San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Plant Power attracts over 1,100 customers on first day of business

Bella Ross
Speech, language and hearing sciences freshmen Ashley Vanderpan and Serena Godson share a meal at Plant Power, including an avocado wrap and a burger.

Plant Power, San Diego State’s first completely vegan restaurant, opened its doors on April 8 and has been packed ever since.

With students’ growing desire for healthier options on campus, Plant Power, located near the SDSU Transit Center, replaced The Den by Denny’s, which closed over winter break due to underperformance in revenue, according to February interview with Dining Director Paul Melchior.

“We’re the first fully plant-based restaurant that also has full sustainable packaging across everything that we do on campus,” said Ravi Parikh, franchisee for the campus location. “We are also oriented towards a more full plant-based diet and we want to introduce that to people and show them how good it can taste and how good it can feel.”

Popular menu items include “The Big Zac,” a spin on a cheeseburger but with a beef-like patty and a cheese alternative, the “‘Chicken’ Sandwich,” which includes a crispy chicken alternative and a variety of milkshakes made with almond milk. These fast food classics have even drawn the admiration of many of SDSU’s non-vegans.

“I’m actually surprised that (the food) is really good,” math education senior Arlene Valdez said. “I’m not vegan or vegetarian and I was kind of sketched out but it’s really, really good. I got the chicken sandwich and it literally tastes like chicken. I thought the flavor would be kind of dull like tofu or soy but it’s really flavorful.”

The SDSU franchise marks the restaurant’s fourth location, whose menu is popular among the growing number of young vegans.

“Our mission is a really big one. It’s to introduce plant-based foods to the entire world,” Parikh said. “What we really want to do is provide that same type of feel and taste that you get from a fast food place. But here, it’s fully plant-based, so much healthier for you, the environment and much more ethical from the standpoint of animals and reducing the amount of animal agriculture.”

A new option for SDSU meal plan users, the restaurant had long lines on its first week of opening, with over 1100 customers at the grand opening. Seating options include a limited amount of indoor seating and a larger outdoor terrace.

“Upon hearing that there was a vegan place opening on campus, I was very excited to see that there was going to be more healthy options that I could explore,” theater freshman Janelle Miller said.

Before its official opening, the restaurant had a soft-opening during spring break to acclimate its new workers, which consist of part-time students and full-time employees, to a slower crowd before the campus opened back up after spring break.

Though other dining options have recently closed, international security and conflict resolution freshman Gener Abdon thinks Plant Power is here to stay.

“I believe that Plant Power will prosper on this campus,” Abdon said. “I’m a part of a sustainability organization on campus and we asked people about their food choices and one of their complaints and trends I see is that people want to see healthier options for their body.”

The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

About the Contributors
Olivia Li, Staff Writer
Olivia Li is a third-year student studying journalism and minoring in marketing from the Bay Area. This is her second year writing for The Daily Aztec and she was previously the sports editor for her high school newspaper, The Thunderbolt. Olivia wants to pursue a career in social media marketing and in addition to writing for The Daily Aztec, she is the Creative Writing and Marketing Assistant for Associated Students.
Bella Ross, Editor in Chief
Bella Ross is an SDSU senior double majoring in journalism and political science. She started working at The Daily Aztec in the news section in Fall 2017 and started to make videos for the newspaper in the Spring. She also works as an intern for Voice of San Diego and does some freelance work. In the past, she's worked at KPBS, inewsource and The San Diego Union-Tribune. She is hoping to report on national politics for a large newspaper one day. Follow her on Twitter @BellaMayaRoss.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Plant Power attracts over 1,100 customers on first day of business