Union South, University of Wisconsin, Madison

By creating distinctive concepts, the UW Union South has become a campus destination.

A wood-stone hearth oven is the centerpiece of this sandwich and salad concept, which also is where Union South dining focuses its local purchasing efforts. There is a 60-room hotel in the union, and Harvest Grains often lures hotel guests downstairs in the morning with its hearth-finished breakfast sandwiches such as the Titletown, which includes egg, sausage, Wisconsin cheddar and green peppers. Other sandwiches include the The Pretzel (oven-roasted turkey, smoked ham, swiss cheese, caramelized onions and stone-ground mustard on a pretzel roll) and the Farmers’ Market (grilled portobello mushroom, organic spring greens, tomatoes, red onions and hummus on a cheese roll), as well as salads and sides.

Harvest Grains takes advantage of as many local products as the department can source, says Korz, be it local produce, baked goods or even tortilla chips.

“The university has a tremendous relationship with agriculture, so it is important to make those connections” Korz says. “It’s also a challenge because you have to react to the seasonality of the menus, which is something we currently do through specials. I don’t think we have fully realized our potential for working in as much local and organic in that location as we can. [Harvest Grains] is one [unit] that I think is ripe for more development.” 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
salad

We’re currently piloting a Salad Bar Happy Hour 
in Cafe 16. Due to Health Department regulations, any self-serve salad bar items must be disposed of after service. The salad bar goes “on sale” for 25 cents an ounce post-lunchtime to help reduce waste as well as offer value to customers.

Menu Development
sauces

Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

Ideas and Innovation
turnip juice brine

Give leftover brine new life by adding it to vegetables. In an interview with Food52, Stuart Brioza, chef and owner of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, says that he adds a splash of leftover brine while sauteeing mushrooms to increase their flavor profile. “We like to ferment turnips at the restaurant, and it’s a great way to use that brine—though dill pickle brine would work just as well,” he says.

Menu Development
side dishes

Operators looking to increase sales of side dishes may want to focus on freshness and value. Here’s what attributes consumers say are important when picking sides.

Fresh - 73% Offered at a fair price - 72% Satisfies a craving - 64% Premium ingredients - 56% Natural ingredients - 49% Signature side - 47% Something familiar - 46% Housemade/made from scratch - 44% Something new/unique - 42% Large portion size - 42% Healthfulness - 40% Family-size - 40%

Source: Technomic’s 2017 Starters, Small Plates and Sides Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite

FSD Resources