This page has older comments about 3rd & U Cafe.
I ate there for lunch today; I was walking by and saw that it was open. Had the buffalo chicken sandwich. It was good, though a tad salty. The coffee was about as good as coffee at the CoHo—a little weak but not bad; perhaps it will improve—I'm optimistic as this is their first day. Overall everything looked fresh for a place that does a good job of targeting student budgets. Sandwiches were very reasonably priced. Everyone there was very nice, and there were a lot of things on the menu that looked tasty. I think this is going to be a good addition to the lunch options available within a short walk of campus. Roma fans may be reluctant to like it, but I expect that it will otherwise be a pretty popular spot. —MatthewPearson
2008-03-14 13:15:45 Yay. Finally. Reviews, please? :-) I'll post one as soon as I get a chance to eat there... —IDoNotExist
2008-03-14 13:27:16 Try the chicken pomodoro panini...yum. —bluemoon
2008-03-14 20:51:01 i was their 4th customer today
their bagels are not all hard when toasted which is nice hahahaha —JackkiCox
2008-03-16 9:50:38 They don't have in-house mugs for hot drinks. Even in a paper cup, their double cappuccino is very good. —Talia
2008-03-16 10:31:45 I stopped in yesterday for a cappuccino. Finally amazing coffee in Davis! It's about time! The barista behind the machine seemed to know what she was doing. I was a barista for three years and I know that they are using a La Marzocco espresso machine. Top notch! I hope they get some ceramic mugs soon though. —JamesThomas
2008-03-16 13:29:04 Got a chance to eat there. The prices were good. The food (in my single sandwich sample) was good too. Roughly on par with what you can get at the Coffee House on campus. Zia's has better sandwiches. They've been open 3 days, and they are clearly still working out the logistics (figuring out how to submit orders, getting food from the kitchen to the customers, etc.) WiFi is not yet accessible, but should be in the next day or two. Service is currently slow (see comment about the logistics.) I'd expect it to get better within the next week or two, as they debug. The room is acoustically very live - you can hear *everyone* talking, and between the music and the 10 or 15 people (including staff) who were in the restaurant, it was very noisy inside. It may or may not be usable as a study space as a result. I'd definitely go there again, and once they get things worked out and their speed improves (and it really needs to), I'd consider going there on a regular basis.
Recommendation: They need to work some things out, but worth going to. —IDoNotExist
2008-03-16 16:31:40 I had lunch there with my roommate. I ordered a chicken sandwich and fries, she had a mushroom burger. Both were solid and tasty but nothing spectacular. The ingredients were fresh, and the bread they have is great. But again, quality is more in the CoHo range then at a Zia's. Prices are moderate for the amount food (meals around 7-8 dollars) but I wouldn't make it a habit. The once exception is coffee. A large regular coffee is $1.90, way to high. Service wasn't extremely friendly but it was prompt and polite. Overall a solid "B-"
As a side note, the atmosphere is near opposite of the relaxed aura of Cafe Roma. Even though people were studying and tables were open I didn't feel like it was someplace I could hang out for a long time after we finished our meal. —AndrewPeake
2008-03-16 18:48:57 I went back today to get some more coffee.... I love coffee! This time it was a caramel machiatto. The service was really slow and I was asked many questions about how I'd like my drink. It's obvious that they are still trying to figure things out. After all they have only been open a few days. After some waiting, I received my drink. It was very good! Much better than Peets or the coffee house on campus. I wasn't a Roma junkie so I have nothing to compare there but overall they seem to be pretty good. Learning but pretty good. I will totally be back.
