Overhauled University Club reopens with revamped lunch menu

It’s a hub for the Penn community, and it just got a major facelift.

After years of planning and roughly two months of renovations, the University Club on the second floor of the Inn at Penn has officially reopened. From the floors and walls to the décor and furniture, it’s newer and brighter than ever before. It’s fresher, too—with a revamped lunch menu for its patrons.

“It’s a nearly complete overhaul of the space and the dining experience,” says Benjamin Wiggins, president of the University Club. “The space in general terms is much more open, and it has more contemporary furnishings. The food, I think, is maybe the most exciting, rewarding change. It’s now a chef-curated menu with self-serve and action stations.”

The University Club is a space on campus for current and retired faculty and staff members, as well as graduate students. A yearly membership fee costs $50-$65, which enables members to have lunch in the serene Harrison Room, overlooking Walnut Street, or plan meetings in private dining rooms—the Lenape Room and the Hourglass Room. Members also have access to specialty events hosted by the University Club, including wine tastings, happy hours, and educational events. Currently, there are 500 University Club members.

Monday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the University Club offers buffet-style dining options for members and their guests, including made-to-order and self-serve entrees and sandwiches, a fully stocked salad bar, soup of the day, daily dessert specials, and hot and cold beverages for a flat fee of $12.95 per person.

The Club also offers members complimentary morning refreshments, like coffee, tea, and pastries, Monday through Friday, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. In addition, the Living Room is also open to members during regular business hours.  

To give members a taste of the new menu options, on Thursday, Feb. 18, the University Club is serving cream of broccoli soup, garlic-lemon roasted chicken, roasted brussels sprouts, made-to-order sage brown butter cavatelli, grilled cheese and short rib sandwiches, and white chocolate raspberry cheesecake.

The made-over menu, Wiggins says, has a “new cohesiveness.”

“Before, it was a little bit more disparate,” he explains. “Now everything from the salad bar to the meal and the sandwich options and the dessert, all of it is themed and changes on a daily basis.”

Chef Eileen Watkin oversees the kitchen, and has been working to evolve the Club’s offerings to get them in line with the expanding dining scene around Penn and University City.

“One of our main goals is to get our standards up so we are equal competition to what’s out there to choose from,” says University Club Coordinator Kristin Cummings. “The Penn community has a variety of choices of where to dine, and we want to be a dining choice they make.”

The University Club invites its members to a cocktail party celebrating the renovations on Thursday, Feb. 18, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. RSVP to universityclub@pobox.upenn.edu.

University Club