Remember how shafted we felt when we learned that the former location of the beloved Philly Diner was being replaced with an(other) office building? While we’re still not over that, we are impressed by the recent surge of new restaurants that have opened around campus.
Just this month, HipCityVeg opened a second spot on 40th Street, and HubBub coffee opened a brick-and-mortar outpost of the popular truck on the 3700 block of Spruce Street. With rave reviews within a few days of opening, students are going crazy over Groothies, curried tofu wraps and Stumptown coffee swirled into latte art.
For this, we thank Facilities and Real Estate Services for bringing more retail dining options to campus that are not only in tune with student interests and preferences but also healthy, unique and local businesses.
HipCityVeg is one-of-a-kind — it is the only completely vegan restaurant easily accessible to Penn students, just on the border of campus. Their salads, sandwiches and smoothies also provide healthy choices for students — vegan or not. This location is also meaningful to the owner, whose parents met on the same block years ago.
HubBub, meanwhile, serves both students and nearby medical and veterinary school faculty as another place to get a caffeine fix, meet someone or catch up on work. It also doesn’t hurt for Penn to support independent coffee shops like HubBub, which joins the ranks of places like Lovers and Madmen and Avril 50 over franchises like Starbucks and Saxby’s. Adding to HubBub’s local factor: Its founder, Drew Crockett, is a Penn alum — and we always applaud alums giving back to Penn.
These two outlets have opened in the past few weeks, joining what appears to be an ongoing trend. So far this year, we’ve seen the opening of the Korean restaurant U-Town and the Vietnamese establishment Saigon Cuisine, both on 40th Street. Together, these new businesses target student interests as well as expand local presence. As Penn students, we benefit from their proximity.
We highly anticipate the next steps FRES will take to bring more dining options to campus, especially looking toward the developing Hub II on 40th and Chestnut, as well as the already announced Federal Donuts location on 34th and Sansom streets.
All of these options for dining retail give Penn character. Instead of an influx of more chain stores like Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s and Chipotle around campus, we appreciate that FRES is creating a unique Penn atmosphere of dining options that can’t be found or replicated anywhere else.
Penn’s campus is changing and we love what FRES is doing with it. If there’s one thing to be said about college students, it’s that they love food.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.