|347 Memorial Union , west side of the building|
|Office Phone: 530-754-COHO (2646) Fax: (530)-752-8548|
|Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD)|
|1968-2-15 by ASUCD President Bob Black|
|Reopened after renovations Fall 2010|
The ASUCD Coffee House, or CoHo for short, is the largest student-run "restaurant" in the United States. The coffee, supplied by Beantrees roasting company, is delicious, organic, fair trade and shade-grown, and can be found at the Swirlz Bakery. The Coffee House is home to a few microwaves you can use to heat up your food. As the name would imply, the ASUCD Coffee House is run by ASUCD rather than Sodexo. Being run by ASUCD, it is technically a non-profit restaurant, so at the end of the year any extra money goes back into the ASUCD budget to fund other student services. You can pay with your Aggie Card at the CoHo too, making it one of the
Local food and bakeries provide a large number of products in addition to the fare prepared in house. The Student Farm, Village Bakery, Variety Donuts, and nearby Woodland's El Sombrero all kick in tasty items. Crossing the river, Sacramento sends items from Main Street Bagels, Sacramento Tofu Company, Beantrees, and a bit of the juice of the moo from Crystal Cream and Butter.
The entire CoHo was closed down in Summer 2009 for a massive renovation. Food service was available (though limited) from stations scattered throughout the first floor of the Memorial Union. Come Fall 2010, the new and improved CoHo reopened with all new food and beverage options, a greatly improved, more open floor plan, and some pleasant, modern decor.
Stations, hours, and payment methods
Payment: Cash, credit, debit, and as of the 2013-2014 school year, Aggie Cash is accepted.
Swirlz Bakery: Coffee, espresso, baked goods, ice cream, fruit smoothies, and Acai Bowls. Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fickle Pickle Deli: Sandwiches and bagels. Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri. 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cooks: The CoHo's traditional hot food line, with casseroles, soups, etc., as well as breakfast. Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-9:30 a.m. breakfast, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. lunch; Fri. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. breakfast/lunch. Check out their daily menu ahead of time!
Ciao (Pizza and Hot Sandwiches): Pizza and hot sandwiches. Mon.-Thurs. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Croutons: Salads . Mon.-Thurs. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Tex Mex Grill: Tex Mex food Mon.-Thurs. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Chopstixx: Pho bar plus sushi. Mon.-Thurs. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Fri. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Students may reserve the dining areas. Even during the day, sections can be reserved for events. For example, ASUCD has their candidate forums during lunch here. In the evenings, the entire space is available for reservation. The rooms are not under the control of Center for Student Involvement, but of Coffee House management. Speak to CoHo staff managers to reserve space. Students can also request to put fliers in the plastic holders on each table and request to put posters up on empty wall space.
Operations and employee culture
There are two types of employees that work at the CoHo: kitchen and out front. The kitchen employees work in the hot kitchen, cold kitchen, bakery, and hot food line. The out front employees are cashiers or work at the counters making burritos, bagels, sandwiches, coffee, and pho. Kitchen supervisors and managers wear blue aprons, out front supervisors and managers wear red aprons, and all non-supervisor/manager employees wear white aprons.
The Coffee House, not called the CoHo at the time, was located in East Hall until 1973--the year East Hall was demolished. The Coffee House was then moved to the east wing of the Memorial Union. In 1991, the 20,000 sq. ft. west wing of the MU was added to accommodate the Coffee House. The CoHo remains in the same location as of the 2009-2010 renovation but has taken on a different layout.
The Coffee House serves not only as a central location for students to meet but also a venue for the ASUCD Entertainment Council. From 1973 through the mid-1990s, the CoHo held music shows. Between the late 1970s and mid-'80s, it was not uncommon for a show to be held at the CoHo once per week. Unfortunately, costs and other issues reduced the number of shows. Then the university "started being prickish," as one UCD alumnus of the time states, with permits, approval times, and other particulars. Coffee House staff also didn't want to put up with the hassle of running a dining facility/venue, says the alumnus. Furthermore, the shows started to draw members of an older crowd who wanted to be able to drink alcohol at the shows, which was not allowed on campus. Hence, many shows moved off campus.
