Did You Know? Wisconsin Union Markets and Cafés History
Story by Verne Scholl and Shauna Breneman
You may be familiar with the fact that we, at the Wisconsin Union, offer many options for deliciousness at Memorial Union and Union South. But did you know that we also run many markets and cafes across campus, which are open to all?
Our first deli opened before 1988 in the Medical Sciences Center. We named it the I.C.U., because of its location in the former University Hospital. We designed the deli as a temporary lunchtime dining option with a portable steam table and refrigerator. (We now operate a permanent dining option, called the Badger Market in Medical Sciences, in the building.)
However, we soon realized this dining option filled an important need on campus for a quick lunch option where customers worked or studied. The deli helped customers make the most of their days by eliminating travel time to off-campus dining options or their residences.
So, in 1996, we expanded our operations into other campus locations with our next dining option in Grainger Hall, called the Blue Chip Deli, now known as the Capital Café.
Customers welcomed these dining options, enjoying our grab-n-go food and beverages that helped them make it to classes and meetings on time with the food and beverages to help them power through their days. We opened more dining options on campus, helping meet customers’ needs wherever they are campus. Check out how our markets and cafes options grew over the years:
- 1997 – Ingraham Deli in Ingraham Hall (now Badger Market in Ingraham)
- 1998/1999 – The Feed Bag Deli in the School of Veterinary Medicine (now called the Feed Bag)
- When the School of Veterinary Medicine completes its current expansion project, the Feed Bag Deli will become the next Badger Market and will be relocated within the School, offering more products and services than before.
- 2002 – Open Book Café in the Helen C. White Library
- 2003/2004 – The Daily Dose Deli in the Health Sciences Learning Center (now Badger Market in Health Sciences Learning Center)
- 2006 – Engineer Eatery in Engineering Hall (now Badger Market in Engineering)
- 2007 – Microcosm Café in Microbial Sciences Building
- 2008 – Highland Grounds in the Waisman Center (now closed)
- 2010 – Crossroads Café in the Education Building
- 2011/2012 – Badger Market in Biochemistry
- 2013 – Robin’s Nest in the Nancy Nicholas Hall
- 2014 – Revive in Signe Skott Cooper Hall
- 2018 – Saffron Mediterranean Street Food in Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Building (now closed)
- 2019 – Chazen Café in the Chazen Museum of Art
- 2023 – Acai & More in the Wisconsin Institute For Discovery
With each dining option debut, our ability to serve our campus community and guests grew. We work to provide products to meet the evolving needs of our patrons, are constantly considering how we can enhance our services, and are honored every day to help nourish, hydrate and energize our guests. To our amazing customers, thank you for making us part of your days on campus. We hope you visit us soon.