Dining halls — enough said, right? While ASU has given students a myriad of options of evolved cafeteria food, the average student will eventually miss the smell of a home-cooked meal or the fresh taste of a domestic culinary creation. While Tempe campus flurries with dining options outside of dining halls and the Memorial Union, smaller campuses around the Phoenix area struggle to have an affordable alternate in reach. This is especially true for the Downtown campus, which is located in the middle of Phoenix’s business district, where shops and restaurants generally close around 5 p.m.
In the last two years, CityScape and the Arizona Center have grown to give students these options, but the Lexington Hotel, one light rail stop from the Downtown campus, has something up their chefs’ rolled sleeves: Cycle.
Opened in April, Cycle is located within the downtown hotel. Set in a refurbished Best Western dining room, the venue has chalkboard walls, live music and DJs, local chefs and an ever-changing menu. Now, there are two nights of the week devoted to serving students with meals they never thought they’d miss so much.
Aside from the 40-day menu rotation Cycle’s name is based from, Wednesdays and Thursdays since early September have been dedicated to the hungry student looking for a change in their gastronomic landscape. As Cycle chef Monica Laster noticed the students’ trouble in filling their stomachs with something new, the restaurant began to advertise nights of Sloppy Joes, Chicken Fricassee and Thursdays with DJs spinning electronic music until 2 a.m.
Prices, averaging around $8 a plate, are about the same as a dining hall dinner, but the atmosphere is arguably better. With 20 to 40 students heading to Cycle each College Night, assistant manager Sam Sprague says the idea has been well received.
“We know it’s not Mill Avenue, but we still want students to feel like downtown can be a hip-hop place,” Sprague said on how he is utilizing students on Cycle’s staff to help get the word out.
According to Sprague, this is just the beginning. Newly created, the managers and chefs are hoping to create a “hang out” for the students with live music, more developed menus and a relaxing spot to escape to.
“It looks so ‘70s and we’re hoping to modernize it a bit,” Sprague said. “We’re told that it will close (temporarily) in 2012, but when we come back, we still want it to be a space that is your space.”
The place will go under renovations sometime after the New Year, but for this semester, Cycle is still going strong.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com