Politics & Theft
The Coffee House closed its doors for one whole day in the Spring of 2002. This radical display was a move to strike against the ASUCD Senate's decision to enlist a full-time chef, which would have taken the power from students. It would have also indicated that popular kitchen manager Darin Schluep would be fired. It was estimated that thousands of dollars were lost in the one day of closure. The following day, then-ASUCD President Chia-Saun Lai and the Coffee House reached an agreement. The idea of a full-time chef was scrapped and the CoHo reopened.
On Oct. 11, 2006 around 9 p.m., two individuals stole the CoHo piano by rolling it out the doors. The two men were caught on film as well as seen by one CoHo employee. On the morning of Oct. 12 two of the staff managers recognized the individuals as the the poster sellers on the MU Patio. The police were called and the eye-witness identified them. When the police arrived one of the alleged thieves fled on foot and was subsequently chased by one of the CoHo staff managers. Both suspects were caught and arrested for allegedly stealing the piano. The posters and merchandise were held on the fifth floor of the Memorial Union for over five months until the workers' East Coast-based company retrieved them. The incident was written up in The California Aggie.
Around the corner you could find the CoHo Bakery which offered coffee, tea, hot chocolate, ice cream, and frozen yogurt by the ounce, and, of course, baked goods. They also sold the Coffee House Campus Mug.
Continuing north, you would find the Coffee House Too. Since it's the worst name ever, people either called it The Grill or just that-part-of-the-coffee-house-that-sells-burritos-and-stuff. That-part-of-the-coffee-house-that-sells-burritos-and-stuff sold burritos, quesadillas, tacos, nachos, pizza, egg rolls, bread sticks, breakfast burritos (if you got there early), and various items served from bins at the hot food line, including chili, casserole, soup, quiche, salads, and pasta. The Hot Food Line Menu is updated daily before 10:30 a.m.
Renovation work on the CoHo began on Aug. 17, 2009, and continued until Fall 2010. Temporary, reduced service was provided in the MU East Wing where the post office and the Aggie Student Store were previously located. See Coffee House Renovation Update Page.
During 2009-2010 renovation
Fliers and memorabilia
The CoHo's music and events lineup over the years has run the gamut from comedy acts to punk shows.
- Summer 2007 Summer of Love Lives On UC Davis Magazine
- Comments before re-opening after major remodeling in 2010
2010-10-13 21:05:37 I propose most of this page moved to a sub-section called Coffee House (pre-2010). The new Coffee House needs a new page with updated pictures, stations, prices, and layout. —mperkel
2010-10-14 14:00:29 I retired from the Univ. 20 years ago, and the Coffee HOuse is the only thing I miss. I ate my suppers there for many years. I have their first two ASUCD Coffee House Cookbooks. Have they published a 3rd edition recently? —PatKeehn
2010-10-15 14:16:06 Burritos at the old CoHo were great, but the new ones are TERRIBLE. Tortilla wasn't cooked, they only put little scoops of rice/beans/chicken in, and what's worse, they didn't mix them around so it was just blob of rice, blob of beans, blob of chicken. Don't waste your time with this place, just go to Chipotle instead. So far it seems like the "new CoHo" is just flashier decorations covering up worse food. UCD should have just kept the old one. —Kuni
- Actually this happened with the old CoHo too. It just depended on who made your burrito. There were a few people who knew how to spread the stuff on a tortilla before rolling it up and more people who just put every ingredient into an individual ball. I did however get a pretty bad quesadilla yesterday, absolutely no meat or cheese and mainly salsa.—hankim
2010-10-26 11:26:28 Not sure what it is about the food here but I am always left with a bad aftertaste in my mouth whenever I eat anything here. Also, the cakes are a little dense. —hankim
- Food are made by students, sometimes they screw up I guess. They also only re-opened recently so everyone is really freshly trained. They're also quite overpriced.—ClarenceL
- Actually it's always been like this to me. —hanskim
2010-10-28 00:39:11 Update to my previous comment - A taco bell chicken burrito ($1.29) is roughly equivalent to the standard CoHo burrito in terms of size and amount of meat (CoHo's does have beans, though). Also, at Taco Bell they heat the tortilla. You decide whether to get the $3.99 CoHo burrito or the $1.29 Taco Bell one. —Kuni
