The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Viewpoint: In need of options outside the university cafeteria? You are not alone

Taqueria La Perla de Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, located at 2255 S.E. Military Dr., welcomes students to enjoy authentic Mexican cuisines 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. Photo by Armando Padilla

By Lorie Hidalgo

Around the same time every day my stomach growls loud enough to scare and confuse the person sitting next to me. I tend to do the same thing — run off and find the closest available, unsatisfying snacks on campus.

I can easily tame my growling stomach by eating a nutritious meal that satisfies my hunger, instead of gulping an energy drink and a bag of chips.

Where do students find food options on the mostly sparsely populated South Side?

We called local establishments to find good deals.

As it turns out, local restaurants give students the option to budget more efficiently while trying to satisfy their cravings from where they sit (with growling stomachs) at Main Campus Building or Brooks City-Base Campus. These restaurants offer larger portions, affordable prices and wider menu options compared to the university cafeteria.

Hunger Busters Near Main Campus

When hunger comes into play, finding a meal becomes a journey, practically a hunt.

The cafeteria at Main Campus opens 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays. It serves lunch and breakfast, and offers grab-n-go type foods and drinks along with a lunch hour daily special which includes a meal and a drink for $6, a reasonable price for those unable to leave campus.

For those looking for more, A&M-San Antonio students can drive about three miles north to visit a family owned and operated Dairy Queen at 9222 S. Zarzamora St. It offers daily specials which change monthly.

This DQ also honors advertised specials from corporate Dairy Queen.  Students, faculty and staff receive a 10 percent discount with a current A&M-San Antonio ID.

General Manager Allyn Skeels said she would like to see more A&M-San Antonio related customers stop by the Dairy Queen to enjoy a good meal. Hours of operation span 11 a.m.-10 p.m everyday.

Other restaurants located within a few miles from Main Campus include:

On S.W. Military

  • Chick-Fil-A (offers student discount)

  • IHOP

  • KFC

  • Burger King (offers student discount)

On Poteet Jourdanton Fwy. (near Palo Alto College)

  • Whataburger

  • Subway (offers student discount)

  • Church’s Chicken

  • Georgia’s Mexican Restaurant

  • Amanda’s Cafe

On S. Zarzamora (across from South Park Mall)

  • Olive Garden

  • Red Lobster

  • LongHorn Steakhouse

  • Buffalo Wild Wings (offers student discount)

  • Mama Margies

Meal Options near Brooks City-Base Campus

Those attending or teaching classes primarily at Brooks Campus have no access to a cafeteria.

Instead, they make do with a self 12 foot square checkout market which offers a limited selection of snacks and grab-n-go foods which cost from $1.50 to $6—chips, granola bars, cereal cups, fruit snacks, candy, lunchables, sandwiches and salads. One also can buy drinks like milk, juice, water, energy drinks, and soda.

“I prefer to eat off campus because they don’t really have meals here,” accounting junior Aarika Anderson said.

Located at 2255 S.E Military Dr., Taqueria La Perla de Jalisco lies within minutes of the Brooks Campus, approximately 1.2 miles away from the base.

This Mexican cuisine style restaurant, offering both a dine in atmosphere and a drive thru, offers quality food for a reasonable price. Daily breakfast and lunch specials range under $5.99, depending on the meal.

General manager Juan Miguel Fernandez recommends first-time customers try some of the more popular dishes, which include enchiladas, fajitas Tejanas, and, his personal favorites, the tampico plate and camarones a la diabla.

Taqueria La Perla de Jalisco does not offer discounts to students, but Fernandez plans on offering them in the future.

“I really want to offer that family discount because I would like to see more college students here at the restaurant,” Fernandez said. “It’s great for us and for them.”

The franchised-based Hurricane Grill & Wings, another restaurant near Brooks Campus, originally was established in Florida.

This restaurant, located at 2611 S.E. Military Dr. in the City Base West Shopping Center, stands roughly a mile away from campus. The restaurant offers a wide variety of college student friendly food at a great price. With daily appetizer, meals and drink specials available, the restaurant offers a great environment for both students and families.

Jaime Andres, one of the owners of Hurricane Grill & Wings, said that student discounts are not available but maybe something could be arranged for the future. He added that he would like to see more of the A&M-San Antonio family present at the restaurant. With a wide array of food some come highly recommended by Andres himself.

“For food, everything is good but I like the burgers, the Honey Pecan (chopped chicken) salad, and the seafood, the (Yuengling Beer Battered) Fish & Chips,” Andres said.

For those who are not in the mood for neither Mexican food or even a variety of entries available at Hurricane Grill & Wings, other restaurants available in the general area but some do not offer student discounts are:

S.E. Military

  • Chaba Thai Restaurant

  • Texas Roadhouse

  • IHOP

  • Buffalo Wild Wings (offers student discount)

  • Chick-Fil-A (offers student discount)

Students can now expand their choices when looking for a bite between classes, instead of being faced with the decision of which bag of chips to choose from the vending machines at the Brooks campus, or the cafeteria food at Main Campus.

Now those growling stomachs can be silenced, at least when at school.

While many places do not always offer a student discount, it never hurts to ask the establishment. Keep in mind students must present a student ID to receive a discount.

For more information on establishments that offer discounts visit the following sites:

The Campus Companion

Gift Card Granny

If you have any suggestions or wish for The Mesquite to search for more restaurants in the A&M-San Antonio vicinity, please contact us.

About the Author

Lorie Hidalgo
Lorie Hidalgo is a culture and sports writer for The Mesquite. She is a communications major with a passion for sports writing. Lorie attended both Northwest Vista and Palo Alto colleges. When attending Palo Alto, she was a writer for The Pulse, the online student newspaper. She received an A.A in New Media Communications from Northwest Vista in May 2013.

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