The local dining scene on Drexel’s campus in University City, a once-bustling student hub, has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Campus has specifically been affected by the pandemic as students have not returned for in-person classes this fall after the university decided to continue remote learning through the end of the year. As a result, some popular local businesses have been forced to close their doors permanently while others have turned massive profits since March.
One campus favorite, Drexel Pizza, closed in August. It lost its original source of revenue, Drexel students, who have been sparse for the past few months. While the outside of the restaurant tells one story, an unlikely turn of events for Drexel Pizza tells another.
In June, protestors took the streets of Center City to demand racial equality. Due to riots that accompanied the protests, the National Guard was mobilized and used the Armory on Drexel’s campus as headquarters. During that time, Drexel Pizza catered their meals, which resulted in a larger-than-expected revenue, mentioned a student employee. The months-long lull in business was quickly made up in weeks because of the National Guard’s business. Now, Drexel Pizza remains closed for renovations — an unlikely winner of the pandemic.
Another popular pizza chain on campus, Ed’s Buffalo Wings and Pizza, located on Powelton Avenue, has remained open throughout the pandemic. While Drexel students are their main customers, they are also popular among the residents of Powelton Village.
A slightly more upscale pizza and pasta restaurant, Zavino, has also closed its doors during the pandemic. Its largest customer base was Drexel students and visiting families. The pandemic has upended indoor dining and the prospect of outdoor seating was not enough to keep Zavino in business. Another student favorite is Blaze Pizza, part of a build-your-own pizza chain, located beneath The Summit. It has also been shut since March after students left.
Several coffee shops at Drexel have also been shut down due to running on a limited schedule. The Starbucks at the Summit has closed its doors temporarily, as well as the Saxby’s located in the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building. The Starbucks in the LeBow School of Business building has also been closed since the pandemic began and students left campus.
Many popular dining destinations on or near campus have remained open. These include Chipotle, Insomnia Cookies, Wawa and Kung Fu Tea.
In terms of the Drexel Dining scene on campus, all locations are closed or open on a limited basis. Handschumacher Dining Center, which usually serves buffet-style meals, is closed. Urban Eatery, a station-based dining hall in The Summit, closed on March 17 and will remain closed through the end of the year. Northside Dining Terrace is open on a limited basis Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. The Chick-fil-A and Subway restaurant chains located in Northside Dining Terrace are also closed temporarily.