When I got home I researched Tony's Coffee a little (yes, I have a lot of time on my hands). I found out a few cool things. For one, If you go to TransFair's (fair trade organization) Myspace page, Tony's is their #1 friend on their top 8. Did anyone know that they were voted best coffee in Seattle for the last few years? I guess that they roast for Caffe Ladro in the Seattle area too! I used to love that place when I lived there! I knew that there was a reason that I liked 3rd and U's coffee. I guess that I should try the food lol! —JamesThomas
2008-03-17 21:38:22 Ah finally to have eaten here. I~Exist is right, such that the service is really bad a the moment as they are working out 'bugs' more or less. It is such that the whole of the wait-staff are neophytes, that is to say green, and nobody is used to the place. The manager knows what he is doing, and does a fine job with the coffee drinks (friend had one, said it was decent, not spectacular though). Hopefully over time this will change, for now it is the Third and U delay, especially during the lunch rush, it took 30 mins for a corn dog and fries, an hour for a sammich, admittedly the lost my order for the latter and the boss did comp me the meal. The food however, for seven bucks to get a sammich, salad (or fries if you like) and a drink (with free refills), is well worth it and tasty, though not the best pastrami, it was still worth it, and this will likely become a new place to study for next quarter. —DavidPoole
2008-03-18 15:29:29 I went there on my hour lunch break today. BIG mistake. It took them 25min just to get me a burger. 20min into my wait, some waitress asked me what I had even ordered. As I waited, 2 people had already walked out because they didn't get their food. I listened to them call their names over and over again while looking for them once their food was ready. Meanwhile, I overheard that they had messed up at least two other orders. I really don't think they just have to "work out the kinks" or that it's because they're new, I think they hired people who really have no idea what they're doing (which is sad, because it's not rocket science). Don't go there if you're expecting efficiency, a good atmosphere, or even tasty food...after all that wait, it turned out to be a pretty bad burger anyways. I live a block away, and I'm never eating there again. The future isn't looking good for this place unless they make some drastic changes. —Davis616
2008-03-18 15:48:12 I finally tried the food. I had the chicken sandwich with spinach. Overall, not terrible but far from amazing. The chicken was overcooked and dry. The service continues to be at a snails pace. Thank god I'm underemployed right now and not in a rush! I still do love their coffee. I stopped in this morning and was served a wonderful cappuccino. Unfortunately it took them forever to get it to me. I almost fell asleep waiting. I really hope that they can get their act together soon and streamline procedures. Davis616 is right. Maybe more experienced staff would help? It isn't rocket science! It's food. I don't want to completely rag on them. They are trying and the place is pretty. Did I mention that the coffee is good? —JamesThomas
2008-03-18 16:21:00 Ok tried the place out. Food was pretty good, at the same level as crepeville. I agree that the servers seem like they dont know what they are doing. Its like they hired only people who have no experience in food or customer service. The speed of the service was actually ok, but it was 3:30. —MattHh
2008-03-19 18:06:18 Its not the fact that the staff is incompetent, they are all super nice and friendly. I think that they are all as frustrated as you guys are... this place just opened, you gotta give them time to establish a routine and get used to how things run! Its not like a franchise or anything that has a preset routine, this place is independently owned, so it take a little bit more to get things running smoothly. Us customers tend to put a lot of pressure on people to be perfect, so maybe we should be a little bit more understanding? —KatieV
2008-03-19 19:25:57 I'm glad there's a new coffee spot near the university, and the coffee is good, but man — the aesthetic is repulsive. I've never seen such an unimaginative bourgeois outfit. How can a Café, which connotes class and studiousness, the whole Habermasian exchange, get away with the interior of a sports bar? The lighting along the bar isn't even suitable for reading! The whole atmosphere screams Ikea-prefab beer haunt for the dunderpated Jock/Frat crowd. And this is the replacement we get for the old Roma? What a travesty! 3rd & U Café should do itself a favor: drop the "cafe" pretense and get a liquor license. Then at least it'd be closer to a campus pub, like the Bear's Lair. There's still hope after all. —ZN
I anticipated this criticism and hesitated to post the link because of it, but I figured it would be good to give Habermas some exposure, given the relationship of his views with the subject, rather than concern myself with the details of his views in relation to mine. I'm glad someone read the section indicated and noted the seeming contradiction. While it may be true that cafés sprung from a certain sector of the bourgeoisie, it would be a genetic fallacy to suppose that intellectual engagement at public cafés today, qua Habermas, resembles anything like that of the 18th century. On the contrary, the philosophizing, politically-engaged middle-class has become an endangered species. Now all we have left of anything resembling the "public sphere" here in Davis is (on the rare occasion) the patio of Delta of Venus and (more often, but still hardly of note) the little niche in front of Mishka's. But even the social