Grub on the Run

On a chilly morning last weekend, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System unveiled a new food kiosk on the platform of the Fashion Valley Transit Center. The retail kiosk — dubbed Station Shop — replaces a trailer snack bar and vending machines. For sale are mochas, lattes, and cappuccinos, fruit smoothies, pastries, burritos, sandwiches, hot dogs, and combo plates. Bus and trolley passes are sold, too.

Initially opening from 6 to 6 daily, the manned kiosk is touted as a convenience for bus and trolley ridership as well as additional security for the busy Fashion Valley terminal. It is also a source of revenue in the form of rent for the MTS. Kiosk operator Ray Nafez expects commuter traffic, especially during Chargers’ home games, to ensure the Station Stop’s success.

The Fashion Valley kiosk is the third Station Shop along the MTS trolley line but is the first free-standing concession. The prefabricated building was set on the platform by a 40-ton crane in early December by builder and developer BriceHouse, in partnership with the Kobey Corporation (master tenant concessionaire manager for the MTS).

BriceHouse spokesman Brad Saunders says his company specializes in custom retail kiosks along light rail lines, bus routes, and train stops. Sites are selected after a six-month study of traffic flow, public need, vendor interest, and accessibility. Each kiosk then is customized for specific locations, vendor needs, utilities, storage requirements, and weather conditions.

The next kiosk will be in San Ysidro. After that, several sites in North County are planned. According to Saunders, “Expect to see a Station Stop coming to a platform near you.”

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Oh goody, goody gumdrops! You mean I can purchase my overpriced snacks that I really don't need from the MTS instead of the 1,000s of mini-mart gas stations in Sandy Eggo? Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy!

A few questions... What happened to the snack shop that was already there at Fashion Valley? Did the lease come up for renewal only for the owner to be told because of tough economic times, the new lease would be going up, waaaaaaay up? Did someone at the MTS land a sweetheart deal? Inquiring minds want to know!

I was actually thinking the same thing when I was reading the article. I predict $5 burritos that spent 2 weeks in a freezer then 2 minutes in the microwave. Oooweeeeooo!~

When interviewing for the story, I asked about the previous vendor, the fellow in the green trailer whose morning coffee I always looked forward to, and was "told" it was his choice to vacate because he wanted to have a place nearer his home. Supposedly, his trailer snack bar is now in operation on the corner of a gas station in El Cajon. Anyway, that's what I was told.

Burritos, by the way, are $4.50 at the new Station Shop. But I don't know how long they have been in the freezer. Coffee is $1.25, and is pretty good.

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