The agonizing decision to pick USC over UCLA doesn’t come down only to academics for prospective students. It also comes down to food. Good food.

When students choose to come to USC, they usually aren’t phased by its perfect-for-networking alumni base or assortment of study abroad programs. Let’s face it, students have priorities. They are looking for a good variety of food that’s convenient, satisfying and – believe it or not – healthy.

“It is our goal to bring the best concepts from the restaurant world onto campus, and to incorporate diverse global cuisines into USC’s culinary options ... and the expertise of top chefs in our hospitality program,” USC’s Director of Hospitality, Scott Shuttleworth, says.

So far, so good. Walk into Commons and you’re sure to be impressed by the overwhelming variety of dining options: Wolfgang Puck’s Café, Wasabi Sushi, Malibu Subs, Rice Garden Mandarin Chinese, La Salsa Mexican cuisine, Trattoria Italiana, Colombo Frozen Yogurt, Seattle’s Best Coffee and Carl’s Jr.

And if none of that appeals to you, there’s the Main Street Commons Convenience Store with soups, salads, sandwiches, beverages and snacks.

But if you’re in the mood for a real meal, head to The Upstairs Café on the second floor. This full-service restaurant offers a complete lunch menu including pan seared salmon with grilled asparagus, Moroccan chicken with polenta, beer and wine.

USC takes pride in its wide range of dining options. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, kosher or just health-conscious, you can find something delicious to eat on campus.

Wasabi Sushi offers plenty of healthful options. The menu varieties include everything from Caterpillar and Dragon rolls to Nigiri, salmon and yellowtail. Have some with edamame and it’s a perfect light lunch, full of protein, carbs and fiber.

But if raw fish doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can make yourself a delicious and nutritious sub at Malibu Subs. The health conscious can have a Veggie Sub that includes hummus with roasted veggies, lettuce, tomatoes and olives on a wheat roll. But for all-nighter-status sustenance, splurge and go for the roast beef.

Columbo Frozen Yogurt also offers a variety of smoothies, ices and low fat frozen yogurt. It’s perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling too guilty afterwards.

“I am a true believer that there are not any foods that you can never, ever have,” USC dietician Patrice Barber says. “Every food can be part of your overall healthy diet; it’s really a matter of how much and how often.”

Though USC’s various cafés and dining options keep its students well fed and satisfied, it’s not perfect. USC Hospitality wants to reinvigorate USC dining, take it to new heights and offer students exceptional options.

That’s why they decided to tear down the Commons building and Topping Student Center to make way for a snazzy new dining facility. Demolition will begin on May 19, and the new Ronald Tutor Campus Center, a pair of four-story structures, will be built on the site.

In the meantime, USC is developing “The Lot,” the campus’s temporary dining facility, on what is now parking lot K2 on Downey Way. The 39-foot tall dome will serve as an interim dining pavilion once the USC Commons building is demolished. Some of the current food vendors will continue at the pavilion, to be joined by other “exciting new concepts,” Shuttleworth says.

“We are confident that our students, their parents, alumni and guests will see it as a wonderful addition to campus life,” Shuttleworth says. “This temporary dining facility will rival that of many permanent dining facilities at universities across the country.”