2010-10-28 09:15:46 First time I've been able to eat at the Coho. I've had only the hot food at Cooks. So far their Asian-influenced meals remind me of the sort of thing that I used to get at a military dining hall. The sort of entrée you'd never hope to get at a Chinese restaurant, and yet, for $1.99 more, you can get a great lunch with left-overs at such a restaurant. So I'm not sure that their Asian-influenced hot meals are worth the cash (particularly their Large). It's more rice than anything, and the rice gets the heat-lamp treatment for far too long. On the plus side, their large does fill me up. But as mentioned, it isn't particularly good. —RyanMikulovsky
2010-10-28 11:30:34 So I have been trying to eat here for convenience this week and I have to say that I am not very impressed. The pizza is almost a third crust and leaves that funny aftertaste that microwave pizzas leave behind. The bagels are really dry (they also fall apart really easily) and the fowl and tuna salads are flavorless. The burritos just completely drip all over the place (probably the salsa) yet have no flavor at all. Basically just a soggy mess for five dollars. I did not even bother with the pho because of how it looked and the sushi is quite overpriced. —hankim
No, I really suggest you try the curry pho with tofu. Its really good. Try a sample if you don't feel like spending 6 dollars on something you may not like. I'm a picky eater but the pho is def worth a try. It's like the only thing in the coho that doesn't leave me feeling sick/grossed out afterwards. —RebelYell
- I actually disagree, the pho left me feeling ripped off. I've had ramen that tasted better and definitely cheaper than the CoHo pho. Of course stray away from the regular pho, but the curry pho isn't the best but is better than the regular pho. IMO, I like the sandwiches and bagels the most. —ClarenceL
2011-01-03 14:49:06 I had a burrito that tasted like it was made by a member of the Klu Klux Klan, not to say that the person who assembled it was racist but the people who came up with the recipes was extremely white (culturally speaking).
2011-01-19 12:43:59 I enjoy the coffee house as a place to catch up on work, read, or just enjoy the fast, wireless internet. But the actual food, as others have already elaborated on, leaves a lot to be desired.
It seems as if the CoHo is very intent on marketing itself as sustainable, local, hip, environmentally friendly, a deviation from those big soulless corporate food chains, etc, things young, idealistic college students care about. And that's perfectly fine. I just wish they would put the same effort into making the food edible and worth the money they're asking for it. —JoeThePlumber
2011-02-13 22:57:40 I am sad to say that the food here was better and cheaper before the major remodeling of 2010 :(
that said the tx mex nachos are still worth it if you must eat on campus (and it is way better than supporting chain restaurants at the Silo —tneeley
2011-05-29 02:06:03 Food is bland and overpriced for the portions. Maybe I'm just a big eater or I'm too accustomed to the stereotypical ginormous portions that America is so well-known for, but a "Cooks'" "large" just doesn't seem to warrant four something dollars. And as a previous reviewer noted, they tend to go heavy on the rice. I'm surprised that people pay for the CoHo's swirl of chicken broth that it audaciously parades around as "pho" and thinks justifies a nearly $6 price tag. IMO, you'd be better off bringing a packet of $0.25 ramen and heating that up with the free hot water offered by the bakery. Microwave some cooked chicken and throw in some easily transportable vegetables like spinach and you wouldn't be too far off from recreating the CoHo's "pho." I do acknowledge that the CoHo is the only viable eatery for those starved for time, but this does not justify the mediocre stuff that the CoHo pushes out and the accompanying steep prices.
The only "bright" spot would be the bakery which usually serves up delicious pastries (I'm in love with the "vegan rice krispies" which they seem to never have!). I would, however, forgo the espresso items, for my experience has not convinced me of hope existening in that nook of the bakery. —blastoff
2011-07-08 23:25:34 Swirlz Bakery: Vegan Fudge Brownie: vegan brownie with chocolate frosting and candied coconut shavings 4/5 = sometimes tastes stale
Caio Pizza: cheese pizza 3/5 = the crust is fluffy but flavorless, same goes for the marinara sauce. They always put lots of cheese.
