Terrace Views

Union South Food Tour

Story by Emily Rohloff and Abby Synnes

No matter how busy your schedule is or what you’re craving, Union South has just the food for you. In fact, Union South has so many delicious dining options that it can be difficult to know where to start. Lucky for you, we’re bringing you the student perspective on which Union South eateries are the best for any situation you may encounter, as well as some of our favorite meals from each. Whether you’re looking to catch up with friends for a relaxing evening or grab a quick lunch during a busy day of work, stop by Union South to satiate your hunger and bring a smile to your face.

Best place to stay warm and study hard: Prairie Fire

Prairie Fire has just the motivation you need to get your work done. Its lattes are creamy, frothy drinks of goodness that provide a caffeine buzz. Our personal favorites include a vanilla oat milk latte, caramel almond milk latte and chai latte. If, by some miracle, you managed to get enough sleep last night and aren’t in desperate need of caffeine, Prairie Fire also offers a rich, delicious hot cocoa and a selection of herbal teas, including some iced tea options. Any one of these handcrafted beverages is sure to be the perfect fuel for your day.

Best place to host social hour: The Sett

Beer-battered fries

Looking for a place to catch up with friends? Go to the Sett, and try its classic beer-battered French fries! Available in both a small and large size, these are the perfect snack for either yourself or to share among a group of friends. Their crisp exterior and soft, fluffy potato interior are a great shareable during a social hour with friends. Emily’s personal favorite is to pair them with ketchup and mayo, a mixture that can never go wrong. Go to the Sett, and try them today!

Who said appetizers can’t be a meal? If you’re feeling stumped as to how on Earth you’ll choose between the Sett’s delicious assortment of appetizers, round up a group and try them all! From gooey cheese curds to a half-pound of boneless wings with your selection of sauces, there’s something to appease everyone’s taste buds.


One of Abby’s personal favorites is the bruschetta, which features five pieces of garlic crostini toasted to golden perfection, piled high with sweet slices of grape tomatoes, a garnish of fresh basil, shredded Asiago cheese, aromatic garlic and minced shallot. To top it all off, the mixture is drizzled with a balsamic reduction and olive oil, creating the perfect blend of sweet, savory and tangy flavors that will leave you wanting more.

Best place to wait in line for: Ginger Root

If the lines during the lunch rush are any indication, Ginger Root is a fan-favorite on campus—and for good reason. Luckily, the line moves fast and the food is so worth it. This Asian fusion restaurant offers new entree options every day, always including a vegetarian option, paired with your choice of jasmine or brown rice. Make it a meal by ordering the bento bowl, which includes an entree with rice, an appetizer and a fountain drink. Don’t forget to grab a fortune cookie on your way out the door!

Looking for a vegetarian or gluten-free option? No worries! Ginger Root offers one every day. Its delicious vegetable stir fry consists of mixed broccoli, onions, peppers and edamame set on top of delicious whole grain rice. Feeling extra hungry? Add in a vegetable egg roll to make this the perfect meal. You can’t go wrong with this veggie option that will leave you feeling satisfied and healthy!

Sesame chicken

If you’re a meat-lover, the sesame chicken will never steer you wrong. These crispy morsels of popcorn chicken are generously coated in a soy sauce mixture and sautéed to perfection. The sauce is sweet with just a touch of heat, creating a zingy flavor without being too spicy. A sprinkling of diced green onions and sesame seeds add a pop of color to the hearty meal. Abby loves to pair her sesame chicken with fluffy jasmine rice and a flaky spring roll.

Stop by Ginger Root if you have a longer break between classes or meetings. Want to beat the lines completely? Get there right when they open at 11 a.m. or after the lunch rush dies down around 1:30 p.m.