interaction seen at these venues are markedly individualized or subculture-specific. Rarely do strangers interject when others are in a conversation, even when it's something they're interested in; not only this, but the type of conversation, in my experience, has become much more technology, entertainment, and business oriented (more about the spreading of memes and work-gossip than philosophical or political theory). In fact, today's bourgeoisie is distinctly different from that of 18th century England (that of Habermas' focus); it's much more ideologically homogenous, socially isolated, philosophically ignorant, and much less concerned with enlightened ideals (not even the secular humanist movement comes close; Dawkins is no Kant or Voltaire). What's more, today's bourgeoisie is less politically engaged while at the same time being much more industry-oriented, thinking only of which company is right for them, taking for granted that occupations must somehow necessitate a corporate structure and culture, which for the most part reflects the reality on the ground. Even academia (my neck of the woods) is much more like a corporation than a liberal educational institution. The humanities, for example — art, literature, philosophy — are becoming increasingly devalued, viewed by the business sector as frivolous, superfluous (even Stephen Pinker gives a nod in this direction, saying films like Tootsie are better than Shakespeare's Twelth Night, which is downright absurd). So when I use the word bourgeois today, I mean today's middle classes, not those of even 50 years ago (let alone the 1700s). And what's worse is that the ruling classes have become bourgeois in their value system and mindset. The intellectual elite have become replaced by the interested think tank, the aristocracy by corporate plutocracy, and so we're in a veritable menticultural dark age. Neitzsche's 'slave morality' has been supplanted by the 'corporate slave morality.' Our Zeitgeist is vulgar utilitarianism, the Untermensch, the Eloi, and most definitely not trickle-down aristocratic intellectualization playing itself out in a kaffeeklatsch, as Habermas once envisioned. The sign of the times, to come back around to the original topic, is symbolized by venues like 3rd & U Cafe. —ZN
Excellent post. I agree completely. It makes socializing difficult these days, because no one wants to talk about actual "topics" anymore. People just want to talk about whos dating who, and who did what, and what happened in class or work today. Sometimes half way through most of these conversations I just want to yell out, "You are so boring". Even if you are lucky enough to talk to someone who is interested in politics, its usually who won this race, and who's going to win the next one, like its some sort of sporting competition. A good conversation is rare to find these days, whether its about science, art, philosophy or politics. I do agree that 3rd and U resembles this phenomenon with its sports bar decor, and loud echoing and uninviting atmosphere. Their food and coffee is better than Roma, but we really lost more than we gained. I mean come on, 3rd &U is basically just another Crepeville with a big TV added. What character does this add to the community. —MattHh
"Like a rabbit, you only respect animals with long legs who hop. All other accomplishments are worthless"
The trap that you've fallen into here is to mistake the outward form of philosophical discourse for its reality. Discussion doesn't need to be explicitly philosophical or political to have value, nor does it need to occur in a coffeehouse. The fact that Habermas' examples had both these traits is a matter of historical accident — coffeehouses were convenient places to gather, and criticism of policy was best articulated through these topics.
You claim things are devalued, but offer no evidence that things were better in the past. You mention Twelth Night, for example, but neglect to note that the Globe theatre shared a street with bear-baiting pits, or that most of the comedies have a crudely physical bent. I find the idea that "humanities are becoming increasingly devalued" extremely difficult to believe in light of the excellent work still being published, and the consistency between current and past works. I submit that the reason for the popular perception of these older works as "elevated" stems from, first, the mere fact of their survival (works that survive have a "higher" average quality,) and second, their relative lack of accessibility. Neither of these are significant in appraising the effect of a work in its own time.
Even Habermas' work should be interpreted in light of the time that he was writing about. 18th-century England grappled with many of the same issues that we have today, in the same ways — people criticized the consumption and dissipation of the rich, worried about the effects of easy publishing and distribution, pirated others' works, criticized the reliability of published sources. . . In short, Habermas' writing on the public sphere concerned itself with people very much like those you criticize today.
As to the comments on "corporate structure" and a "menticultural dark age," here too you ignore the history of academia. The great medical faculties, for example, emerged from medieval guilds, and concerned themselves with the practice of medicine for gainful employment. They regulated practitioners and established professional standards. If this is a dark age, in other words, then so was the Renaissance.
This is exactly the sort of elitism I can't stand — the ramblings of the pseudo-elite, who are so easily distracted by signs and forms as to miss their significance completely. This sort of superficial analysis will not serve.
