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Monday, March 27, 2023

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The terrace is located next to Nasatir Hall. The terrace is located next to Nasatir Hall.

New and Improved

The new Aztecs Shops Terrace features a grill, store and coffee house.
By Tobin Vaughn

It used to be that hungry Arts and Letters students with a few minutes to spare between classes had limited options: They could grab a quick snack at Betty’s Hotdogger or make a dash down to West Commons for something more substantial.  

Now all that has changed.

Greeting students returning from winter break is the gleaming new Aztecs Shops Terrace, a $4 million, 4,537-square-foot facility housing Starbucks, Aztec Grill and Aztec Market. Featuring indoor and outdoor seating, the new facility stands in the former location of Nasatir 100, the 1950s-era lecture hall razed early last year to make room for the demands of a growing corner of campus.

“This is a showcase,” said Aztec Shops Associate Director of Dining Services Robert Isner. He says the new grill will produce toasted and grilled panini sandwiches, and will include a soup bar.

The relocated Starbucks replaces the coffee chain’s former spot in West Commons, where seating will be added for businesses that remain. Other food vendors and a bank will stay at that location along with the existing Aztec Market.

Isner says foot traffic at West Commons increased dramatically after the remodeling of Storm and Nasatir Halls was completed. The remodel, along with its addition of two large lecture halls, necessitated expansion of dining options in SDSU’s northwest sector, he said.

“I think it's going to be great for the people going to class here and the people who work in this area,” Isner observed. “The ones who have stopped by are just thrilled.”   

Where everyone is

Polly Parks is a second-year graduate student in biology who admits she doesn’t buy lunch on campus much because she tries to budget her money. But when she has gone to lunch, she says, it’s been a trek.

“I'm excited for (Aztec Shops Terrace) because it's so close to Life Sciences,” she said. “It will be nice to be able to walk there and get lunch rather than walking all the way to East Commons."

Ashley Vorraro
(’14) works as a support assistant for the English department in the Arts and Letters building. She likes the idea of more food and drink options in an updated location right out the front door of her building.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “It’s right here where everyone is.

"I'm going to go and check it out. I got gift cards for Christmas so I'm definitely going to use those and get some hot chocolate or something."

A different vibe

The only downside Vorraro sees in all the new options is the closing of Betty’s Hotdogger. In her four years as a student, she used to stop by the unassuming stand for a quick small meal or snack.

The location will still have seating for students, but food will be dispensed by vending machines. The vibe just won’t be the same.

“Oh, man, the Hotdogger is where I would go because I could just go there really quickly in between things,” she said. “I understand completely, but it’s just a little disappointing.

“I'm very sentimental so it's probably just me who cares about it."

Aztec Shops Terrace is currently undergoing a soft opening before students return for the first day of spring semester classes Jan. 21.