The Nugget Grill and Pub opened its doors on Dec. 5 for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic forced Long Beach State’s campus shutdown in March 2020.
Rosa Hernandez, director of marketing and communications for the 49er Shops, said The Nugget will have a soft opening this week, serving breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Hernandez noted these hours of operation are not finalized and are subject to change, as the restaurant continues to “work out the kinks.” Students, faculty and staff are able to order online from The Nugget through the GrubHub app.
“We wanted to open last week, but we kept running into issues,” Hernandez said.
The 49er Shops tried to re-open The Nugget in March 2021, but critical issues such as hiring a full staff and preparing the building for operation continued to delay the restaurant’s reopening.
“When the campus came back, we wanted to come back,” Hernandez said, adding it was difficult to open a facility that already existed.
In order to re-open, the building in which The Nugget operates had to pass city inspection by the Long Beach Health Department as well as campus health regulations.
Hernandez said the top critical issue in re-opening was hiring a full staff. Around 600 of the original staff were laid off due to the pandemic shutdown, according to Hernandez, and hiring professionals to work in the kitchen and back of house was the biggest obstacle.
“Hiring students was easy,” Hernandez said.
Before The Nugget was forced to close, it was a popular place on campus to grab a beer and pizza with friends, the only other spot to serve alcohol on campus besides The Outpost Grill.
“It’s about this time of the semester where I really need The Nugget,” said Jennifer Newton, a JPR professor at CSULB. “It’s been a gaping hole on campus– we were all wondering when it would come back.”
While The Nugget is anticipated to operate on soft hours for the rest of this semester, Hernandez said the restaurant will resume full operation and regular business hours by Spring 2023.