscure Eats pop-up restaurant series, students now have that option.

Obscure Eats is now a weekly occurrence at CBU, taking place every Sunday night from 5—8 p.m. This is the latest opportunity for students to branch out in their dining options within the convenience of on-campus dining.

Immediately upon entering on a Sunday, it is obvious the ADC is not the same environment it is during the rest of the week. Not only is no meal swipe required at the door, but a majority of the cafeteria dining area is closed off and covered with dark curtains.

All meal options, which include an entree, dessert and drink, can be paid for with meal swipes, dining dollars, cash or credit.

All food included is prepared in a way that it can be taken to-go, but there is still the option for students to sit and enjoy their meal in the cafeteria.

Overall, students seem to be receptive and enthusiastic about this new program.

Kayla Josephson, senior psychology major, noted the importance of providing students with multiple food options on campus.

“It provides more variety; it can get tiring going to the same places,” Josephson said.

Kipp Dougherty, director of Food Services, emphasized how this was a motivating factor when deciding to bring the experience of pop-up restaurants to campus.

“The overall idea was to create some additional fun, non-traditional experiences for students,” Dougherty said.

Pop-up restaurants provide limited-time offers for a variety of food options and are popular around the world in many diverse locations and settings.

The motivating factors behind choosing Sunday nights, Dougherty said, originated from observing students’ dining habits.

“Students spend more time at Sunday dinner compared to other nights of the week,” Dougherty said. “Students have expressed their desire to see different options offered.”

At the Alumni Dining Commons during Obscure Eats, normal food options close down and a variety of different choices take their place. These include poke bowls, ramen, wings and more.

Another new addition is the “PI–2– GO” option on Tapingo. Students can use a meal swipe or dining dollars to pay for the pizza and then pick it up at the ADC during the Obscure Eats hours on Sunday nights.

Jaqueline Nunez, senior sociology major, said she appreciated the convenience of this unique style of dining.

“The thing that stood out to me the most was how similar it looked to Briscos, Wandas and Foodology because you could eat there or get take-out,” Nunez said.

Nunez also emphasized how difficult it can be for students with dietary restrictions to find food options on campus, but she was still able to find something at Obscure Eats that was vegan-and vegetarian-friendly.

“I got a poke bowl with tofu and it was really good,” Nunez said. “It would be good to have more options for vegetarians or vegans.”

Not only does this style of dining give students the opportunity to experience new and unusual on-campus food selections, but is also a helpful testing tool for staff and management.

It provides a chance for new foods to be tested to determine their success and popularity among CBU’s student population.

Some options that are now only available once a week could potentially become a regular part of CBU cuisine if it gains enough popularity.

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