Wilson: Uptown’s food funk

Peter Wilson, Staff Columnist

There are many exceptionally wonderful things about this university. The academics are renowned and challenging, the campus is beautiful and located in a cultural hub and the professors are esteemed and well respected.

However, there are flaws. Most prominent of which is the choices of food on campus and in University Circle. I am not referring to the meal plan, the cost associated with it or the options it presents. I am talking about the other options for food on and close to campus.

There are a variety of choices. On Euclid alone, we have several restaurants, such as Qdoba, Bibibop, Chapati Indian Grill, Panera Bread, Otani Noodle, Chopstick and Chipotle, among others. Of course, there is also nearby Little Italy and all the options there, and there are coffee shops dotting the side streets.

These options may seem diverse. Included in that list is Mexican (or Tex-Mex) food, Chinese food and bagels, along with Indian and Korean options as well. But when you really consider the actual options, there is much less variety than originally thought.

For instance, there is both a Chipotle and a Qdoba. These two restaurants serve exceptionally similar food, even in the same style of restaurant, fast casual. Why do two copies of a Mexican/Tex-Mex do-it-yourself option need to be so close? They are less than a block from each other. Another example of this is the existence of a Panera Bread directly across the street from a Dunkin’ Donuts, with a Starbucks only a few minutes down the street.

In addition to these similar options, there is a clear lack of some food options. There are no examples of the classic American fast-food burger restaurant—such as McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s.

There is a clear preference for some types of restaurants over others. There is also little variety when the options are actually examined. While there are multiple submarine sandwich joints, Subway and Jimmy John’s, there are few chicken restaurants, such as Popeyes, Raising Cane’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Uptown could serve to house a wider variety of options. Yes, diversity already exists, but there are clear flaws in the current options. There is a prevalence of restaurants which make the meal directly in front of you such as Chipotle, Bibibop, Chapati and  Qdoba, but there are other options we could have, some of which I stated above.

The Corner Alley recently closed down, and it is unclear what has taken up residence in that spot, other than possibly a taco shop, as stated by the previous owner of Corner Alley. This adds another Mexican restaurant, for a total of three, within a block of each other even while many types of foods aren’t represented at all.

I’d suggest some different types of restaurants, such as a Piada Italian Street Food, a pizza place, or even a McDonald’s. I would also suggest something to add to the landscape that already exists like a CoreLife Eatery.

There is a diversity of food choices at the surface level when it comes to food options in Uptown. A few types are represented, but many are left out. Uptown could use a few new additions to its existing options to actually broaden its supposed variety of student-targeted fare.

Peter Wilson is a second-year biomedical engineering student on the computing and bioinformatics track. He works in the Gustafson Lab and can be found on Twitter at @wpieltseorn.