Pigskin and eggs (and mimosas)

The University Club provides a tailgate alternative.

Chefs prepare omelettes at the University Club.

Chefs prepare omelettes for tailgaters at the University Club.

Let’s face it: Tailgating isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

By the time you secure a parking space, fumble with the beer cooler, lug out the grill and cover your clothes with charcoal dust, it’s time to clean up the whole mess and trudge to the stadium. Was it really worth the fuss for a frozen bratwurst and a handful of crushed potato chips on a flimsy paper plate?

For University Club members, the answer is a resounding no.

Picture instead a steaming bounty of seasoned home fries, Southern-style cheese grits, omelettes à la minute (made to order), savory honey-cured ham and a plethora of pastries, all presented with smiling five-star service in an immaculately set dining room overlooking Jesse Hall.

And that’s just breakfast.

“We never really know [the game times], so before the season, we plan a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu for each home game,” says Dan Pliska, executive chef at University Club and Catering. “We try to go with an Americana regional menu, taking into account whatever was popular in the past and whatever is available locally.”

University Club members eat brunch.

Charlene Nickolaus enjoys breakfast at the University Club tailgate with her son Daniel Nickolaus and her grandchildren Johanna and George.

For the posh presentation and impeccable environs, membership at the University Club is $275 per year for Mizzou Alumni Association members, with a $30 quarterly minimum. There are lower rates for students, seniors and patrons who don’t live in the area.

Located on the second floor of the Reynolds Alumni Center, the University Club is only a 15-minute walk to Memorial Stadium. The game-day buffet stays open up to a half hour before kickoff, and the club also provides a post-game tailgate with drinks and finger foods.

“Every spread we’ve had has been great,” says Dan Amsden, BS EE ’70, MS ’75, of Ballwin, Missouri, one of a group of 13 classmates who reunite every year at the club.

“Most of us were roommates or in ROTC together,” says Larry Zimmer, BS BA ’69, of Orange Park, Florida. “We sort of stumbled across the University Club a few years ago and Dan said, ‘I’ll just join it and make reservations before each game.’ It has been great.”

The club offers a wine club option as well as thematic events showcasing international and regional cuisine.

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