The Den, Culinary Kitchen shut down over winter break


Bella Ross

The Den closed over winter break and will soon undergo construction to become Plant Power, a vegan fast food restaurant.

by Aretha Matsushima, Staff Writer

Two San Diego State dining options – The Den by Denny’s and the East Commons Culinary Theatre – will no longer be operating as restaurant competition has stiffened elsewhere on campus.

SDSU Dining Director Paul Melchior said The Den and Culinary Theatre are going out of business primarily due to insufficient earnings, likely stemming from competition with South Campus Plaza restaurants.

“When South Campus Plaza opened and we allowed meal plans to be accepted there, a lot of our sales went there because they were brand new and had good concepts,” Melchior said.

Psychology freshman Daomi Pham said she is unhappy with The Den closing as she found it to be a valuable place to eat on campus.

“It was convenient and near to campus,” Pham said. “The quality of its food was good for its price. It was the perfect spot for a college student.”

Melchior said The Den’s old location is currently undergoing renovation to become Plant Power, a fast food vegan option that will be on the meal plan.

“It’s kind of like a hamburger and fries concept but everything is completely vegan,” Melchior said. “That’s why Plant Power is nice because we don’t have a vegan-only restaurant anywhere on campus.”

Sustainability freshman Anna Mangiameli said she approves of the new vegan-based restaurant as it might push more people to experiment with veganism.

“I’m really excited about Plant Power being on campus since it’ll introduce non-vegans to vegan foods,” Mangiameli said. “I’ve eaten at Plant Power before and I’m amazed at how similar it is to In-N-Out.”

Melchior said, along with the Culinary Theatre, Dickies in East Commons has also closed down for similar reasons.

“Dickies wasn’t meeting their sales goals, so they opted out of their agreement,” Melchior said. “It just didn’t work out in their operations.”

Melchior also said Culinary Theatre first opened to bring sales as a pay-point to East Commons and to feature its culinary-driven program with chefs.

“The sales migrated towards South Campus Plaza, so we didn’t need the extra pay-point in East Commons anymore,” Melchior said.

Melchior said dining services is open to feedback from students and hearing what options are desired.

“We listen to students, we have focus groups to find out what students are looking for,” Melchior said.