By Nancy Henry
We all have them, we all lose them, and we all use them for basic survival on campus. However, it still seems that many students on campus are unaware of the wonderful discounts that our OneCards can provide for us at restaurants all around the Fitchburg community.
From the $5 deal at Burger King to the 20 percent off all food items deal at Ixtapa Cantina, there are various places that generously offer Fitchburg State students great deals and opportunities to try new cuisines. To truly experience all of tasty opportunities that the OneCard brings to Fitchburg State students, my roommate and I went on a weekend trek around Fitchburg to several of the restaurants that offer discounts for our campus community.
Starting at Liberty Pizza, which has been conveniently located at the end of Highland Avenue for the last three years, owner John told us about the most popular items on their menu, which include the ever-popular Buffalo Chicken Pizza and their 6-ounce Cheeseburger Deluxe sandwich that is made from always fresh, never frozen hamburger. The exceptionally clean atmosphere, $1 delivery charge and additional 5 percent off for all FSU students are all reasons for Liberty Pizza to be a top choice for pizza and subs on your next lazy day in the dorms.
Our next stop, Bangkok Hill, located at 177 Mass Ave. in Lunenburg, serves light and flavorful, true traditional Thai cuisine and is a must-try for all students willing to branch out and try unique and healthy options. When we arrived at the homey, well-decorated restaurant at the top of the hill, Miss May welcomed us and explained that it was her sister, Miss June, who has owned Bangkok Hill for the past eight years. Fitchburg State graduate student Matthew Sinclair was enjoying some Thai iced tea and Chicken Pad Thai, which he generously shared with us. “I’ve had Pad Thai four hours from Thailand, and this is by far the best I have ever had,” said Sinclair. His friend, Fox, continued to rave about her favorite restaurant, Bangkok Hill, while introducing us to Tom Khar, a traditional Thai coconut soup garnished with mushrooms, scallions, and cilantro. This soup, along with Bangkok’s Wild Boar Basil, Crispy Duck, and fresh Mango and Sticky Rice dessert are all affordable and shareable meals that all FSU students should try on a night they are feeling adventurous! The welcoming atmosphere, available outside dining and 10 percent OneCard discount are all reasons to give Bangkok Hill a try.
After our exciting experience with Thai cuisine, we arrived at Portabella’s on Summer Street in Fitchburg, which also offers a 10 percent discount to Fitchburg State students. Portabellas, run by Helen and Frank, has been open for about 10 months and is a “real Mom and Pop pizzeria.” Everything from their homemade sauce to their house-marinated, top-quality meats are made on the premises and made to order, every single time. Portabellas’ most popular item is the Portabella Club: house-roasted turkey, Angus roast beef, and smokehouse bacon. This sandwich, along with the Big Beef roast beef sandwich, the Rueben, and the Chicken Ranchero Pizza are all must-try items that will satisfy all FSU students’ cravings. The antipasto salad is also a healthier but still delicious option. “It is a top quality salad, made with top quality everything!” Frank told us as we watched him make our salad. Portabella’s is a family owned and operated restaurant that is ready to serve our campus community the freshest pizzas and sandwiches around!
GOOMBAZ, located conveniently close to campus, caters specifically to Fitchburg State University students. Mike, who has owned GOOMBAZ since January, offers free delivery and a 10 percent discount to all students with a OneCard. With recent updates, GOOMBAZ is now BYOB (bring your own booze) and is open until 2:30 a.m. on Saturday nights. Christine, who has worked at GOOMBAZ since the day it opened, makes the sauce and dough homemade each day and takes pride in the incredibly clean environment. GOOMBAZ offers pizza by the slice, which makes the experience affordable and quick, but are more widely known for their specialty pizzas. GOOMBAZ’s lasagna pizza sets them apart from all other pizza joints in the area and is piled high with sliced homemade meatballs, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, and Christine’s homemade pizza sauce. If you are not a pizza connoisseur, GOOMBAZ has a variety of other options such as Spanish empanadas, Buffalo calzones, BLT wraps, chicken bacon ranch subs, and what Mike calls “the best steak and cheese grinders in the area!”
Although we were not able to hit all of the restaurants that offer OneCard discounts, this day-long adventure made it clear that all of these family-owned restaurants love to provide the Fitchburg State University community with their diverse cuisines, fun atmospheres, and generous discounts. I would recommend trying any and all of the restaurants that Sam and I visited and to become familiar with our surrounding community. The owners of these restaurants put endless amounts of time, love, and care into their businesses and happily open their doors to all students in the campus community.
To end our adventures for the day, Sam and I checked out the Hong Kong Café on Main Street in Fitchburg and were happily welcomed by John, the Café’s owner of three years, who offers a 10 percent discount and free delivery to Fitchburg State students. Hong Kong provides all of the most popular Chinese-American cuisine including General Gao’s chicken, crab rangoons, chicken lo mein, and chicken wings. If you are interested in trying more authentic Chinese traditional options, John and his kitchen offer seafood on crispy noodles and traditional beef rice noodle. No matter what you decide on, Hong Kong offers a scorpion bowl for two that will definitely not disappoint, a jukebox and fun bar atmosphere that goes perfectly with any of the meals that John offers (as long as you are 21 or older).