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The Daily Wildcat

 

Student Union’s newest restaurant breaks new ground by serving beer, wine

Students+can+enjoy+a+beer+with+their+burger+at+the+Student+Union+Memorial+Center%E2%80%99s+newest+restaurant%2C+Cork+%26+Craft.+
Liv Leonard, El Inde Arizona
Students can enjoy a beer with their burger at the Student Union Memorial Center’s newest restaurant, Cork & Craft.

University of Arizona students can grab a beer and burger at the newest restaurant in the Student Union Memorial Center.

Cork & Craft quietly opened in late September as the university’s first restaurant that serves local craft beers and wine alongside a menu of charcuterie boards and bruschetta dips.

Although the servers are dressed in slacks and button-ups, Cork & Craft’s menu prices aim to be student-friendly. The focaccia grilled cheese with roasted tomato soup, for example, is $10, while the half-pound Wagyu-style burger is $18.

For CatCard users with a UA meal plan, a swipe can get you a bruschetta dip. 

Cork & Craft takes up the space previously home to The Scoop, a Shamrock Farms quick-service creamery, and Pangea, a multi-cultural cuisine fusion restaurant

The restaurant was expected to open in August but there were delays in licensing and getting menu ingredients, said SUMC representative Adam Harper, a senior studying film and television.

The restaurant was conceived from a student committee representing a number of campus organizations that was formed in fall 2022. The goal was to come up with ideas to increase student involvement campus wide. 

The committee met every month in the union and in February 2023, Todd Millay, senior director of Arizona Student Unions, asked what restaurants or services students would most likely engage with on campus. The committee proposed the idea of a gastropub, something that hadn’t been done before at the UA. 

“Our idea was that the university has a very unique opportunity when compared to a lot of bars and restaurants across the city. Not only do we have our service to correctly check ID, but also for a lot of students on campus with meal plans or not, we can also verify through the University of Arizona CatCard,” Harper said in response to concerns about underage students being served.  

“It’s an additional layer of identification that you really can’t fake, and it was one of the main pitches that we had given to convince them to open.” 

As of now only experienced bartenders are allowed to serve alcohol at Cork & Craft, while students are able to host, serve and bus. Some UA students expressed concerns about serving beer and wine in the Union. 

“Part of me just prefers the idea of not having alcohol on campus. I just think it’s dangerous. How many professors are going to be like, ‘my kids are showing up drunk to my classes?’”  UA student Samantha Daly said. 

In collaboration with Tucson breweries Pueblo Vida Brewing Company, Barrio Brewing Co., MotoSonora Brewing Company and Dragoon Brewing Company, Cork & Craft offers six beers on draft and nine in cans, including Pueblo Vida’s specially brewed Sonoran-style amber lager named the “Wildcat.” 

Pueblo Vida owners Linette Antillon and Kyle Jefferson were thrilled when Arizona Dining approached the couple in June.  

“As alumni, it’s just super exciting to us to do something as part of the UA and be this piece of something that we grew up with. That’s where we met, so it’s definitely our little happy place,” Antillon said. “We love the UA community, walking on campus, the [UA] Mall, everything.” 

Antillon and Jefferson graduated from the Eller College of Management in 2009, Antillon with a degree in marketing and Jefferson with a degree in finance. The two opened Pueblo Vida in November 2014 and have produced over 200 craft beers. 

The “Wildcat” from Pueblo Vida is available in cans at Cork & Craft.

Meanwhile, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences could be adding its own brews to the menu. The college offers a class on brewing and Cork & Craft has contracted with the college to sell the first batch in the restaurant in the spring. 

Cork & Craft is now open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the main floor of the Student Union, located at 1303 E. University Blvd. During Happy Hour from 3-6 p.m. on weekdays, you can get $1 off beer and discounted food items. 


El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University  of Arizona School of Journalism.


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*This article has been updated with correct meal plan use information on Jan. 24.

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