None of this is a defense of 3rd and U, which I don't enjoy. —ct
Heya ct. I respect your perspective, and I think we likely agree on more points than you’d imagine. I’m unclear, however, as to how you’ve contradicted my position (maybe that’s just because your assertions aren't really contradictory in nature — they're more like peripherally related historical speculations than logical arguments. Much of what you say is oriented to the past, whereas I am more concerned with the present. I brought up Habermas in passing—he's not central to my position—and spent most of my time critiquing trends that you’ve failed to address, such as the devaluation of the humanities. This is illustrated nicely by a recent Wall Street Journal article listing the first-year salaries of 16 selected majors, with philosophy and art coming in dead last, or this article about the decline of Classical studies, or the staggering decline of reading, or . . . there are too many articles to cite, but you catch my drift). Yes, I may slip into hyperbole to the detriment of persuading those who identify with the target of my criticism, but I won’t edit out the superlative side of my frustrations for the sake of seeming "fair and balanced." I also don’t think it’s reasonable to brand my sometimes exaggerated concerns and criticism as elitist. I’m certainly not elitist, which implies a sense of arrogance, superiority, or identification with an elite class. I may privilege certain values over others, and I may criticize those who adopt lifestyles and values that threaten "high values" (namely, most of what's considered of philosophic and historic import), but I do so with sound justification, not self-aggrandizement or the belief that higher values are only for an elite class. I fear cultural decadence—humanities illiteracy, conformity, conspicuous consumerism, the decline of critical thinking, and market conditioned values—but these things don’t make me an elitist. I don’t think everyone who prefers playing video games to reading a book, cheap techno-fetish minimalism to classy design, or Safeway to the Co-op is irreversibly 'lower' or 'dumb' (most have compulsory reasons for doing these things); nevertheless, their cultural values are not in accord with mine, or anyone who values liberal education and experiential depth over personal acquisition yoked with philistinism (and no, I don’t mean to imply that everyone who goes to Safeway or plays video games is a Philistine). Anyway, if I’ve offended your sensibilities by attacking a culture you identify with, so be it, but why not defend that culture directly? Cultural criticism shouldn’t be dismissed so glibly. —ZN
You may be right that this isn't the same sort of place Roma was, a more boring place even, but your wikipedia link about the public sphere in coffee shops says "It was this public sphere of rational debate on matters of political importance, made possible by the development of the bourgeois culture centered around coffeehouses" and "eventual decay of the bourgeois public sphere of the Enlightenment" so it doesn't make sense for you to criticize them for being bourgeois. It seems from your link that being bourgeois would make it more of a real cafe, unless there is more to this than I am seeing. I liked Roma though because I could get daviswiki stickers there. —NickSchmalenberger
2008-03-20 15:37:08 I am finally able to post my comments. I now have been to 3rd and U twice, once on Monday the 17th and again today. What a difference a few days make. I agree with KatieV...I think that they, like some of us were pretty frustrated...as this place just opened, what 5 days ago and the first few days were rough. As it is so convenient to campus and the COFFEE IS FANTASTIC (macchiato), I wanted to give it another chance. I had a great lunch today and the staff couldn't be more helpful. I ordered the Tri-tip sandwich and a drink and was served in less than five min. May lunch was great, especially for the price point at $7-$8. I prefer it to the CoHo. I seems like the longer they are open the better the reviews. I hope they hang in there I will defiantly be back. Can’t wait until they have beer! —davisdan
2008-03-25 09:15:13 Tried one of their burgers. Unlike their sandwich, which was quite good, this burger really tasted like something from McDonalds. Really. It tasted almost exactly like a Big Mac. The components were clearly of better quality and freshness than a Big Mac, but it really wasn't a taste that I wanted to be reminded of. :-(
Service has improved dramatically. They had my food to me very quickly, and the staff seemed much better trained than before. —IDoNotExist
2008-03-30 10:41:59 The external paint job reminiscent of "recycled" pea green soup; a piece of art inside the front door that appears as if it had been purchased "by the yard," i.e., just to fill up space; and plasma televisions on the wall where original art used to hang above the stage: can you say "generic"? Am still, nonetheless, based on reviews I read above and below, prepared to be uniquely "wowed" in the food department. —WilyFerret
2008-04-06 00:20:32 Been here a few times now, tried various sandwiches, the caesar salad, and the coffee and I have to say I was impressed! Despite the fact that the place is still very new and all the workers are trying to get the hang of things, the food was pretty tasty and everyone was very friendly. Definitely a place I will go to often! Observation: the french dip doesn't look like much, but it was delish :) —Lia
2008-04-07 10:46:31 The chicken parmigiana sandwich is good eats, But I think they need to turn down the music a bit during the day.
2008-04-10 23:40:28 I tried their Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, and wow was it tangy. Perhaps overly tangy. It was just 'okay,' but I think I'll be trying their other items next time. I enjoyed their Latte, although I've had better in Davis. I will definitely be coming back because of it's proximity to campus and because it's inexpensive. —at86
2008-04-11 00:21:45 I'm really rooting for this place. I like the treatment of the tables and the countertops. They look normal at first but they're very nicely done with a sort of metallic finish you see on a bowling ball or electric guitar. I don't think the TVs make it like a sports bar. My only worry is that overall it doesn't project a sense of a coherent style. On the one hand the font on the sign reminds me of sports or letterman's jackets or whatever. Then inside there's again a sort of mixture of coffeehouse and burger place or whatever. And then the building itself is really ugly. It's fine that the building is ugly, but the thing that bugs me the most honestly is the font on the sign. The place feels like it has an identity crisis. Nevertheless I like the interior and I'm happy that there's a place close to the SSH building again so I hope they survive. —charleslang
2008-04-16 23:49:52 The service has improved somewhat, although they still have some trouble with variations on orders. The food is still tasty too. But if you don't get the combo, the portions are very small and leave you hungry afterwards. For those of us who don't want a soda with our meal, the combo is not a good deal, and the side orders that they have on the menu are all too large and pricy to add to a regular meal. They need to add smaller, less expensive sides or appetizers for those who want more than just a tiny sandwich, but don't want a second meal or the combo. —IDoNotExist
2008-04-18 06:44:13 Ever since this cafe changed hands our People's Weekly World newspaper box has been much too quickly emptied. I checked it out the other Tuesday, the day after our normal Monday dropoff, and the box was empty. A whole stack of papers gone, can capitalists be suddenly so interested in our paper? 3rd and U management types? Ever since Cafe Roma has been out of business, our newspaper box has been all too quickly emptied of dozens of copies of People's Weekly World almost miraculously instantaneously.
