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The LMU Restaurants We’ve Loved and Lost

The LMU Restaurants We’ve Loved and Lost

When students returned to campus this year, it seemed there had been a death in the family. Roski’s, mostly known as ‘the other cafeteria that’s better than the lair,’ finally closed. The loss echoed other pandemic closures of  LMU favorites like Jamba Juice and Pizza Hut.  Still, few students are aware of the amount of restaurants that have kicked the bucket on campus soil. Here they are:

Roski Cafe (2002-2023)

Roski’s – originally called University Hall Dining Commons – was established in 2000. The menu is almost exactly the same as last year’s when LMU closed Roski’s “due to persistently low patronage and major resource requirements.” However, it’s worth noting that Roski’s was only open till 3pm and closed on the weekend. For now, all that remains of LMU dining in Uhall is Einstein’s Bagels, so if you’ve got class all the way across campus in Uhall and you’re hungry, well…I hope you really, really like bagels and long lines.

Pizza Hut (2015-2021)

Pizza Hut and Mein Bowl were opened side by side in 2015, in the Founders Pavilion where Kikka Sushi and L.A. Blvd now operate. Mein Bowl was left behind in 2017 and Pizza Hut was finally closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.

The Habit Burger Grill (2018-2020)

Photo by Florence McCarthy

Ah, The Habit. Here for a good time, not a long time. It opened in 2018, and two years later Iggy the Lion was named the of the restaurant in order to accommodate the space’s aesthetic shift away from a 1950’s style diner. As for what exactly its new name would be, that was chosen by a student survey. According to Andrew O’Reilly, LMU’s Associate Vice President of Auxilary and Business Services, “Although the submissions ran the gamut of lion-themed puns, it was abundantly clear that students wanted to retain the “Iggy” moniker in the official name. The move from “Iggy’s Diner” to “Iggy’s Cafe” was based on the space’s updated aesthetic, which no longer resembled a 50s-style diner.”

Jamba Juice (2001-2021)

Photo by Tiffany L.

Jamba Juice, you will be missed. You truly lit up a room. In an era where the smoothie is dominated by expensive, gentrified competitors like Qwench and Erewhon, you had smoothies for the middle class. If your internet reviews are to be believed, you were a great place to work on homework and a refuge for LMU’s “arrogant young people.” Rest in peace.

Einstein and Caribou Cafe (2017-2021)

Photo by Rafael G.

First, there was Einstein and Caribou Cafe, and now there is only Einstein’s for the twin has eaten its brother. What began as The Lion’s Corner Cafe became the Einstein and Caribou Cafe in 2017, and was criticized for its “sporadic hours.” In 2021 the coffee house officially became Einstein’s Bagels.

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (2014-2020)

Photo via Logopedia

Opened in 2014 and always closed on Saturdays, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf finally lost to Starbucks in 2020. As reviewers noted, it was distinguished by its almond croissants, the memory of which will surely endure.

FRZN Ice Cream Sandwiches (2021-2022)

Photo via LMU Dining

If you wanted to go to class with your hands covered in ice cream, FRZN was the place to be. FRZN was there for those of us who really just wanted a tub of Rite Aid ice cream without having to go to Rite Aid. For those who just hate vowels, FRZN was there too. FRZN Ice Cream Sandwiches closed in 2022. Rest in peace.

Jazzman’s Cafe (2009-2014)

Photo by Johnny F.

When I think of you, I can smell cigarettes and hear an idiot in a beret reading slam poetry. It doesn’t seem very likely, sure, but I wasn’t there so I just have to guess. Before Starbucks fueled late-night study sessions in the Hannon library, there was Jazzman’s Cafe. 

Jazzman’s Cafe & Bakery served coffee from “100% from sustainable coffee farms, cooperatives and community growers around the world. The broad menu also [featured] the latest in sandwiches, hot-pressed paninis, fresh soups and garden salad.” Getting coffee from a sustainable co-op instead of a union-busting corporation? God, that would be amazing. I am genuinely so sad this is gone.

WOW Wings (2011-2014)

Photo via Los Angeles Loyolan

WOW Wings began in 2011 as merely a humble subsidiary of Pizza Del Rey in the Founders Pavilion, and in 2014 that is where it died. For three glorious years, LMU students indulged in delectable hot wings, because after all, can you name a better food to eat on the go as you’re rushing to your next class than hot wings? Rest in peace WOW Wings. I’m sure you will be missed by someone.

Patio Grill (at least 1997-2003)

Photo via LMU Dining

A relic of its time, the Patio Grill served barbecue specialties on an outdoor table set up right on the walkway between Lawson Plaza and The Lair. As you might observe in the accompanying image, a major feature of the Patio Grill is a giant Pepsi bottle.

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Zebra Cafe (at least 1997-1999)

Photo via LMU Dining

The first of LMU’s many experiments in the world of coffee carts, the Zebra Cafe could be found on the Foley Patio. Its logo was, of course, a zebra head. It was proudly advertised by the LMU website as “one of the ‘popular’ hangout places on campus.” Sure, the branding feels a bit forced, but nevertheless, it will be missed.

Hot Dog Cart (2002-2008)

Photo via NBC

In 2002, there was a hot dog cart in McCarthy Hall. No name, no branding, just hot dogs. It was a food cart that only Ron Swanson could love. Sadly, Hot Dog Cart passed away in 2008, leaving a hot dog-sized hole in our hearts.

Pete’s Arena (2005-2006)

Photo via LMU Dining

You’re not crazy, it does sound like a counterfeit version of Pete’s Coffee. You’re wrong, however, because it was actually a pizza place that I think is supposed to be a pun on “pizzeria.” Pete’s Arena lived a short but beautiful life, and we’ll miss it.

Pizza Del Rey (2009-2010)

Photo via LMU DIning

LMU is a dangerous place for pizza shops. Located in the Founder’s Pavilion, she was a star that burned bright and fast! Rest in pizza.

LMU Dining has had a checkered history. According to the earliest archives I could find on the LMU website, LMU Dining was provided by Marriot Hotels. It’s tempting to laugh at the cringiness of LMU dining pre-Sodexo – I mean, who can take a folding table on the sidewalk very seriously? But I can’t laugh. The grief is far too penetrating. On the days when I’m deciding whether I want to wait 40 minutes for a burger at Iggy’s or eat Qdoba for the 50th time, I grieve the naivete of LMU past, the halcyon days of Jazzmans Cafe and the thus far unnamed Hot Dog Cart. To them I raise my glass – and I hope you will join me.

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