MARQUETTE HUNGER GAMES
Fancy? Maybe not. Delicious? You bet. These campus eateries are an integral part of the Marquette experience.
By Chris Jenkins
Opened in 1931 as a nine-stool counter in the basement of the Jesuit Residence. It moved a few times before settling on Wells Street in 1976. There’s also a second location in downtown Milwaukee. Owner Steve Kastelic understands its iconic status among Marquette alumni. “Wear a Real Chili T-shirt through any airport in the country, and somebody will come up to you and say hello,” he says.
“Marquette Special,” chili served over spaghetti and beans, topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream and oyster crackers (perhaps consumed late at night).
Although Real Chili holds a particularly fond place in the hearts of Al McGuire-era alumni, it remains relevant today. Real Chili finished a close second in online voting for the Cooking Channel’s nationwide “best college eats” tournament this year.
Brothers Vijay and Manoj Swearingen began selling mouth-watering pita sandwiches out of their food truck in 2009. Today, it isn’t uncommon to see them frantically serving lunch to customers standing 20-deep. Hoping to build on their success, the Swearingens are scouting potential locations for a permanent store.
Any grilled pita with their homemade hummus.
Vijay and Manoj admit the cramped quarters of a food truck can put brotherly love to the test. Luckily, arguments are short and the pitas unaffected.
MISS KATIE’S DINER
The ’50s-style diner on the western edge of campus is named for family matriarch Katherine Picciurro, “Miss Katie,” who founded Pitch’s Restaurant on Milwaukee’s East Side in 1942.
Breakfast all day or fan favorites of meatloaf, the rib sandwich and corned beef hash. “There’s something for everybody,” says manager John Volpe.
Miss Katie’s has served big names such as former President Bill Clinton and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, and the cast of Happy Days.
SOBELMAN’S PUB AND GRILL
Dave and Melanie Sobelman bought a “raunchy” bar on St. Paul Avenue that catered to factory workers. That corner bar became Sobelman’s Pub and Grill, a hangout so popular that they sometimes didn’t have enough room for the mix of students and regulars they were attracting. The solution: A second location on Marquette’s campus that caters mostly to students but also attracts a business crowd during the week and young families on weekends. They hope to add franchises in the Milwaukee suburbs and even Chicago.
The Sobelman burger, featuring cheddar, Swiss and American cheeses with bacon, fried onions and diced jalapeρo peppers.
Parents living all over the country call to buy gift certificates so their students can eat, they say, “at the cool place on campus Sobleman’s.”
Jim Gatto opened the Broken Yolk in 2007 on Wisconsin Avenue known as the “BroYo” by students and added a second location on Wells Street last year.
Unparalleled French toast.
On a typical weekend, the two locations combined serve 500 orders of French toast topped with everything from hot apples to peanut butter, chocolate chips and bananas.
MARQUETTE RESIDENCE HALLS
Known for their hot cookies and chicken nuggets, traffic goes up roughly 20 percent when residence halls offer either delicacy.
McCormick Hall has hot cookies on Monday nights and chicken nuggets on Saturday nights, and Cobeen Hall has cookies on Monday night and Thursday at dinner, with nuggets available during Saturday dinner. Straz Tower Hall, which focuses on special dietary needs and healthier options, has sugar-free cookies on Monday and Wednesday with gluten-free nuggets at Thursday dinner.
Yes, students love cookies and nuggets but Wednesday smoothies at Cobeen also are a hit.
WHICH ONE RANKS TOPS AMONG ALUMNI?
“Our first date 1966 Marquette basketball game followed by Real Chili. The famous waitress, Blondie, told Greg (Ryberg, Arts ’68) never to come back! Apparently they meant what the sign says: “No throwing oyster crackers.” I have had no trouble with him ever since.” Betty Ryberg, Arts ’69
“Tough choice! Dogg Haus, Real Chili, the Broken Yolk and others are fantastic. But I’m going to go with Sobelman’s. Love, love, love their arrival on campus.” Scott D. Feldstein, Grad ’02
“Real Chili. It always helped settle the jitters before a big test, as well as help get a good night’s sleep after a couple cold brews at the ‘Lanche.” Mark Mueller, Dent ’87
“Real Chili. Was there any doubt? Even 20 years later when I come to town and walk in there and the smell of the spices hit me I’m transported back and am instantly 20 years younger.” Greg Cameron, Bus Ad ’94
“Without question, Marquette Gyros. It was there that I learned that the ‘L’ in BLT stood for ‘love’.” David Kruse, Arts ’10
“Real Chili because I can honestly say I’ve had some of the best, most awkward and crazy moments at the end of a night at this hot spot on campus.” Kayley Carswell, Bus Ad ’13
“The last time I saw my Grandfather Karl alive, he drove into Milwaukee, unannounced, to see what I was up to. He knocked on the door of my basement apartment at 15th and Kilbourn. He wanted to check out Miss Katie’s Diner after reading about then-German Chancellor Helmet Kohl’s visit with President Bill Clinton. The White House had pushed for Mader’s to experience Milwaukee fare, but Kohl wanted American food. It doesn’t get much more American than Miss Katie’s Diner. When we walked in, my grandfather, in all his glory, wanted to sit exactly where the president sat. It’s a great memory and the reason Miss Katie’s Diner is tops in my book.” Ara Crittenden, Bus Ad ’97
“Miss Katie’s was a tradition for my dad and me. When he would drop me off after a break (or come for a weekend visit mid-semester) we would always end the weekend with a trip to Miss Katie’s! It’s probably time for a visit soon.” Sόzanne Sando, Comm ’07
“When I was pregnant and had just finished my breakfast at the Broken Yolk, the owner walked over and said ‘I heard the baby say she wanted French toast’ and set some down. Best French toast I’ve ever had.” Maggie Weber, Arts ’07