On a campus that seems to be drowning in oversaturated and greasy fast food, Journey East Asia Grill offers students a welcome change.
Walking in, you are greeted with a sense of community you don’t find at Starbucks or Chick-fil-A. Fitzgerald “Fitz” Tsen, part-owner of Journey East Asia Grill, adds to the experience of making it feel less like a restaurant and more like a hangout spot – he even recognized our photographer from a previous visit.
There is also a world map placed right at the entrance with pins representing all the places their patrons have come from. It is clear that Journey East is making community a core part of their business.
The restaurant is set up like a Chipotle or Subway, but without the rude or pushy services you experience all too often at chain establishments.
Ordering down a line gives the consumer an opportunity to see the food before committing to an order, although I am certain that no matter what you order off the menu you will be satisfied with your food.
While the atmosphere is important, the real appeal is the great food and reasonable pricing. The menu offers bowls for $8.50 (a comparable price to Chipotle and Panda Express). There seems to be something for everyone on the menu, including a vegan option and a keto option for more health conscious diners.
The bowls come with a side soup. I got the egg drop soup which was disappointing, being lukewarm instead of the hot soup I was hoping for especially on a cold February day. The bowl itself was delicious unlike it’s campus competitor, Panda Express, the food was not just a bunch of mush sitting on top of oily noodles. There are many different textures and well seasoned beef, I ate the whole bowl – including the vegetables.
I also tried the boba tea, which was very refreshing. I had initially wanted to order the taro boba which was recommended by Fitz himself, but sadly they had just run out of it when I arrived. I went with my second choice of coconut tea and it was pleasant all the same.
Overall I am ecstatic to have a restaurant like Journey East on campus. Having options besides greasy burgers, pizza and chicken sandwiches is always going to be exciting for campus diners. I will definitely be returning to try a new bowl and to finally get a taste of the taro boba.
Journey East Asia Grill has their grand opening today, Feb. 5, until 9 p.m.