With the rain finally gone, it’s time to get out and enjoy the freedom of eating off campus. The Bark ventured out to taste test our student body’s favorite restaurants within walking distance: Book Passage Cafe, Burritoville Cafe, The Cheese Steak Shop, and Red Boy Pizza, according to the March Bark survey. These restaurants were reviewed on flavor, variety, convenience, cost and ambiance.
The Book Passage Cafe (4/5 Stars)
Located in the Book Passage bookstore, this cozy little cafe is a ten-minute stroll from the back parking lot. The menu contains a variety of options, ranging from gourmet sandwiches to salads. Despite the menu’s high prices, averaging $10 per item, the food surpassed expectations due to its savory taste. The BLT sandwich ($10), served on two generous slices of sourdough, was freshly prepared. With a nearly perfect ratio of bread to filling, its only downside was the lack of flavor in the bacon. The half portion Caesar Salad ($6.50) was a pleasant surprise. Unexpectedly, the salad filled the entire plate. The romaine was crisp and the dressing was creamy and light. What was most appealing were the perfectly seasoned and crunchy croutons. Drinks cost $2.25 on average, adding to the already expensive tab. The Book Passage Cafe’s ambiance was top notch, with a bright and airy atmosphere. Seating is available both indoors and outdoors, ideal for reading a book or enjoying the sunshine with your friends.
Burritoville Cafe (3/5 Stars)
The furthest of the four restaurants, at a twelve-minute walk from campus, Burritoville Cafe is a few doors down from the Lark Theater on Magnolia Ave. Despite the distance, it is still very convenient since you can call in your order by phone. Sporting a diverse menu, this restaurant features burritos, tacos, and tostadas with a wide variety of fillings. Out of the numerous meat options, the Bark selected a burrito with grilled steak ($6.60) and a small fountain soda ($1.90). The ratio of meat to beans to rice was well-balanced. However, the meat seemed to lack flavor and was overpowered by the taste of the beans. The restaurant’s casual and colorful atmosphere, along with the great value, made up for this. The bright blue and yellow mosaic tiles on each table, along with a replica train depicting a scene straight out of a storybook, made for a cheerful experience. However with the long walk back, this joyful atmosphere will soon be forgotten.
The Cheese Steak Shop (5/5 Stars)
The Cheese Steak Shop is the closest of the four restaurants, just eight minutes away. Adding to your convenience, they offer the option to call in your order, similar to Burritoville Cafe. Their phone line tends to get very busy, so orders must be called in quickly. The signature item is the Philly Cheese Steak, and for good reason, due to its delicious taste. The Bark selected a 10” Classic with steak, grilled onions, and sweet peppers ($7.69) and a small side of curly fries ($2.09). The meat to bread ratio was perfect. Juicy pieces of steak spilled out of the sandwich. Every bite contained melted cheese, grilled onions, and sweet peppers. The small order of fries was a generous portion, distinguished from fast food fries by their crispness and fresh taste. Drinks are free to Redwood students as long as you order a 10” sandwich or larger. The atmosphere is loud and energetic. The walls are covered with sports collectibles from various teams. A TV hangs on the wall, displaying the latest sporting event. Most of the customers are regulars, coming back to feed their usual habit.
Red Boy Pizza (2/5 Stars)
Just a few doors down from The Cheese Steak Shop, Red Boy Pizza offers pizza by the slice. The slices are readily available, making calling ahead unnecessary. Still, a line does form at the door. The restaurant offers slice combos of cheese and pepperoni, which include a soda. The cheese combo ($5.00) was a mediocre slice of pizza and a small soda. Although much better tasting than the CEA pizza, the Red Boy pizza was a bit too greasy. Its flavor was satisfactory, with a good ratio of cheese to dough. The portion, however, was too small and ordering a second slice would have been too costly. The atmosphere is casual, typical of a pizza joint. There is plenty of seating indoors, accompanied by a TV for entertainment. Outside, a few tables are available along with bench seating.