Rice and Bones, a new campus Vietnamese café, opened its doors to the public Monday replacing Ramona’s, a former Cal Dining location in Wurster Hall.
Ramona’s closed March 2016 and the space has been under renovation ever since. Rice and Bones owner and chef Charles Phan is a campus alumnus who studied architecture in the College of Environmental Design in the 1980s. Phan also owns The Slanted Door and Out The Door in San Francisco and was awarded the 2004 James Beard Award for Best Chef California.
Phan said his mission for Rice and Bones is to provide sustainable and high quality ingredients to customers. He added that the restaurant being “culturally specific” sets it apart from other dining options available on campus.
“(The name Rice and Bones) kind of invokes how you can make beautiful and flavorful food with very little,” Phan said. “If you study culture, that’s how the rest of the world eats, with very little meat.”
The interior of the restaurant is spacious and modern with minimalist style furniture and ample seating, offering counter service. Prices at Rice and Bones range from about $10 to $14 for meal-size dishes like rolls, soups and salads, and the restaurant does not accept meal points.
According to Lucky Vasquez, Director of Operations at Cal Dining, food items at Ramona’s were priced between 6.25 and 6.95 meal points. In the Cal Dining meal point system, one point is the equivalent of one dollar.
Currently, the restaurant is open for lunch from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., but Phan hopes that eventually they will have extended hours seven days a week with alternating food options according to the time of day.
Some students on campus said they felt the restaurant was visually appealing, but that the menu was pricey.
“It has a nice aesthetic and it’s definitely interesting to see what was behind the doors (in Wurster) the entire time. The prices seem relatively high compared to the places that are within walking distance,” said campus junior David Ying. “You’re paying for the (convenience and aesthetic) of it … to me, that premium doesn’t make sense.”
Senior Allyx Teel said that while the food was good, she only went because the restaurant offered 50 percent off regular menu prices on its opening day.
“Ramona’s had everything and this one feels very narrow,” Teel added.
Danielle Lecher, a campus senior, said she was disappointed with Rice and Bones’ prices because she feels that there aren’t many options for dining in the southeast part of campus.
“It’s really nice. It looks like a fancy restaurant. I don’t know if we need that right now. Especially above Sproul there’s not really anywhere to eat. But it is really good,” Lecher said.