At the south side of the MHCC main Academic Center sits the Riverview Café, which has taken over the space known as the Vista Dining Room. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday, serving a wide variety of foods for students to purchase during their class schedules.
The café is owned by longtime MHCC donors Junki and Linda Yoshida, who own another restaurant in Troutdale – the Riverview Restaurant, alongside the Sandy River.
Meantime, a Black Rock Coffee Bar franchise opened earlier this term by the MHCC Library, and is open 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. It serves trendy new drinks with creative names like “Jack Hammer” (extra pick-me-up mocha), and “Fuel” (six shots of espresso).
Both places are proving to be very popular as lines stack up early morning before most classes begin, and yet it seems as if the hours of operation of the two places should be swapped.
It’s strange how a coffee bar would stay open later than a cafeteria. The Troutdale restaurant owned by the Yoshidas stays open til 9 p.m., so you’d think this café would follow in its footsteps. It’s probably safe to say that coffee is generally more consumed in the mornings, and people needing to eat solid food is more targeted around three meals a day. Sure, Black Rock does have some pastries and some grab-and-go snacks, but you’d think it would be more strategic to include some coffee in the cafeteria rather than snacks in a coffee shop.
Riverside Café does offer a lot of options, with classic American food like cheeseburgers and some Japanese dishes like udon noodles. The prices aren’t too shabby, either, considering you can build your own salad starting at $3, slightly cheaper than an average McDonald’s salad, believe it or not.
The Riverview setup is pretty neat and sort of reminds me of an IKEA cafeteria with its semi-open floor plan and beverages on the side. But that’s where Black Rock beats it, with its own rustic-yet-modern touch of wooden backsplash and the glowing sign that reaches through the library, shakes students by the shoulders and screams, “SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK! ROCKSTAR SMOOTHIE! ROCKSTAR SMOOTHIE!”
Here’s hoping the Riverview Café will extend its hours someday for hungry students who have afternoon/evening classes and want to sneak in a slice of pizza right before committing to a two-hour learning session. We’ll just have to see.