Students looking for easy, nearby eats can look no further than the Horseshoe. Two restaurants boasting popular menus and student-friendly atmospheres sit just across the street, and neither one will break the bank.
Tio’s Mexican Cafe & Cantina
Tio’s Mexican Cafe & Cantina is a family-owned restaurant that offers Mexican classics such as tacos, enchiladas, burritos and more. The self-branded vegan-friendly Tex-Mex restaurant has been serving Mexican dinners and Americano sandwiches for about 15 years. The West Coast tacos are daytime manager Ellen Jones’ favorite.
“It’s all of our fish tacos that we do,” Jones said. “We’ve got a salmon taco, a mahi-mahi taco; we have a fried cod taco and a shrimp taco, and they’re all really good.”
For Jones, working at Tio’s is very much a personal experience.
“All the people who work here, we’re all really close. We work really long hours and a lot of us work every single day, so it’s kinda like we see each other more than we see our friends and family,” Jones said.
Their close bond is something they want their customers to feel, too, Jones said. Tio's hosts weekly events such as bingo and trivia nights, creating a community-oriented atmosphere.
“When people come here, I would expect that they would leave feeling like they had a personal experience,” Jones said. “It’s a very warm environment.”
Beezer’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop
Just left of Tio’s is Beezer’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop, a baseball-themed sandwich joint. Located on Sumter Street since 1998, Beezer’s strives to live up to its slogan, “The proof is in the taste,” with a wide variety of deli meats and customizable meals.
The family-owned sandwich shop is the perfect place for an on-the-go lunch or dinner, according to employee and fourth-year biology student Valerie Tickett.
“We have pretty much all the kinds of lunch meats that you would want,” Tickett said. “We have ... any kind of veggies you would want to put on [a sandwich].”
Tickett said the menu of deli meats, veggies and other toppings means there is something for everybody. The shop also has some ready-to-order menu items, such as the Stormin' Normin, a sandwich filled with roast beef, provolone and vegetables, and the T-Bird, a turkey breast sandwich.
In the front of the shop, “We are Cocky about our size” is painted in red on a white beam above customers’ heads. The quote is a nod at USC and the shop’s small space; the deli is the smallest among the restaurants that face the Horseshoe. Nonetheless, Beezer’s is a comfortable, casual deli with food that everyone can enjoy.
“I would love for [customers] to think this is a friendly, pretty inexpensive but good quality meal,” Tickett said.