Food is a staple in Los Angeles, and Lyft’s free program, called “fryft,” is essential for USC. The combination of these two aspects—both of which are always prevalent in USC student lives—gives a peek at which restaurants best cater to students and their unique needs.
This cooperation Between USC and Lyft offers students free rides within a two-mile radius of campus From 6 pm to 2 am, excluding variable opening hours for special occasions and holidays. Within these limits there are many restaurants frequented by students. The question is, what are their favorites and why?
From Italian to Mediterranean to Chinese and more, USC seems to have covered all the bases when it comes to food options within the frying area. Josh Skelzkey, a major work on the study, appreciates this variety especially because USC opened its eyes to a new love for Peruvian cuisine at Caveman, located at 2215 Vermont Ave.
“I love the cave because of its value proposition,” said Skilsky. “Every time I go there, I know what to expect: constant sports content, great food, and good people. Don’t let me start with a great student discount. It’s almost as if a caveman is South Central’s hidden gem.”
Caveman, along with some restaurants within the fryft area, including Chick-Fil-A, 901 Bar & Grill, and Pasta Roma, have student discounts for Trojans. By presenting student ID at the register, all of these restaurants offer a 15-20% discount to students.
Another budget-friendly option within the fryft area for USC students is Chinese Street Food, located at 3201 S Hoover St.
“My favorite restaurant in the area is Chinese street food,” said Alex Page, a junior student studying folk music performance. “They have a great pork loin and fried rice which is very close and really good for a cheap meal.”
While some students find these discounts to allow for cost-effective meals, others face budget hurdles due to the additional cost of restricted food options at many of the fryft area restaurants. Hayley Nygren, a sophomore studying theater, was diagnosed with celiac disease at age two and has appreciated USC’s efforts to make food choices restricted within the district, but believes there is room for further improvement.
“I think the University of Southern California is doing a very good job of providing options for students with celiac,” Negrin said. “At Seeds on campus, they have gluten-free baking options. [At] Il Giardino – my favorite – I order the gluten free pasta with vodka sauce. “
Il Giardino’s Italian restaurant is a popular choice among many USC students within the fryft area due to its many options and its location in the USC Village. While options exist, a dollar or two per meal can be added for someone with dietary restrictions.
“Obviously, you can’t choose whether or not you have dietary restrictions. Some people are born with it and can’t afford to pay that extra dollar for bread or an extra $5 for pasta,” Negrin said. “I think restaurants can do a better job of dealing with this situation and making all prices equal, especially for the students here.”
Tucked away from campus on the edge of the fryft area, La Barca is another popular spot at 2414 S Vermont Ave. The Mexican restaurant is popular with USC students for its fun atmosphere and large serving sizes.
Raz Mehta, a sophomore studying philosophy, politics and economics, finds himself going to La Barca at least once a week for great food and a fun experience.
“La Barca is 1.7 miles away and offers some of the best Mexican food and atmosphere in the area,” said Mehta.
USC’s partnership with Lyft has allowed not only safe transportation of students from off-campus housing to campus, but also easy access to a variety of dining options.
“When I try to get a cheap and quick bite, frying is very helpful,” said Mehta.
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