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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Where are the best onion rings on campus?

Crisp, oniony perfection is within reach
Neal Wong
Onion rings from The Pub at San Francisco State University on March 19, 2024. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress)

I like to indulge in a batch of crispy, golden brown, perfectly cooked onion rings sometimes. The best onion rings taste great by themselves but also mingle well with sauces or dips. Earlier this month, I got curious about onion ring availability on the main campus of San Francisco State University and discovered that three spots sell them. Here are my thoughts on the onion rings at SFSU.

Village Market and Pizza

Onion rings from the Village Market and Pizza on March 18, 2024. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress) (Neal Wong)



Village Market and Pizza is across from Subway and minutes from City Eats, Mashouf Wellness Center, and the Humanities building. This half-restaurant, half-convenience store was the first place I visited. Now, I’d only purchase onion rings here as a last resort.

The onion rings were listed at $5.50 on the menu and cost $6.16 after adding tax and a supplemental fee. They were ready about ten minutes after I ordered them.

They didn’t impress me. When I picked up a ring, I could already tell that it was undercooked because it felt a little soft. Some of the rings had spots lacking coating coverage. The coating had a faint taste of raw flour and the onions still had a tiny bit of a crunch. A minute longer in the fryer would have definitely improved them. A pinch of salt would’ve helped too, since they were a little bland.

On my first visit, I received five rings in a paper box. I reluctantly visited again for “research” on this piece and received seven rings. So, they range in cost from $0.88 to $1.23 each. Their menu doesn’t specify how many are included per order, so if you order, you’ll just find out when you open your box.

Ketchup was the only condiment available for free, but large packets of pesto, marinara, honey mustard, and barbeque, chipotle, and buffalo sauces were available for an additional $0.75 each. Ranch packets were also available for $1 each.

If you’d like to try these onion rings, Village Market and Pizza is open from 10 a.m. to midnight daily.

Gold Coast Grill & Catering

Onion rings from Gold Coast Grill & Catering on March 18, 2024. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress) (Neal Wong)



This business is on the ground floor of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

I headed to the cashier between the salad bar and the kitchen area to order my onion rings. The rings were listed at $7.95 on the menu, which became $8.64 after tax.

Four minutes and 26 seconds later, one of the employees called my order number and presented me with eight rings in a clear plastic container. The box was already foggy with steam, so I opened it to prevent the rings from becoming soggy. Napkins and utensils were available from a station near the salad bar. The only condiments available were ketchup and mustard.

The rings seemed to stick to each other a bit and were very greasy because there wasn’t anything to soak away residual oil. As soon as I saw them, I knew that the onions would break away cleanly with each bite; when only the coating comes off and a piece of stringy onion stays attached, that’s a sign that the onions are too thin. These rings were chubby and coated with a thick batter. They tasted greasy and oniony, as expected. They weren’t as bland as the ones from the Village Market and Pizza, but they didn’t seem to have much seasoning. While these onion rings aren’t perfect, they’re respectable. And at $1.08 each, they’re fairly priced too, relative to the other options on campus.

If you’d like to try these average onion rings, visit Gold Coast Grill & Catering from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

The Pub at SFSU

Onion rings from The Pub at SFSU on March 19, 2024. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress) (Neal Wong)


The Pub is located on the lower conference level of the student center. When I entered the Pub, its dim lighting and music seemed to take me away.

I headed to the counter and ordered some onion rings. The menu listed 10 beer-battered onion rings for $9.99, which rose to $10.85 with tax. That means each ring costs about $1.09. After paying, I was handed a pager.

Exactly five minutes later, the pager buzzed, meaning the rings were ready. They were presented in a paper box lined with checkered paper. When I retrieved them, I asked for barbeque sauce, but ketchup, honey mustard and ranch were also available.

These onion rings were phenomenal. Their crispy golden brown coatings mingled with the sweet onions to create a balanced combination that made the barbeque sauce unnecessary. But they also harmonized well with the sauce and stayed crisp after being dipped. These rings are proof that simple dishes can become delightful when expertly executed. They would’ve been perfect if two rings hadn’t been stuck together.

I love it when food and beverage businesses recognize the importance of appetizers and sides. These dishes contribute to the overall dining experience and matter as much as their main dishes or specialties — in this case, liquors. This establishment, tucked away at the bottom of the student center, exemplifies that understanding.

If you’re on campus between noon and 7 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, and you’re craving onion rings, the Pub is the correct place to visit. The onion rings here are the best ones on campus.

Note: City Eats sometimes offers onion rings. At the time of publication, they were unavailable.

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About the Contributor
Neal Wong
Neal Wong, Co-Copy Editor
Neal Wong (he/him) is a third-year journalism student and minoring in urban studies and planning. He was born and raised in San Francisco and attended Washington High School. He has photographed and written for Golden Gate Xpress first as a contributor, then as a photographer, and now as a copy editor. His photos have also been published by the San Francisco Bay ViewSan Francisco Public Press, Mission Local, and Xpress Magazine. Neal has also created and taught four SFSU Experimental College courses. His hobbies include traveling, cooking, and reading.

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