By Jenna Fischer, SSU Student
Just because you’re on a student budget full doesn’t mean you can’t eat well — really well — around the campus of Sonoma State University. Here are some of our favorite “cheap eats” for any night of the week. Did we miss your favorite spot? Let us know in the comments.
Best place in town for a date night: Boathouse Sushi
The atmosphere is casual but still classy. The sushi is good quality and the prices are college friendly. Best dinner deal: 2 item combo: $15.25 for your pick between sushi, teriyaki, tempura, and more. It comes with rice, miso soup, and salad. This combo fills you up while impressing your date with upscale, healthy, cultural food. 6278 Redwood Dr, Rohnert Park (707) 588-9440.
Best Take-out: Tiny Thai
Tiny Thai really is just that: the smallest shop I’ve ever seen. Don’t let the size fool you: this family run Thai place has the best Pumpkin Curry I’ve ever eaten. Cold Autumn nights call for some Tiny Thai take-out; there’s everything from pad thai to curries to combo meals. Best deal: The Cotati Combo. The Cotati Combo has the chicken curry of the day, jasmine rice, pad thai, and an eggroll. For $8.99 during lunch or $10.99 during dinner, this combo fills you up and leaves enough for late night leftovers! 8238 Old Redwood Hwy Cotati, 794-9404.
Best Pizza: Extreme Pizza
Not only is this unique pizza joint right across the street from SSU in the Wolf Den shopping center, but it has the wildest pizza options Rohnert Park has ever seen. You can order everything from the Asian inspired Hanoi Fever to the vegetarian Green with Envy to the chicken wing inspired Wingin’ It. The best deal is the Big Slice. The price varies between $3.50 to $6 depending on your toppings, but the Big Slice is about the equivalent to 3 slices of pizza, and is as filling as a full meal. 1728 East Cotati Ave. Rohnert Park, 707-795-8100.
Best Delivery: Fu Zhou Chinese
This little Chinese place is a gold mine tucked away next to Oliver’s Market. They have all your typical Chinese dishes, but the best deal is the $6.95 dinner deals. Instead of paying close to $20 for giant cartons of food you won’t finish, get a portion of an entree worth about 3 Panda Express size entrees, and a full side of rice, fried rice, or chow mein. But if you are feeling like a Chinese feast with your roommates, the delivery is quick and free for orders over $18. Rancho Cotati Shopping Center, 572 E Cotati Ave # A, Cotati, (707) 795-7680.
Best Burrito: Sol Azeteca.
Forget Chipotle, your days of over priced burritos are over. Sol Azeteca is a small taqueria bringing the authentic taste of Mexico straight into Rohnert Park. While they have everything from tortas to nachos to enchiladas, the burritos are the amazing. The burritos come in varying degrees, from mini (a small rice, beans, meat, and cheese) to La Burrita (The regular beans, cheese, meat, and rice topped with onion, jalapenos, sour cream and special sauce). Prices vary from $5.50 to $7.75 depending on how decked out your burrito is. I got the Super Burrito with Carne Asada, which was beans, cheese, rice, steak, guacamole, and sour cream for $7.50. Not only was it tasty, but it was big enough that I cut it in half and ate half for lunch and half for dinner! On top of that, they give students who show their ID 10% off their order. 1435 E Cotati Ave # C, Rohnert Park, (707) 792-1859.
Best Boba: Tea Rex. This hidden gem is tucked behind Popeye’s and Q-Zar, and well worth finding. This family-run shop provides all sorts of goodies from dozens of flavors of milk tea and a wide choice of boba and jelly flavors to taro and coconut waffles and various Asian snacks. The whole shop is whimsical, with a t-rex painted on the door and cherry blossom trees painted on the bright green walls of the interior. I’ll warn you: once you get hooked on boba, a trip to Tea Rex becomes a daily occurrence. 1 Padre Pkwy, Rohnert Park.
Best Bagel: New York Bagel.
My go-to breakfast, lunch, and post-workout snack. They’ve got a huge selection of bagels, including the ever-popular pizza bagel. My favorite is a bacon, egg, and cheddar cheese breakfast sandwich (served all day!) on either a spinach parmesan bagel or an asiago cheese bagel. The staff is incredibly friendly and will not judge you if the post-workout look is a little sloppy. There isn’t one particular best deal; they make anything and everything for under $10 a pop. 6400 Commerce Blvd, Rohnert Park, (707) 588-0414.
Best Happy Hour: Mi Ranchito
Voted by students as the best happy hour in SSU’s student run paper, the STAR, for the Best of 2015. From Monday to Friday, 3-7 p.m., Mi Ranchito’s happy hour gives the best deal for 21+ students. Not only are margaritas as cheap as $3.50, and draft beers as cheap as $2.75, but you can get a giant plate of nachos, taquitos, and quesadillas for anywhere from $4 to $7. This is the best spot to grab a couple of buddies and have a good time after a grueling midterm. 7600 Commerce Blvd, Cotati (707) 795-7600.
Best late night munchies: In-N-Out
Let’s be honest: nothing sounds better at 12 a.m. than a heaping plate of animal style fries. This California company spans from San Diego to Redding, delivering quality late night snacks to college students across the state. Open until 1 a.m. every night, this fast-food joint is the obvious go to. As a plus, their whole deal is the fresh (never frozen) meats and fresh cut fries. Delicious, morally sound, and open late into the munchies hours? Yes please. 5145 Redwood Dr., Rohnert Park, (800) 786-1000.
Best Drive-Thru: Amy’s Drive Thru
This Sonoma County company is in their 15 seconds of fame with this awesome drive-thru. Not only are all their items vegetarian (and some vegan) but they are absolutely delicious. I’m sorry In-N-Out, but if it is before 10 p.m., I’ll be going to Amy’s. They have a bountiful selection from mac n cheese to burritos to veggie burgers to chili cheese fries. My first veggie burger I was a bit hesitant, usually I’m all for beef with bacon and all the fixings, but I was blown away by how good, and filling, their veggie burger is. This drive-thru gives students the opportunity to get healthy, fresh, and delicious food for under $10. 58 Golf Course Drive West, Rohnert Park, (707) 755-3629.