Choptstixx: vegetarian pho 2/5 = flavorless broth with cardboard tofu and vegetables weren't properly cut/sliced or even cooked
tex mex grill: chicken salad bowl 3/5 = they were heavy on the romaine lettuce but skimped on the grilled chicken. pass on the chipotle sauce (it's just slightly spicy mayo)
Fickle picle deli: jalapeno bagel with hummus 4/5 = the bagel tastes good (not as good as noah's) they put way too much hummus in there and it spills everywhere when you bite into it
whole wheat bagel with fowl salad 3/5 = the fowl salad wasn't particulary flavorful and the chicken was a bit stringy. the w.w. bagel was ok.
Cooks: Jamaican Black bean soup 2/5 = tasted like bland black bean porridge until I added tapatio sauce which completely transformed it in a good way meat lasagana 4/5: excellent taste but the cheese on top is crusty tofu chili 4/5: pretty good but the tofu needs to absorb the flavor of the chili more turky chili 4.5/5: tasted slightly better than the tofu chili cashew pesto lasagna 5/5: best thing I've had at cooks. Excellent use of cashews for that nutty flavor. Might be a little too oily for some (but on the bright side it's not bacon grease or anything it's just olive oil)
2011-08-01 11:40:47 The food was WAY better before the remodel, and cheaper. Everything I've tried from the new coho has been mediocre at best, besides the bakery which is still good. —JanaShute
2011-08-01 18:35:19 I wasn't around before the remodel, but I agree that prices are rather steep.
TxMx has some good deals though. The Especial burritos are HUGE and include tortilla chips for $3.25 (if you get a black bean burrito, no rice). My favorite thing to get lately is the black bean especial taco salad. Romaine lettuce, black beans, guac, sour cream, choice of dressing (I get chipotle something or other), choice of salsa (I get pico), cheese, and crushed chips on top. NOM. Sometimes they forget to put cheese on so make sure you ask. That comes to $3.55 which is more than I would like to spend on lunch but beats almost all other Coho prices - especially the pricey salads at Croutons.
I also really like getting the $1 cone of frozen yogurt.
My wishful thinking: Ciao should withhold mushrooms from the vegetable pizza once in a while, and Swirlz should bake more savory items instead of just sugary treats. Also, bring back the pasta bar! —MeggoWaffle
2011-09-23 15:28:13 Service at the CoHo is as friendly as ever. Student employees have always been cheerful and amiable, and you definitely get service with a smile.
The desserts at the CoHo are still delicious— I'm always a little sad when they don't have the cheesecake bars, but their sugar cookies are delicious (lighter in flavor, not overpowering so you get sick of it after the first bite). As for actual entrees, I've only really had the pizza with any regularity, but I've always found a slice of it to be reasonably priced and tasty, though not mind-blowing.
My recent experience with the pho has led me back to the same conclusion from two years ago: it's still extremely overpriced and...weird. The chicken broth is simultaneously sweet and savory, though not in a good way. The noodles often feel undercooked and overall the portions are simply underwhelming at $6 a pop. I'm one of those people that enjoys their noodles swimming in broth in a giant bowl, and the CoHo pho felt like I was eating a serving of Cup Noodles.
I've grown to accept the fact that the CoHo is a major convenience, but not a good place to get cheap food, or delicious food. There are some gems (the bakery), but there are things that fall pretty flat (the pho). If you have the time and/or means of transportation, you can find much better food downtown. —AbbYu
2013-10-20 13:33:46 It's pretty common to see half the employees standing around and the other half working at half speed, even when there is a line ten deep. Get you act together, young'uns. —ScottB
2022-04-02 19:51:01 I have fond memories of working at the Coffee House back in the late 80s and early 90s. Before moving to the ugly new current building from 1991, there was the "old Coffee House" on the eastern wing of the building, which had a loooot more character and charm (although apparently even that was not the first Coffee House location). Sociology grad Mindy Milligan did her dissertation on the unsuccessful student opposition to the move. And back then nobody ever called it "CoHo," not even once. —dna666