Favela Burrito Shack on campus closes following slow business


James Von Essen

Alondra Lazaro Gonzalez, Denise Lazaro, and Nereida Rangel hold signs in protest April 16 outside the Favela cafe on East Campus at Santa Barbara City College. The students are protesting to bring awareness of student workers losing their jobs with little notice, and the loss of diverse, comfort food on campus.

Katie James, Opinion Editor

The Favela Burrito Shack served food for the last time Thursday. The shack is closing due to low traffic, but the food served there will now be offered at the Cafeteria starting Monday and the West Campus Snack Shop starting in Fall 2018.

The staff at the shop was notified of the closing via email along with some other faculty members on campus. An email was sent via the all-campus email system Thursday morning informing students and faculty of the sudden closure.

A follow-up email was sent out Thursday afternoon to all-campus by Director of Auxiliary Services Paul Miller, confirming that Favela’s food would be offered in the other cafeterias on campus and providing details including the start dates mentioned above.

Chef Fernando, the man behind Favela’s food, will now be working in the East Campus Cafeteria where his menu items such as burritos, tacos, and nachos will be incorporated into existing menus, as well as the West Campus Snack Shop in Fall 2018.

“Food Services is committed to re-assigning hourly employees from Favela’s into our other food venues or the Campus Store,” Miller wrote, addressing concerns over the fate of the current staff of Favela.

A demonstration was held outside during the shack’s last serving hours protesting the closing, including the displacement of the students workers employed there and the loss of the sense of community Favela created.

James Von Essen
Rachael Young, a cashier at Favela cafe says she is moving through orders faster than usual as a rush of customers come through to support the Favela cafe on its last day of operation on Thursday, April 26.

There was a long line of people lined up for food outside the shack, far more than a typical day. Inside the cashier was dressed up in a taco costume.

Favela’s quality food and the workers’ friendly attitudes brought comfort to many students. According to students protesting and waiting in line for food, it was reasonably priced, and provided not only a space for Latinx students on campus but also a space for people of different cultures to interact.

Spanish major Alondra Little decided to send out an email Thursday morning to various faculty, student workers and The Channels inviting them and other students to join in the protest beginning at noon outside Favela.

“I want to bring awareness that although there are many many students workers here, we don’t have any rights besides just employment. The jobs can end abruptly from one day to another with no notice,” Little said.

“I appreciate the work of the student workers and the school business is made out of student workers.”

Little has a meeting scheduled with Arturo Rodriguez, dean of student support services, student development, and student discipline today to discuss ways to maintain or create a new medium for the sense of community created by Favela, and how to ensure the displaced student workers are placed in new positions.

Student equity worker Blaise Lemos was one student who wished the school would have done more to support Favela before deciding to close it. Most students were not aware it was closing until they walked by and saw the protest.

“I am frankly disappointed with the administration,” Lemos said.

Luz Reyes-Martin, executive director of public affairs and communications, said the low number of customers was not enough to make the burrito shack financially sustainable any longer especially with the college’s budget deficit. She also said the staff members were supported in applying for the other positions currently open in food services on campus, and that the space will now be used for special events.

“There are efforts to make sure nobody is just left out, that there are other opportunities for them,” Reyes-Martin said.