We believe UCD students have for years wanted to read our newspaper, one copy at a time. Even if they don't agree with us. And so we will faithfully keep placing our papers in the box right outside the front door of the 3rd and U Cafe...in the interests of the First Amendment.
If you see anyone remove our paper "enmass" from the box please let us know, we'll pursue legal action...
Editorial Office: People's Weekly World
3339 S. Halsted St., Chicago IL 60608
phone: (773) 446-9920, fax: (773) 446-9928.
2008-04-18 17:30:58 I'm risking getting kicked off of here but.... Teresa is a commie [blank] and way too quick to pass judgment. It could be any American in the neighborhood. I frequent this place at least once a week since they finally opened several weeks back. The new owners are nice people. I honestly think that they could give [expletive] if your paper is read or not in or out of their establishment. It's your "First Amendment" right (not a communist value) to print and distribute your paper. I guess that slander, quick judgment and pointing fingers are communist values. Teresa, you should be ashamed of yourself for venting your frustrations in this way as I should be for calling you a commie [censored] (I am ashamed but it felt good). —JamesThomas
2008-04-20 12:10:50 Nothing about this place is really all that great. The food is pretty good, and the prices aren't bad either, but i hate the preppy sport-bar vibe it gives off. Studying there is impossible, and you can tell they don't welcome it. Their awkward style of order and deliver needs to be changed because orders get mixed up quickly. I would say going to places more downtown would be a much better eating experience. —ASQWIK
2008-04-22 12:17:01 Excellent coffee. Okay food. Super slow, bad service. I've eaten there about 10 times since it's opened since it's close to work. The food is really inconsistent. One day the bun is stale, the next they forget the lettuce, and the next a grilled sourdough is wet/soggy and greasy. I'd go there for coffee but never again for food. The service is really slow—they have some big kinks to work through. —ces139
2008-04-23 10:03:13 You can get many of the same things on the menu at the MU Coffee House, but you get more food at the Coffee House, and the prices are slightly better. The quality of the food at 3rd and U is not really any better than at the MU (it seems to have dropped a bit since it opened). When the Coffee House is open, it seems to be a better choice. When it is closed, 3rd and U provides a good alternative if you are looking for a sandwich. —IDoNotExist
2008-04-23 14:06:38 I've come here a few times when it has been quiet and relatively empty. It always feels slightly anaemic and sterile. I think some plants and/or more artwork would help. —KeithBradnam
2008-04-28 00:44:30 Overall not a bad place. Stopped by for a quick bite with a couple of friends. The prices aren't bad and the food is alright too. Excellent place to have a quick meal on the go or to stop and eat with a small group of friends. —VTang
2008-05-18 22:59:30 James Thomas wrote on April 18:
"Teresa is a commie [blank] and way too quick to pass judgment. It could be any American in the neighborhood."
James, c'mon, dude, I think it is you who keeps stealing the "People's Weekly Worlds" from out of the newsbox in front of your front door!
'Fess up, you work for 3rd and U, right?
Anyway, here's a section of my great and wonderful American poem pertaining in this instance specifically to your narrow-minded motivation, or lack of a brain at all:
"Out of the dark confinement! out from behind the screen!
It is useless to protest, I know all and expose it.
