selection of food offered at The Vista Room

The Vista Room is a fully functional restaurant and teaching and learning laboratory that provides safe and realistic food-service work experience for students.

Managed by the Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management in the College of Business, the Vista Room is open to the public for lunch and as a special-occasion venue during the academic year.

We serve contemporary California cuisine with a focus on responsibly-sourced ingredients and a sustainability ethos. Chef Instructor Tim Shaw leads the culinary vision, food preparation and culinary instruction. Restaurant Manager Joe LaVilla leads the service vision and execution of hospitality in the dining room.

Lunch is offered à la carte, or as a three-course $17.00 pre-fixe meal which includes non-alcoholic beverages. We encourage you to make a reservation to guarantee seating, though a limited number of walk-in seats are available daily. The dining room opens at 11:15 a.m.; the last seating is at 12:30 p.m. The Vista Room closes at 2 p.m.

We hope you enjoy your visit with us!

Our Constituents

The Vista Room has a firm commitment to serve its stakeholders:

  • For our students, the Vista Room is a comprehensive facility and environment in which to gain practical application of traditional classroom learning, and hands-on experience with food service, hospitality and service management.
  • For our guests, the Vista Room is a convenient and consistently delicious way to support our students, and to actively contribute in their experiential learning.
  • For our community, the Vista Room strives to be an active advocate for sustainable, responsible and equitable food production and education.

Our Instructors

Tim Shaw, M.P.A., M.A., Chef Instructor

Tim Shaw, MPA, MA

Tim has a deep professional and culinary background that stems over twenty years. Tim’s culinary work includes catering, private chef services, and extensive teaching. His research operational focus is on promoting sustainability in food systems and nutrition. Tim has been a speaker at SXSWEco on the issues of teaching about food systems, and is a judge for the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge which focuses on critical sustainability issues in food systems. To stay connected with the culinary and broader community, Tim engages with several catering companies in New York and San Francisco, and freelance writes for cookbooks and several magazines. He has donated dinners to City Year San Jose and was involved in fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, where he was a candidate for the 2014 Man of the Year. Chef Tim received his B.A. in classics and archeology from Williams College; an A.O.S. from The French Culinary Institute; M.A. in food studies from New York University; and a Masters of Public Administration in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School.

Joe LaVilla, Ph.D., Restaurant Management Instructor

Joseph LaVilla, Ph.D.

Joe LaVilla brings a diverse background to his hospitality experience. Joe’s hospitality career spans fine dining at Windows on the World--and its famed Cellar in the Sky--in New York City; working with Wolfgang Puck at Spago-Las Vegas; opening a brewpub; to catering the Phoenix Open, NASCAR races and The Tradition golf tournament; and casual dining for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. In academia, Joe has taught restaurant operations, management and front of house service at the Art Institute of Phoenix, where he eventually became academic department director of the culinary program. He has written numerous articles on food science, food and wine pairing and wine tasting for magazines and internet publications. He is the author of The Wine, Beer and Spirits Handbook: A Guide to Styles and Service (Wiley). He is a certified executive chef and certified wine educator. His professional blog, DrinkatJoe’s, is a site for wine tasting notes, trip suggestions and more in the Northern California area. Joe earned his Ph.D. and B.A. (cum laude) in organic chemistry from the University of Rochester and Cornell University, respectively. He holds an A.O.S. with honors from The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park. Joe is also a sommelier pin holder from the International Sommelier Guild.

Sybil Yang, Ph.D., Operations Coordinator

Sybil Yang, Ph.D.

Sybil is an assistant professor in the Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management, and helps coordinate the academic and operational components of the Vista Room. Sybil cooked professionally at Wente Vineyards and was an artisan baker at Arizmendi and The Carriage House. Sybil received her Ph.D. and M.M.H. from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

Our Donors and Supporters

We extend our deepest gratitude to Ms. Nancy Lee Mar, the main sponsor and primary benefactor of the Vista Room. Her generous support enables facility, operational and instructional improvements. Our gratitude also goes to Mr. Elliot Katz and Peerless Coffee and Tea for their continued, generous support of the coffee, tea and iced tea program in the dining room.