Locally Owned Restaurants: How Students Can Support Their Community

Supporting locally owned restaurants is crucial in keeping the Thousand Oaks community afloat, but how can high school students balance supporting these businesses and staying within budget?


With hundreds of popular restaurants to choose from in Thousand Oaks, locally owned businesses have to find a way to stand out in the community. During the past year, it has been a challenge for most establishments to keep their doors open because of both safety and financial reasons. That said, students can support local restaurants by ordering takeout, curbside pickup, or delivery: but how can high schoolers support their community without breaking the bank?

“My favorite locally owned restaurant is Fusion Grill,” sophomore Nadia Gomez said. “Every time I go they are very fast when taking your order and preparing your food, and the menu has a lot of variety.” 

With over 200 restaurants in Thousand Oaks, the options are endless. Dozens of international cuisine restaurants are spread throughout the city–whether in the mood for Italian, Thai, Mexican, or Morrocan–chances are it’s only a few miles away.

“Baba’s Kitchen Mediterranean [is] a small mom and pop shop that’s in Newbury park,” freshman Leila Gray said. “My favorite thing to get there is the pita bread and hummus and their stuffed fillet of salmon!”

Oftentimes, it can be difficult to find the balance between supporting locally owned businesses and staying within budget. According to a survey, it was concluded that students have a variety of spending limitations, the most common being $10-14, $15-19, and $20-24 per visit.

“The max amount I pay for myself is usually not more than $15,” Gomez said. “Everything on the menu is around the same price in the same budget.”

At Fusion Grill, Gomez typically gets one of their salads, bordering at $12–while nearly everything on the menu is under $15. For each student surveyed, price is considered to be a key factor in choosing a place to eat, although aspects like atmosphere and service are also a determinant.

“I love Crazy King Kong Sushi,” sophomore Grace Machell said. “The prices are reasonable and all the people who work there are very nice.”

Most students frequent their favorite restaurants about two times a month. Some prefer to go out less, thus granting them the ability to spend more on each occasion.

“Since it’s a smaller business I’m willing to spend a little more money just to help them out,” Gray said. “I really enjoy helping small businesses rather than big name industries. I would probably spend like $35, it sounds like a lot but it’s so worth it!”

While chain restaurants are thought to be comforting and consistent, the carefulness and hard work that goes into each meal is what makes locally owned restaurants so appealing. No matter the budget, there is a perfect fit for each person when it comes to restaurants in the Thousand Oaks community.

Story and photo by Madeline Convy