The chattering of voices and savory smell of Korean Barbecue flows out into Pasadena, a boon to the hungry college student looking for a bite. Located a two block stroll from the PCC campus, on the corner Del Mar and Allen Street, the Rose City Church CafÃ© has been serving a cheap, healthy lunch to the surrounding neighborhood for almost three years.
â€œI come for fellowship, for the great food, and the great hospitality,â€ said Jesse PeÃ±a, a regular attendee and PCC student.
At a student price of $2 for a plate of barbecued beef or chicken and the same for an 8 ounce cup of premium espresso, itâ€™s a deal that rivals any to be found on or near campus.
â€œThe way we keep the prices down is by having a volunteer staff in the kitchen,â€ Pastor Dan Davidson revealed. â€œThis way, the only thing a person pays for is the food itself.â€
Whatâ€™s the catch? The CafÃ© is open solely on Tuesdays from noon to 3 p.m. during the fall and spring semester, and only as food allows, which is typically around 60 to 65 people served.
â€œRight now the limitations are how much food we can buy and cook at a time,â€ he continued.
Some of those faces in the kitchen keeping those prices low and the plates moving are students from the PCC club CLAVE, who have been working at the Cafe for the past few semesters.
â€œI used to come here before, because of the price. Itâ€™s a good price for a good plate of food. Then I met the people who worked here, and noticed they were trying to do something good for the students. Thatâ€™s how this started: we came looking for something to eat, asked around, and found out there was a need for volunteers,â€ said Secretary Jamaal Porchia. â€œCLAVE stepped up. We said weâ€™d be happy to help.â€
President Dorcas Llorico responded, â€œWe hopped on it because itâ€™s so close to PCC.â€
The Cafe opened to the public in Fall 2010, under the leadership of Davidson and his wife Sarah. Working in hand with church staff member Paul Cho, and under the culinary training of a local chef, the operation was formed initially with the desire to create a comfortable, welcoming space meant for international students.
The success of the food and space combination, however, grew far beyond initial expectations.
â€œFrom there, it expanded and took a life of its own,â€ said Davidson.Â â€œWeâ€™ve always had the hope to be open twice a week, but that would require another volunteer team. Weâ€™re open to interested parties.â€
The Rose City Church staff plans on opening the CafÃ© door again next fall; they are currently considering whether to continue for this Extended Spring term.
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