Jinza Teriyaki, 3425 Pomona Blvd. (at Temple), Pomona
I called a Cal Poly Pomona friend for lunch and suggested Curry Up, a campus-adjacent fast-food restaurant I’ve wanted to visit based on the name alone. She said Curry Up is nothing special and countered with Jinza. Deferring to the local expert, I met her at Jinza.
Housed in a business center, Jinza’s storefront isn’t much to look at. If you step inside during a lunch hour, as I did, the first thing you notice is lots of people. There was a line to order at the counter and most of the tables were filled.
The restaurant has a kind of food-hall ambience, with plain wooden tables and chairs, cement-block walls, Japanese screens and paper lanterns. Jinza is so popular it expanded into the space next door.
Jinza is beloved by Cal Poly students and Lanterman employees. On Yelp, one student says Jinza is as close to a a college-town gathering spot as Cal Poly has. It’s only open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The specialty is teriyaki bowls and plates, although they also have udon, tempura, yakisoba and a few sushi rolls. I had the vegetable pork bowl with brown rice ($7, pictured); my friend had the spicy chicken bowl.
My humble bowl was actually pretty tasty, my friend loved her spicy chicken, and the portions were large. I wouldn’t drive across the valley to eat here, but it was a good experience.
In a nice touch, Jinza offers free green tea and prominently displays glasses for serve-yourself water, both no doubt aimed at the penny-conscious college crowd (although this journalist appreciated it too).
The New Diner blogger likes Jinza. I don’t know if he’s ever been to Curry Up.