Adjacent to the ticket office of the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center, there exists a hidden courtyard with shaded tables and chairs set near the buildings’ sandstone façade. While this location has remained mostly underused since the Mondavi’s inception, the center’s 10-year anniversary has provided a new opportunity to make some lively changes.
The year-long focus on the arts brought about by this milestone event means that students and visitors alike are being encouraged to spend time here, and there are a growing number of reasons to do so.
A series of free concerts will take place in the courtyard prior to select performances being held at the center’s Jackson Hall. The first of these will take place this Friday, and will feature the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, a Sacramento-based group specializing in Prohibition-era jazz and blues.
The band will play from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. prior to a Mondavi performance by comedian Eddie Izzard. These pre-event concerts will continue to run periodically throughout the year, and a full-schedule listing may be viewed at the Mondavi Center’s website.
During the regular weekday, the courtyard area serves as a convenient study spot with free Wi-Fi and a new food truck. The mobile business “Fusion Fresh Cafe” offers kabab, falafel and other meat and rice dishes in addition to coffee and pastries.
According to owner David Mashriqi, the truck provides a convenient meal for those looking to get away from the lunchtime crowds in the center of campus.
“[The truck] has been set up in this location for a little over three weeks,” Mashriqi said.
In the morning, the cafe also stands out as one of the few places on campus — besides the dining commons — that serves pancakes.
“It’s exciting for all of us to finally have a dining option for this community,” said Gina Rios of Sodexo’s Retail Dining Services. “There’s been a lot of growth in this area of campus in the past few years.”
It is hoped that the area’s increase in profile will further the relationship between UC Davis students and the nearby Mondavi Center, which for the past decade has been a widely-renowned cultural center and bastion for the arts.
Don Roth, director of the Mondavi Center, explains his excitement and satisfaction with these recent additions.
“What a peaceful spot to study, connect up to the internet, enjoy a falafel or a cup of coffee. On Thursdays at noon you can even listen to the free Shinkoskey Noon Concerts from the Music Department over speakers set up in the Corin Courtyard,” Roth said.
ANDREW RUSSELL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.