New businesses Qargo Coffee, Bundoo Khan and Brooklynz Pizza now grace the landscape of a food hub at the corner of Nutwood Avenue and Langsdorf Drive.
The transition to virtual classes and vacancy of Cal State Fullerton during the COVID-19 pandemic left businesses near campus struggling. Pizza Press, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Cafe Rio — all formerly in the food plaza — closed their doors during the pandemic.
With in-person classes back in session, replacements have arrived.
Qargo Coffee opened on July 30 and co-owner Abdulahad Telwar said the shop offers an immersive Italian concept, including the coffee made with Italian-style beans, pastries and uniforms.
Just over one month after opening, Telwar said business is going well. He added that there was a 25-30% increase in sales from week to week since the start of the semester, and that 80% of the business relies on the students from local universities.
“I feel like what we bring is definitely the space and the environment. I know students require that when it comes to studying or meeting or brainstorming,” Telwar said.
During the design process, Telwar said that they added seating pods throughout the coffee shop to give students personal space for groups and open seating to cater to different circumstances.
“We wanted to drive this business and cater it more towards students and the students’ demands. We wanted to give good internet; we wanted to give good service, affordable pricing and plenty of space,” Telwar said.
Telwar added that the business is looking into increasing their hours around exam time and having customer appreciation events for the Fullerton community.
Lesslie Callejas, a first-year psychology major, frequents the establishment to study after classes. Callejas said she likes the good vibes of the coffee shop and spacious layout.
She added that so far she has already visited the coffee shop three or four times in just a week’s time, favoring the convenience of the location and proximity to her humanities classes.
“The humanities building is right here. I can quickly come over here, get my coffee and go,” Callejas said. She said she hopes Qargo Coffee is there for all of her years at CSUF.
Dayanna Mata, a second-year student, and friend Jennifer Lopez, a first-year student, both visit Qargo Coffee to do homework after class.
“We prefer to come over here because you don’t have to wait in a big line,” Lopez said.
She added that she likes the coffee and the amount of space the coffee shop offers. Mata and Lopez said they currently visit Qargo Coffee at least twice a week.
“After we're done with a class we come here, we do homework, we get coffee, do our thing and then drive back home,” Mata said.
Just two doors down from Qargo Coffee is Bundoo Khan, which offers its customers authentic Pakistani food. Abdullah Jafrey, owner of the family-run business, said the food is made with homeground spices for the barbeque concept.
Bundoo Khan is a popular franchise in Pakistan, but the Fullerton location is the first one in the United States.
“I think the community welcomed us really well and we’re just looking to expand,” Jafrey said. “We’ve had a lot of newcomers try the food, a lot of students come to try it, and the feedback we’ve been getting is so far so good.”
Jafrey said that they enjoy having students come over to the business.
He said his family picked this specific location because of the proximity to the CSUF campus and the easy access from nearby freeways. Jafrey added that his father is a CSUF alumnus and lived near campus while he attended.
“This brings back so many memories for him from not only college, but then bringing the brand that he used to eat back home and fusing that with his first experience in America when he landed here,” Jafrey said.
Brooklynz Pizza is the last of the three businesses to open with no official opening date announced to the public.