New Tempe restaurant targets younger ASU students

Northside is a new sandwich shop opening on University Drive between Forest and College avenues, where Pita Pit used to be. (Photo by Shelby Bernstein)

A new sandwich shop on University Drive is reaching out to students who are not yet old enough to get into bars and clubs on Mill Avenue.

Named for its location on the north side of campus, Northside will host 18 and up events Friday and Saturday nights starting in October.

Co-owner Jay Johari, an ASU alumnus, said the events will feature a disc jockey and hookah.

“We are looking to have a chill environment,” Johari said. “A place to hang out in between classes or on the weekend.”

Johari said they plan on gutting the patio area and adding cabanas and a sound system.

Although Northside will charge for these events, Johari said they anticipate a big crowd.

“We are 160 feet from College Way and University Drive and close to the dorms,” Johari said. “Traffic is high in this area.”

The restaurant also hopes to litter the walls with ASU photos, apparel and club news.

“There are 70,000 students and they all like different things,” Johari said. “We’re here to cater to ASU and we want people to come and check out all of ASU life.”

Northside will have event parking for $10 and students will be able to park in the lot during the school day for $6.

The restaurant has not been highly publicized; restaurant owners said they need to work on marketing to boost business.

Johari said a ground team is their main form of advertisement at the moment, but they will use Facebook and Twitter.

“Word-of-mouth is the most important,” Johari said. “(The) only thing I care about is that everyone loves our food, even if (business is) slow at the beginning.”

ASU alumnus and Northside co-owner Paul Derensis said the restaurant is a deli-style sandwich spot and will have fresh bakery bread, sliced deli meat and cheese.

Derensis said they were originally going for a health-conscious menu, but they shifted to a more wholesome menu to cater to a larger customer base.

The menu features original sandwiches, some named after ASU figures such as Coach Todd Graham and Sparky. Customers can also design their own sandwich if they choose.

Investor and co-owner Karl Freund said minor problems before opening cost them a few thousand dollars over budget and held them up by 10 days.

“When we were ready to open we actually encountered a few problems,” Freund said. “It was the most random things you can think of.”


Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @paulinapineda22

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