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The Future of the Student Special at Town and Country


With Paly students having the opportunity to return to campus since March 9, the answer to the question “What should I get myself for lunch?” has certainly been on many students’ minds. Many students used to run over to Town & Country for some coffee or a salad at Trader Joe’s. However, based on Santa Clara County’s red tier COVID-19 status, Paly will have a closed campus lunch until the Country returns to the orange tier.

According to Omar Garcia, the Front-Of-House lead at Town & Country Oren’s Hummus Express, restaurants such as his have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic and he hopes Paly students can return to Oren’s for lunch soon. “Business has been a lot slower compared to back then, especially while they were outside of school,” Garcia said. “(Paly Students) would give us a rush. We no longer have that.”

Garcia said Oren’s has made a lot of adjustments to adhere to COVID-19 community safety guidelines but that this has been fairly easy considering the restaurant’s to-go focus.

“We’ve always worn gloves, so that isn’t something new to us,” Garcia said. “But now we have to check every single employee that comes in (to make sure) that no one’s sick.”

Lulu’s Tacqueria, another Town & Country staple, is adjusting in similar ways to prioritize customer safety, Roxanne Mein, Lulu’s director of catering, said.

“We have a very very strict cleaning procedure at Lulu’s, and we always have,” Mein said. “We’ve ramped that up even more so we clean tables after people use them, cleaning pens and any high traffic areas people touch. Specifically at Lulu’s at Town & Country, we closed the inside so there are tables set up at the doors so no customers actually get anywhere close to the food.”

Despite restaurant safety protocols, Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson said students will not be allowed to leave campus during the school day until Santa Clara County enters at least the orange tier of the governor’s reopening plan.

“Obviously we will be keeping an eye on the North side of campus,” Berkson said. “Basically, if students try to (leave campus) they won’t be able to come to school. You’ll be able to eat. You’ll have to social distance on your own, and obviously we’ll be walking around and keeping an eye on things. The district is providing lunch for people who want it, or you can bring your own lunch. You won’t be able to Doordash or anything like that.”

Although having meals delivered to the quad is not an option for students during the school day, Howie’s Pizza General Manager Michael Kelly said restaurants such as his are continuing to offer student specials.

“We’re very lucky in that pizza was already kind of formatted for that to go lifestyle, so a lot of our regular customers didn’t stop coming,” Kelly said.

He said “(The student specials will be) available every day until 5 o’clock whoever needs it.”

Orens is preparing some Paly Senior discounts for students and Lulu’s is also excited to welcome back the Paly student menu, “We’ve just really enjoyed having (Paly students) come every lunch time, and we’re ready for them,” Mein said.  “We expect them and we can’t wait for them to be back.”

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