roadkill bill wrote: I looked around the new Union South area, and I thought, "Wow. There's lots of nice little places outside to sit and eat/read/relax/chat with friends."
The only outside place I've seen to sit and relax is the main entrance with chairs over looking Wendt library. The location and scenery are almost exactly the same as before--mainly cement and the ugly Wendt library. The only addition is a small rock area with a waterfall.
Now, on to the restaurants. There are four:
1) The Sett - a grill for burgers, hot dogs, and chicken.
2) Urban Slice - pizza, daily pasta, strombolis, calzones, pastas and pre-made salads. The pizza is $2.25/slice.
3) Ginger Root - Asian (opens in Fall 11).
4) Harvest Grain - made-to-order sandwiches as well as soups and salads (opens in Fall 11).
Also, there is an ice cream shop like before.
Look familiar? It's pretty much the same food choices the old Union South had in the Red Oak Grill and Einstein's cafeteria but the quality looks better. So better burgers and pizza are all the new Union offers now because places 3 and 4 aren't opening until Fall 2011. I inquired why and was told because they are still planning the menu and due to budget problems. They have had two years to plan the menu, isn't that enough? Why is there a budget problem with Asian food, soups and salads?
I like healthy eating and comfort food so avoid burgers and hot dogs, don't care much for Asian food, and have enough pizza and pasta for my dinners. For lunch I prefer a fresh salad bar with good soups and fresh fruit, and a cafeteria with a variety of entrees. We may get some of that with the Harvest Grain place but it doesn't sound like there will be entree choices. For the students and staff on this part of campus I wish they had a good cafeteria with a good salad bar. The only food options in the area other than Union South are the Library girll, WID which just has a cafe and an expensive restaurant I haven't bothered trying because the menu didn't look good, and a million sub shops. So I give the new Union a poor grade for lack of good healthy food options.
Here are my initial impressions so far:
-Building: grade A. It's nice looking inside and outside and has a lot of entertainment options. Marquee theater, large dance hall, Sett stage, bowling alley, etc. The meeting rooms look nice.
-Restaurants: grade C-. Only two options now are a burger grill and pizza but they are better quality than before. Much need a good cafeteria with fresh salad bar and fruit.
-Outside area and Green space: Grade F. It's just cement. Very little character or scenery especially compared to Memorial Union. They could tear down Wendt library and replace it with green space but then people would be exposed to the noise and traffic from Randall Ave and Dayton St. Or how about green space in the area between Union South and the Comp Sci bldng?
-Art studio and decor: Grade C. I only saw one art studio and it was just showing a video with loud noise. Perhaps better exhibits will come. I didn't seen any photo gallery like Mem union has. The Union South walls seemed mostly bare to me except for some some large screen tv's that just show photos and seem to have no other function. I haven't seen any clocks in there yet which would be more useful.
-Parking/transportation. I'm not sure yet but probably C or worse. There is underground parking I haven't tried yet but I suspect it will be crowded or mostly permit only. It was nice when the 80 campus bus stopped right in front of Union South. People could wait inside during bad weather. Now the only bus service is the 85 bus which doesn't come as often and stops across a busy street.
In summary, very nice building plopped in the middle of a drab cement jungle. It has a lot to offer inside except good food. Have the designers ever heard of landscape architecture and health food?http://www.union.wisc.edu/visit-unionsouth.htm