For this year’s Lunchies, The Temple News explores the challenges small food business owners are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.


I witnessed the stress of my dad’s small dental office shutting down almost instantly as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the nation. 

Like most people, he was out of work for two months, and uncertainty arose every day after even treating dental emergencies was deemed nonessential at the end of March. Luckily, the office was able to reopen in June and business is back to normal. 

But, many of the small food vendors around Temple University’s Main Campus didn’t have the same experience. Many never reopened this semester after closing in the spring, and those that have are worried they will have to close, possibly for good.

Due to the pandemic, small businesses across the country have been suffering because of prolonged shutdowns and delayed payments of unemployment checks or loans. Many worry about the ability to come back from more than six months of lost or slow business.

This year’s Lunchies highlights food trucks and vendors who’ve reopened despite the challenges and uncertainty the pandemic brought in the spring semester and carried into the fall. Some are Main Campus staples, who’ve watched Temple grow and change for more than 35 years. Others just opened last year, and are struggling to break even from their first tumultuous year in business. Some local restaurants who turned to takeout during the summer months, while food trucks looked at options of moving around the city. Vendors at The Wall in the middle of Main Campus wonder when students will return. 

One thing I’ve learned through the pandemic is that local businesses are some of the most valuable part of our communities. This includes the food vendors on Main Campus, too.

Watching my dad, I know how stressful the springtime was and how unclear regulations for businesses seemed. It felt hopeless looking forward and only seeing questions and unknowns. Campus reopening gave some relief for vendors, but much of that feels gone with classes online again. Without knowing what the spring semester will bring, owners still question the future of their businesses. 

Supporting the food vendors on campus is recognizing the hard work and resilience they show every day to feed the Temple community, even during times of crisis.


Features Editor

Timeline of local dining and Temple COVID-19 guidelines

Pizza stand brothers adapt to kitchen, business changes

Jim Amzovski, co-owner of Fame’s Famous Pizza, wears a mask and stands behind a plexiglass screen on Sept. 28. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

What we’re eating

This year, The Temple News’ staff stretches from those living on Main Campus, around Philadelphia and in other states. Here’s our favorite picks: on campus, off campus and at home.

‘Too much headache’: Restaurants hesitant to expand indoor dining

A sign requiring that masks be worn inside Yummy Pho is taped on the door of the restaurant on Sept. 28. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

A bottle of hand sanitizer sits on the counter of Yummy Pho, located at Broad Street near Norris, on Sept. 28. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

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