Are ya hungry?!
Most of the El Paso Community College vendor’s contracts ended in December so, with the exception of Smokey’s (TM), there will be a new restaurant in every other campus known as The Basil Garden.
JAVIER DE LA HOZ/ TEJANO TRIBUNE
An inside look at Western Technical College's "The Basil Garden" which will closesly resemble
the new Valle Verde, Northwest, Rio Grande and Mission del Paso EPCC campus locations.
The Valle Verde campus location opened on Feb. 6.
Operating mainly at educational institutions, The Basil Garden currently resides at Cathedral High School, Harmony Science Academy and Western Technical College. The owner, Olivia Cabildo, said that she wants to provide a variety of food including a healthy line called “Live.”
“We try to do the best business that you had with the other companies and we want to provide Mexican, Italian and American food. We have one line called “Live” with more vegetables. The prices are between $5 and the most expensive is $8.”
Cabildo is planning to serve breakfast until around 11 a.m. which includes burritos, french toast, pancakes, yogurt, chilaquiles, scrambled eggs and menudo on Fridays. There also seven breakfast combos all under eight dollars with a choice of coffee or water. “If somebody says they want a cheeseburger then we can prepare a cheeseburger in the morning too,” she said.
For lunch and dinner there are house and caesar salad options, combos (one side and a drink) for $6.95 or $7.95 and combo plates (several sides with no drink included) that are $8. For $6.95 one could order a basil chicken sandwich, chipotle sandwich, tuna sandwich or a cheeseburger with green chili. The $7.95 plates include the “New York” (turkey breast), “Vegetarian” (panini) and “Meat Panini.” Dinner options for $8 feature meat or spinach lasagna, chicken alfredo pasta, BBQ brisket, a Mexican plate, caldo or soap de albondigas.
“We want menus outside too like a TV and the menu will be a little bit different one day to the other for the special plates,” Cabildo said.
As far as handheld specials go, there will be cheeseburgers, tortas, nachos and quesadillas with chicken or ham. The owner also mentioned that she is working on a pizza oven so that customers can enjoy a two-topping pizza with an extra dollar per topping and available in three different sizes.
The owner expressed that drinks of all kinds will also be sold including fountain drinks, lemonade, Jamaica, orange and apple juice, tea, milk, and protein shakes of assorted ingredients. The Basil Garden has not left out dessert options either and will provide cheesecake, flan, chocolate and carrot cake, muffins and pan dulce.
“She’s coming from the outside and she’s bringing her fresh ideas. Western Tech has its own clientele and even though they're students, she expressed to us that they don't want a sit-down ‘fork and knife meal.’ They want a burrito and to just go. She’s gonna test the market and cater to our different campuses so I think it's going to be a good partnership,” Luis Cervantes, Purchasing Buyer, said.
... and how we got here
On Dec. 14, 2017 the EPCC Request for Proposals Analysis Committee met to discuss the approval of new food concession vendor’s contracts for each campus.
The only exception was Smokey’s at Transmountain due to their existing contract.
According to the Board of Trustees agenda, the RFP Analysis Committee consisted of the SGA President, SGA Vice President, Campus Deans, Director of Student Leadership and Campus Life, and Physical Plant Managing Director.
The past restaurants which will remain at EPCC are Subway (VV) and Tazas (VV, RG, TM). In the original board meeting, the college was expecting to approve El Portal del Ciros, which scored 77.67 points out of 100, in replacement of Conchita’s at the Northwest campus.
“Even though El Portal del Ciros made us a written offer for Northwest campus they changed their mind and did not want the contract,” Ruben Gallardo, Director of Purchasing Management said.
The subsequent highest scoring restaurant with 66.67 points was The Basil Garden. “We wish that Conchita would have made us an offer but she didn’t. We asked them [The Basil Garden] ‘are you interested, you’re not the top score but you’re the second highest scoring, would you like a contract for Northwest campus,’” Gallardo said.
Taking notice that the college does not have any major chain restaurants, Gallardo said that he believes if we had dorms, perhaps EPCC would receive those kinds of offers.
“I wish that we had had offers from Chick Fil A and some of the bigger chains throughout El Paso. McDonalds comes to mind but we didn't get offers from these large firms. I suspect that we do not have the level of business on a consistent bases to attract them.
I suspect that they didn't feel that they could break even or make money and it just wasn't a good fit between those large companies and our demographics here at El Paso Community College.”
As far as future endeavors are concerned, Gallardo mentioned that the purchasing and management department is “exploring the possibility of building two distinct kitchens at Rio Grande so that we can have two vendors in two different kitchens that are independent of each other so that we can give students some variety.
Transmountain might be the next one that we look into. Space is little bit of a concern but we may in the future consider something. First we need to consider something for Rio Grande.”