Bookstore Café to replace shuttered deli


Students order food from the LA Mobile Catering food truck located next to the El Camino College Bookstore on Tuesday, Oct. 8. The truck was brought on El Camino College to rectify food options available to students on the north side of campus two years after The Manhattan Deli closed down. Rosemary Montalvo/The Union

The old, closed down deli on the north side of El Camino College will be converted into a coffee shop that will be operational by 2021, a campus official said.

Formally known as “The Manhattan,” the deli first opened in 2001 and is located adjacent to the ECC Bookstore. After fifteen years of service, it closed in 2016 following a botched robbery attempt that set off a fire that was contained inside the deli, according to an article published by The Union in June 2016.

In order to rectify campus food options on the north side of ECC, administration officials installed the LA Mobile Catering food truck next to the Bookstore in the fall 2018 semester, according to an article published by The Union in October 2018.

More than three years later, a $1.2 million project will reopen The Manhattan deli space, according to a bond program update presented at a Board of Trustees Meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Although students can go to the Bookstore or the food truck for something to eat while on the north side of campus, Director of the Bookstore Julie Bourlier said bringing back The Manhattan deli in the form of a Bookstore Café would be a good change.

“It’ll be good for the whole campus to have The Manhattan back,” Bourlier said. “The drawings, the plans, are beautiful. It’s exciting to see.”

Furthermore, this new addition will add to the food options available to students on campus. As it is, the Bookstore has been competitive with its prices and is focused on stocking what students want, Bourlier said.

The goal for food service at ECC is to keep people on campus, Assistant Director of the Bookstore Andrew Nasatir said.

“We’re all a team competing against Crenshaw Bouevard,” Nasatir said. “We’ll know we’re successful when McDonald’s starts leafleting our students on our campus. That’s when we know we’ll have really had an impact.”

The new Bookstore Café will have various kinds of coffee as well as other drinks. Inside the café will be steam tables housing food prepared in the chef’s kitchen just above. Soups, prepared sandwiches and snacks will also be sold.

David Bryan Montefalcon, 19, film major, said he uses food options available on campus but prefers to go off-campus to eat.

“Personally for me, I don’t drink that much coffee,” Montefalcon said. “But I would consider [going to the Bookstore Café] if it was cheaper.”

The Bookstore Café does not have a formal name yet and will be decided by the Food Service Committee, an advisory committee for the College Council that overlooks food service operations at ECC.

Bourlier said she wants campus and student input to be part of the naming process.

Once fully operational, the new Bookstore Café will be operated by Pacific Dining Food Services Management, which also operates Café Camino and the Art Deli.