Bowling Green State University's Black Swamp Pub & Bistro

Published in Menu Strategies

At Bowling Green State University, hungry students don’t have to leave campus if they’re in the mood for chicken wings and a beer. The Bowling Green, Ohio-based university operates a restaurant concept called Black Swamp Pub & Bistro that offers students over 21, along with faculty, staff and visitors, a full bar along with its menu. But according to Marissa Riffle, executive sous chef at BGSU, the main focus of Black Swamp isn’t the drinks—it’s the food. “Our menu items really speak to what students want,” she says.

A re-imaged combination of the campus’ former pub, Black Swamp, and The Greenery bistro, Black Swamp Pub & Bistro offers a full menu—think appetizers, salads, burgers and pastas—during both lunch and dinner, as well as a scaled-down late-night menu. “During the evening, most of our customers are students, and the late-night menu reflects that,” Riffle says. “As a bonus, not having the whole menu at night helps tremendously with labor costs, and the late-night menu items are generally quicker to prepare.”

Students have the choice of classic bar snacks such as nachos, Buffalo wings and housemade pub chips along with a variety of sides and desserts on the late-night menu, but according to Riffle, picking the most popular items to feature was tricky. “We’re really proud of our menu,” she says. “It’s hard to pick one or two standouts; everything is great.”

Menu Sampler: Black Swamp Pub & Bistro

  • Classic Buffalo Wings: celery and choice of BBQ, honey mustard, ranch, buffalo, teriyaki or blue cheese
  • Deep Fried Pickles: served with spicy mustard cheddar sauce or ranch
  • Pub Chips: served warm with housemade onion dip
  • Crispy Quesadilla: Jack cheese with avocado garlic cream