Behold through you as bad as the rest,
Through the laughter, dancing, dining...of people,
Inside of dresses and ornaments, inside of those wash'd and
Behold a secret silent loathing and despair"
2008-05-29 11:01:53 I had their boca burger.. and was impressed. Another victory for the vegetarians in Davis! —BradKern
2008-06-23 21:52:42 i went to 3rd & u cafe today after reading about it on dwiki and the service is very friendly i had a portobello mushroom sandwich tasty and light with some mozzarella i noticed they like mozzarella on alot of there food the veggie menu was good the non veggie menu looked gruby
roma roma roma stop whining its gone its not the place that makes the person its the person that makes the place relax get online eat have coffee study relax enjoy
i miss roma but its gone done deal —timlane
2008-06-24 14:21:49 The place is ok but leaves much to be desired. The service is great however, and the food is better than other options for me. —GregWebb
2008-07-08 07:19:18 They seem to be doing poor business in the summer to say the least, after the disappointing opening day, and their relatively high prices I wonder if they will make it into next year. Betting pool anyone? —DavidPoole
I give them until November, 2009. If they have the finances to make it to the start of classes, they may get enough of a boost to make it to Thanksgiving. If they aren't doing well after that, they will probably hit the end of their lease, and I suspect that the landlords will try to find another tenant. Even if they do survive that long, I suspect that the owners may choose to throw in the towel at that point - it looks like it may have become a huge money sink for them. Perhaps Crepeville could turn it into another fabulously successful theme restaurant - LoxTown or TapasBerg or SpatulaCity or something like that... —IDoNotExist
2008-07-20 01:16:34 I don't like their fries. —cnk.midori
2008-07-20 16:50:33 Closing soon?
Is it just me, or is this place almost never open? I go by it all the time, and rarely see it open. When it is open, it doesn't look like there are many customers. I think that they are going to have to change their prices or their offerings or their hours or *something* else about the place, or it won't be open for very much longer.
Suggestions for the owners:
1) Offer lower prices. Currently, they offer a menu that overlaps that of the MU, but at higher prices
2) Offer free WiFi. I don't mean a poor signal from Instaconnect. I mean, get your own data connection and your own access point like Crepeville does. This will draw in a lot of people who bring laptops to study while they eat.
3) Expand your menu. Offerings right now are pretty meager, and what you get is small, and not a good value. It should be possible to get inexpensive sides to go with your meal, but you only have expensive and large sides.
4) Improve the food. It isn't very high quality right now. Again, the MU is better and cheaper.
5) Offer some specialties that you can't get elsewhere in Davis.
6) Use soft materials to decrease the acoustic liveness of the room. It doesn't suit conversations well.
7) Service needs improvement!
8) Change your name. (The cafe, not yours personally.) 3rd and U doesn't have a good reputation, or express what you offer.
9) Keep the glass doors closed on hot days. AC is a good thing.
10) Larger portions!
11) Keep regular hours.
12) Be open when people want food. —IDoNotExist
2008-07-20 18:49:16 Summary of IDoNotExist's suggestions: 1) Serve more food (at higher quality) for less price.
3) Profit! —JesseSingh
2008-07-20 21:12:30 It's more than quantity and price of the food. They clearly aren't attracting many customers right now. They are in direct competition with the MU, which will always undercut them on price, because the MU sells food at cost. There is a limit to which things they can change, but they clearly need to change something to attract more customers, or they are not going to survive. There are lots of restaurants in this town, with lots of different choices for food. Some have been here for decades. Ali Baba across the street attracts plenty of people. So do Sam's and Crepeville, which are both located a short walk away. Crepeville has about the same space, but is completely packed almost all the time. Ali Baba only has Sam's as a direct competitor (in terms of type and price of food). 3rd and U has a huge space, newly renovated, and almost no customers. They have to change, and soon, or they will be gone. —IDoNotExist
2008-08-03 20:49:08 Is this place EVER open? Literally, the only time I've ever seen it open is about 1-3 p.m. on Fridays. Seriously, they wanted to get rid of Roma for a place that isn't open? I don't understand this logic. —JenniferRutherford
2008-08-11 22:52:02 I dont understand how this place can possibly still be in business. I came here today to grab a cup of coffee before my 4 hour lecture only to find that it was not open! During dinner hours! On a monday! Anyway I was curious of what happened to the place cause the sign still says "Now Open" so I decided to wiki it up and see what others were saying only to find that others have had the same problem and that it is rarely open! How can a place expect to have returning customers if customers have no idea WHEN they can return? I have been here before when they had just opened and I have to say that the coffee is great but the service is mind boggling-ly slow. For instance, I once ordered a very very simple iced latte. Nonfat milk, two shots of espresso, and ice. After I ordered with the cashier, I kid you not, I waited 15 minutes for the latte...and there wasn't even a line! The dang owner was off talking to I assume one of his buddies and the cashier girl just stupidly stood at the counter waiting for another customer. I assumed that this girl was not trained to make a latte since she didn't immediately go to the espresso bar and make my latte. But nope, she was trained, cause after 5 minutes of just standing there doing nothing, she got bored and started wandering and ended up at the espresso bar area and discovered my order just waiting there. She looked at it as if she had FORGOTTEN that I had just ordered a latte from her 5 minutes prior (with no other orders in between!) and she finally started to make my dang latte. Then she took her time to make my latte...and when she was finally done...she couldn't find a freaking lid for my drink. She eventually did...and got me my drink...but I wasted 15 minutes waiting for a latte that starbucks could have whipped up within 5 minutes during their rush hour! Today I decided to give this place another chance in hopes that a simple cup of coffee would not be too difficult for them. But of course...they weren't even open!
