SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As it turns out, Rice-Eccles Stadium won’t just be a ‘happenin’ place on University of Utah football game days. It’s expected to be one of the coolest places in town all year round.
The university, in conjunction with Club Corp, a stadium membership club company based in Dallas, announced on Thursday the founding of U Club, a members-only community hub and restaurant to make its home in the stadium’s new expansion in the south end zone area.
In addition to days when the Utes take the field at the stadium, the U Club will be a spot for fine dining and networking, with events such as wine tastings and chef’s table meals scattered throughout the calendar.
“When we’re not doing football games, we really want to go towards our high clientele that really just want a good glass of wine and a good meal,” U Club’s Director of Membership Experience Erin Shannon explains to ABC4.com “We also want to cater towards our alumni that are diehard fans, so we’ll bring in the culture and the fun of being on the University’s campus.”
While the U Club is making big plans to appeal to the upper class, most notably by bringing in a Michelin-star trained chef from Seattle to craft a uniquely diverse menu, getting into the club won’t be overly difficult, according to Shannon. After a membership initiation fee of $250 for University faculty and staff and $500 for state residents, monthly fees can range between $30 to $120. Those who go for a high-tier membership will have access to other Club Corp properties at stadiums around the country. Other big-name college football programs with a partnership in the Club Corp network include Baylor University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Virginia Tech. Shannon says more blueblood stadium partnerships are currently in the works.
In Utah’s case, one hurdle the U Club will have to overcome is the fact that the campus is a dry, no-alcohol place by state law. That means on game day, the club will resort to non-alcohol beverage options, including hot chocolate on late-season games in the fall. When the stadium isn’t packed with more than 50,000 Crimson-clad fans for a game or more casually dressed music lovers at a concert, the U Club will be able to operate with a full liquor license.
The overall scene and vibes at the U Club, in addition to the menu that could range from traditional burgers, with a luxury flair, to cuisine from South Africa or Italy, is hoped to elevate the culture in Salt Lake City to another level. The personal touch of membership will be the cherry on top, Shannon says.
“I think the cool thing is, we care about the relationships and the people that have been here for 50-60 years, as soon as they walk in the door, we really get to know who these people are. We’ll know that they really like Diet Pepsi or it’s their anniversary and so we’ll really just try and make them feel as important as possible.”