UW Food Services provided coverage for all meals in this review
The University Club, the sit-down, on-campus restaurant often used for faculty events or special parties, is open to everyone on campus — students included.
The average University Club customer is either staff or faculty. According to Leslie Schaefer, supervisor of the establishment, there are some regular students who visit, “but a lot of [students] are still not sure they’re allowed to come.”
The restaurant has the appearance of a golf club from the outside, but is very welcoming once one enters. The staff are very informative and friendly, and can suggest meals or drinks if a customer is unsure of what to order.
University Club is open Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Receptions are common during dinner hours and events are common. Recently, on July 20, there was a “Christmas in July” lunch buffet. In August, there will be a “Lobsterlicious” week long event.
The menu is diverse with light meals that could serve as appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, and dessert.
The menu, which can be found online, includes meals such as corn bread, carrot pancakes, crab and shrimp open face sandwich, a bison burger, and tofu as an entrée. Dessert can vary.
During Imprint’s visit, our order included the corn bread with jalapeno butter, carrot pancakes, duck panini, the beef entrée, and different types of Italian soda. The sandwiches come with a spinach strawberry salad, but the choice is open to others.
Imprint photographer Kapil Haresh, who accompanied me, was lactose-intolerant, and the restaurant was very accommodating to his allergy. He could eat the corn bread (but not the jalapeno butter) and ordered the beef entrée, which came with rice, and a medley of vegetables.
The corn bread was tasty but had a kick due to the jalapeño baked in. It is not as sweet as usually is. The carrot pancakes were very good, but the best part was the accompanying Citron glaze, which complimented the hearty hummus that was apart of the pancakes.
The duck panini, containing bacon and a sweet/spicy jam was served with a strawberry spinach salad. The salad was very refreshing with goat cheese, avocado, strawberries and a nice balsamic dressing. The panini itself was incredibly delicious, and the duck a welcome change in typical sandwiches found around campus. Kapil noted that the beef stiry fry tasted pretty authentic, especially by Waterloo standards.
The Italian sodas were the most entertaining part of the meal, as the flavors were very different. The list is extensive, but our choices were Lemon gingergrass, pomegranate and berry spice. All had a strong but refreshing taste, best consumed quickly.
All of the meals had very appealing presentations. The duck panini, in particular, had a beautifully laid out side salad. Surprisingly, this was an unusual instance where the photos online match the food in-house.
Dessert was not ordered, but at this visit there was a choice of a coconut cheesecake or pavlova, an uncommon dessert in North America.
The menu is refreshed about five times a year, at minimum, according to Schaefer. A variety of fresh ingredients are used, some coming from Elmira food auctions, and others from the University Club’s own garden. Currently, the restaurant is growing eggplant, sweet potatoes, squash, peppers, tomatoes, rhubarb, and more. There are some fruit trees still growing, and herbs can be found around the patio.
Most of the menu is from the imagination of the chef and assistant chef, Richard Cramm and Mark Meinzinger respectively. “We don’t buy anything that’s pre-made,” Schaefer said. “Everything is made here from scratch.”
The prices were very reasonable for the quality and quality of the dishes. The most expensive entrée will be less than $20, not including taxes. Schaefer said, “Originally when the University Club started, it was a very casual atmosphere and the prices were very low … we’ve been slowly trying to change the mindset that lunch should be $5 but it takes a bit of time to do that. Our prices, we do think are very reasonable.”
Despite appearances, the University Club is open to all students. They even accept WatCard, though the meal plan discount does not apply.
Final Rating: 4/5