WHAT: Some people still call it the Faculty Club, but in 2005, the name of the dining facility inside the Inn at Penn was officially changed to the University Club to encompass all eligible members—faculty, staff, graduate students and alumni, as well as emeritus and retired faculty and staff.
INSIDE STORY: The main dining room boasts a sunny bay window overlooking the bustle of Walnut Street. The ambience is casual, quiet and friendly. Club Coordinator Natalka A. Swavely is known to greet members by name and remind them when their favorite items will be on the menu. There is also a private dining room large enough for about 10 people, available for reservation. And on occasion, the Club offers special evening events such as themed suppers and wine tastings.
EYE-OPENING: Club members can start their day with free coffee and pastries from 7:30 to 10 a.m., weekdays. Newspapers are made available to members in the morning, and Swavely says oftentimes office colleagues gather at the Club before work to strategize or to hold informal meetings before the hectic pace of the day begins.
CHOICES, CHOICES: Lunch at the Club comes in three varieties: the full hot and cold buffet; the light lunch (salad or sandwich with soup and beverage) and take-out (salad or sandwich with a beverage), served 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., weekdays. There is always a vegetarian soup option, and the Club regularly serves its most popular menu selections, such as macaroni and cheese and flank steak.
GO FOR THE GOLD YUKONS: Just for fun, the Club sometimes offers themed lunch menus. This month, in observance of the 2010 Winter Olympics, it will serve up international cuisine. On Monday, Feb. 15, the buffet will feature foods of the host country—Canada. Throughout the Games, diners will get an opportunity to taste foods from Austria, China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom. The Olympic tour ends on Friday, Feb. 26, with foods from different parts of the United States.
FOOD FOR THE SOUL: Art is also served at the Club, with paintings, photographs and other creations displayed in the Burrison Gallery, named for the late Maurice Burrison, a Penn alumnus who worked for many years as an interior designer and fine arts consultant for the University. The featured art changes throughout the year, and members are invited to show openings when they occur.
NEWBIES WELCOME: Faculty and staff new to the University as of July 1, 2009 are eligible to join the Club for free. Their dues will be waived until Aug. 31, 2010. For all others, membership costs $60 per year, but right now the Club is offering a mid-year discount of $30 for individual memberships.
MORE INFO: For information on how to become a member, call the Club at 215-898-4618 or visit the website at www.business-services.upenn.edu/universityclub.
Originally published on February 4, 2010