2008-08-12 21:12:21 The last few comments express my current sentiments exactly. The fact that they have just about the best location in town yet can't attract customers is a bad sign, especially compared to Crepeville, which is packed all the time even though they just opened a wildly successful "competitor" across the street from themselves! It's a shame because students want and will support more options close by and 3&U's coffee is really good (If only Crepeville had good coffee!), but everything else is just mediocre (I know this contradicts my review at the top of the page—I've revised my opinion with more visits).
It's really odd that a business owner would sign a lease paying $6k a month, invest so much in remodeling, and then not do more to make it a success. The first troubling sign was that they delayed opening by almost 4 months. Then it took about 2 months to hook up the second TV that had been hanging on the wall the whole time, and now, almost 6 months after they have opened, there is *still* no signage announcing that anything exists there (other than the plywood "coming soon" sign), no posted hours even though they're irregular, and no website. It's a wormhole—sometimes you'll be waling down the street and 3rd&U exists, but most of the time there's nothing there. Now, even though I think it's the nearest decent cup of coffee to campus, I won't go out of my way to go there because I have no idea if it will be open. Don't they want to make money? That location is a goldmine. I hope the owners get the message and start running the kind of establishment that this community will support. —MatthewPearson
2008-08-15 20:13:04 This place is NEVER open! —ucd2000golfer
2008-08-15 20:32:29 So I've passed by it a number of times this week, and it has indeed been open in the morning. There's now a sign out front that says that they are offering specials in the evening. Evening is defined as 2:30 to closing. Closing is not defined at all, but seems to be extremely early. I suspect that the problem is that the inside of the 3rd and U Cafe is actually in a different time zone than the exterior of the cafe. Upon walking through the door, you pass through a temporal displacement field, which moves you at least 3 hours into the future. (It is possible that the cafe is actually located in London or New York.) You don't notice this, because the light coming in from the outside also passes through the same temporal displacement field. So as far as you can tell, all information from outside the cafe originates in Davis. But in reality, you may be in a completely different city. So you might wonder "Well, how can I test to see which time zone I'm really in?" One possibility is to look for a newspaper that is already inside the cafe, and to buy stock in anything that went up in the newspaper's stock quotes. If you get rich quickly, you have either traveled through time, or are improbably lucky (unlike a plummeting sperm whale). If not, you are either still in Davis, or the newspaper has also traveled through the same temporal displacement field, and therefore came from CA as well.
The 3'rd and U Cafe paradox: It closes before it opens. —IDoNotExist
2008-09-02 10:23:03 A sure fire way to make money is to offer good coffee OR good food, which 3rd and U offers none of. I'm not putting down opinions (everyone who said they have good coffee), but really... if you like their coffee, you'll REALLY LOVE good coffee.
For good coffee, see Temple in Sac, Blue Bottle and Ritual in San Francisco, Barefoot in San Jose. —KellyM
Whoa, wait a second. "Good coffee," in this context means anything that's better than whatever else is in walking distance. Ciocolat and Crepeville are a big disappointment in this area, especially considering how good the food is, and the Coffee House coffee isn't good at all. SF and Sac have some fabulous coffee, but it doesn't help when I'm on campus with 15 minutes to spare. By comparison, 3rd and U makes a great cup (I usually order an Americano there, and it's always good). —MatthewPearson
I will respectfully and whole-heartedly disagree. I can't call it good if I think it tastes *bad*. If there was a terrible sandwich place in a city of even more terrible sandwich places, people would say it's still terrible, but better than the others. That's all you have to say... still bad, but better than the other crap around. Even then, I would disagree, it's on the same level as Mishkas and Konditorei. But if you enjoy it, don't let my comments detract from your enjoyment. —KellyM
I see your point. I agree that worse coffee does not make bad coffee good. I do, however, think that their coffee is good (or I should have said Americanos, because that's what I buy there—so this whole exchange might be apples to oranges). I think it's much better than Ciocolat and Mishka's, and perhaps even a little better than Peet's (and in probably the most relevant comparison, it's better than Roma's). All of this is a far cry from what you're calling "good;" I guess I leave a lot of room above "good." I'll happily drink a pretty wide range of coffee, from the MU coffee if necessary, but of course even the better coffee in town is nowhere near Blue Bottle, etc. I guess my reviews are sort of like Roger Ebert's movie star ratings—relative to what they're trying to accomplish. The French Laundry gets 4 stars, but so does In-n-Out. By the way, I think the best coffee