Best place to grab lunch to-go: South Cantina

A convenient option for an on-the-go lunch is South Cantina, Union South’s newest dining concept that opened in 2021. South Cantina offers made-to-order burritos, tacos, bowls and salads with your choice of toppings. There are plenty of protein options, including seasoned adobo chicken, tender carne asada and flavorful charro beans, which are pinto beans stewed in a broth full of  spices. In addition to standard toppings like shredded lettuce, fajita veggies, shredded cheese and pico de gallo, South Cantina also has fresh, flavorful, house-made guacamole and warm, creamy queso that are definitely worth the splurge.

With unlimited standard toppings, the flavor combinations are endless! Abby’s go-to is a burrito bowl heaped with adobo chicken, charro beans, lettuce, cheese, guacamole and a spoonful of fire-roasted chipotle salsa. A little chipotle salsa goes a long way, but it gives your meal the perfect kick if you’re a fan of spice. Throw in a bag of chips and a side of queso to make your burrito bowl complete—there’s nothing better than scooping your chips into your bowl and making DIY nachos.

Because South Cantina is so customizable, you can easily make a vegetarian burrito bowl. Emily’s go-to bowl is a combination of brown rice, sauteed fajita veggies, creamy queso, lettuce, shredded cheese, salsa (the non-spicy one) and a drop or two of sour cream. Get a side of chips and guac to go with this delicious bowl, sit down somewhere in Union South, relax, and enjoy!

Best place to catch the big game: The Sett

What better way to watch the Badgers hopefully soar to victory than at the Sett, with a delicious meal in hand? The Sett has a big screen and an upper seating deck that makes it the perfect place to watch sporting events with your family or friends. In addition to its wide array of appetizers, The Sett has pub classics, like burgers and chicken tenders, as well as signature dishes that are sure to become your new go-tos.

BBQ pulled pork

If you’re looking for an explosion of flavor, the BBQ pulled pork sandwich is calling your name. The slow-roasted pulled pork is so tender that it practically melts in your mouth, and the combination of the savory meat with the sweet barbecue sauce creates a dynamic duo of flavors that can’t be beat. The pork is topped with lettuce, pickles, tomato and a mild, crunchy coleslaw, stacked on a brioche bun and paired with your choice of side. Pulled pork pro tip: grab a couple extra napkins, and embrace the mess that is sure to ensue. It’s all part of the experience!

New this year, you can choose your own burger adventure with customizable protein options for any Sett burger (beef, turkey, or an Impossible Burger) and your choice of a regular bun or a gluten-free bun. For a more traditional burger experience, try the pub burger or the bacon cheeseburger. To take your burger experience to the next level, try the Wisconsin burger, a signature burger in true dairy state style: namely, cheese, cheese and more cheese. The Wisconsin burger features a patty topped with brick cheese, fried cheese curds and parmesan garlic sauce. Do all of these options sound delicious minus the meat? No problem! You can substitute any meat patty with an Impossible Burger to make the perfect vegetarian meal! What more could you ask for when in Wisconsin?

Best place to satisfy your sweet tooth: Daily Scoop

Chocolate peanut butter ice cream

Need a sweet treat after a long day? Daily Scoop has got you covered with desserts galore. As the name suggests, you can get a scoop (or four!) of your favorite ice cream flavor in a dish or a cone, with your choice of toppings. Abby never strays from a dish of chocolate peanut butter, and Emily loves chocolate chip cookie dough.

If you’re looking for a dairy-free option, the Daily Scoop also has cherry, lemon or strawberry Italian ice for a refreshing, fruity treat!

Best place to grab your favorite snacks: Badger Market

Whether you’re searching for movie snacks before a free film screening at the Marquee Cinema or simply need a study snack to get you through the day, stop by Badger Market for grab-and-go items. In addition to candy, chips and coffee (realistically, basically the three essential food groups for any college student), Badger Market also offers fresh salads, sandwiches, fruits, veggies and Babcock Ice Cream. If you’re running low on time, Badger Market is the place for you: you can be in and out with all the snacks your heart desires.

Try one of our recommendations, or find your own favorite today at Union South! You can check out the full menus for the Prairie Fire, the Sett, Ginger Root, South Cantina and the Daily Scoop here.

Author: terraceviews-admin

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