in town, as of about a month ago, is a custom drip from the Panchamama counter at the Co-Op. The 2 cups I had there were good by any standard. Here's another issue though. I think that far more of the variation in coffee quality has to do with the amount of time that it's been sitting out. Say what you will about Starbucks and Peets, the fact that they brew every half hour means you'll never get the burnt, stale coffee that seems like the norm at Crepeville. That kind of quality control is something that a lot of other places, especially ones that make their money on food, aren't going to bother with. It could be that your idea of a place's coffee could be very different from mine because of a couple of stale cups. This is why I often buy Americanos—it may not be better than fresh coffee, but fresh coffee isn't always an option. —MatthewPearson
The problem is that while French Laundry and In-n-Out are two completely different types of eating establishments, Mishka's and Blue Bottle are both cafes that serve mainly coffee. And if you're going to be comparing coffee at cafes with comparable prices, you should compare them accordingly. On the subject of espresso instead of coffee, I've never had non-burnt tasting espresso at either Peets, Starbucks, or 3rd and U. In fact, the only time I've had espresso at 3rd and U it was downright UNDRINKABLE, period. Just absolutely terrible. Maybe they have a new barista or they got some training/changed something, but I'm scared to even try it again. —KellyM
Sorry, bad example, let me clarify. What I mean by the "relative" comment is that there is a relative aspect to my ratings more generally. I think 3rd & U has good coffee relative to other options that are walkable from my office. I also think they have good coffee for a cafe that specializes in food. I do not think Mishka's has good coffee relative to Blue Bottle, or even relative to other local options. At the end of the day though, I guess I'm just willing to drink (or enjoy) coffee further down the quality spectrum than an aficionado like you. I'd like to think that this doesn't render me incapable of fully appreciating that which is far better, but if not, it's a good thing I haven't quit my day job to become a coffee critic. If you're forced to conclude that I and the other patrons of local establishments simply have bad taste, I won't argue with you. I guess I'll just have to take solace in the fact that at least it's easier for me to find "good" coffee. ;-) —MatthewPearson
Thanks for the tip for the Panchamama counter at the Co-Op, I've only been once but it was fairly positive. I'm not saying that you aren't capable of appreciating good coffee or that people who enjoy bad coffee just have bad taste, I'm just saying that if you enjoy bad coffee, you'll LOVE good coffee (see my original comment). —KellyM
2008-09-13 17:40:28 I walked by there every single weekday this last week and it was never open. I almost think they closed for good. And you really can't tell that a business is operating in there, there are no signs at all outside.
They have good combo deals, and I haven't had bad food there. They would do decent business if people knew they existed. —twblalock
2008-09-17 18:50:22 I think I saw people eating there this morning. Perhaps it is not dead, but only mostly dead. —IDoNotExist
2008-09-24 20:02:39 So now that the students are back, is 3rd and U open for longer hours? —IDoNotExist
2008-09-25 12:37:25 I have not seen this place open for weeks. Maybe they are waiting to get their alcohol license. Maybe they are only open at times other than morning or evening. Too bad Roma was priced out. This place has just become a joke. They are never open. I am amazed that they can manage to pay their rent. Unless its meant to be a tax write-off or a front. —aharjala
2008-10-12 10:19:52 I got a burger and fries. The burger was plain, nothing spectacular. The fries were ordinary fries. So I guess I would say that it's a bit overprices for ordinary food. —feichu-huya
2008-10-29 21:03:38 I got a coffee, very good, good service and very nice accessible bathroom. —HazelWatson
2008-11-02 15:48:30 tried to get some coffee here since I'm on campus doing homework, I guess they aren't open on sundays at all. I reluctantly went to ciocolat instead, I'm sure even 3rd and U could beat ciocolat's coffee quality if they were open. next time. —BenJohnson
2008-12-24 02:49:39 Now Open?
I asked someone (one of the owners?) why they close so early. They said that they close when people stop coming. This was still quite early in the day, so I mentioned that they would be missing the entire dinner crowd. They didn't seem to think that anyone would come by later. I can certainly understand that they don't want to be open and paying their staff when people aren't coming by. But there are lots of places in Davis that are open for dinner, and most of them do quite well. 3rd and U is competing with the MU for the lunch crowd, and frankly, it doesn't stand a chance, because the MU has the same stuff (and more) for less money. but in the evening, the same food isn't widely available. So they are giving up on the market at the one time of day when they actually have a differentiated product.
Of course, Beach House Deli just opened, and they serve sandwiches in the evening, and it looks like they have a decent menu. That's the customer base that 3rd and U is ignoring. —IDoNotExist